Summary: Recognize unbelief as the thief it really is.
“The Thief Called Unbelief”
INTRO: 1.This was among the darkest hours in the history of the kingdom of Israel - times had never been worse in it’s capital city of Samaria.
a.Ben Hadad, king of Aram had besieged Samaria and had stopped all supplies from going into the city.
b.Conditions inside were so disastrous that they had forsaken their ceremonial laws and had began to eat donkeys and go as far as eat their own children.
2.To make matters worse the king was not a righteous king, but the evil king Jehoram, the son of Ahab.
a.Like his father, he had lead God’s people astray, despised God’s way, and now even in sackcloth could do nothing to change his condition.
b.In his arrogance, he even threatened the life of the prophet Elisha, blaming the man of God for all his woes - this still did not humble this man.
c.In his anger he sent a messenger to bring back Elisha’s head, the prophet gave him a message - that by this time tomorrow food would be in such bountiful supply in Samaria that at the gate you could easily buy flour at the gate.
3.The messengers response turned Elisha’s message of God’s grace into a message of judgement against him.
4.What may appear to us to had been just a simple act of doubt on the part of this messenger, was seen by God as an arrogant challenge to his power and authority.
a. In response to his doubts, Elisha prophesied,
“You’ll see it with you’re own eyes, but you will not eat of any of it.”
b.The next day, God would miraculously deliver Samaria, by causing the surrounding armies to abandon all their food and supplies.
c.This messenger did see the huge supply of flour at the gate of Samaria, only to be trampled by the mobs trying to reach it.
5.We can choose to live our lives like this messenger, a skeptic, a critic, a doubter - but we’ll never partake of the riches of God’s abounding grace, only see them in the lives of others.
6.Let us heed the message of this man’s life - we must never underestimate the danger of disbelief in our lives.
I. THE DISGUISES OF UNBELIEF
a.Unbelief is a condition that often appears innocent enough, but to God it is far from innocent.
b.Like our enemy, the Devil, Unbelief comes shrouded in many forms, so that we may consider it justified in our lives.
c. It’s time to unmask unbelief in our lives, and call it what it is.
A. WITH THIS MESSENGER, UNBELIEF WAS DISGUISED AS REASON.
Vs. 2 “Look even if the LORD should open the floodgates of heaven, could this happen?”
1. He was trying to speak a little common sense into Elisha, shrouding his doubt in reason.
2.His reason was founded on the “normal” way things happen - grain grows, harvested and ground into flour… this takes time.
3. His objection was to the possibility of this miracle.
4.When we limit God to what is “normal” or what is “likely” we are revealing our unbelief.
5. What he tried to pass off as reason was nothing more than the critical spirit of unbelief.
6. We are only reasonable when we realize, “With God, nothing is impossible.”
B. UNBELIEF CAN BE DISGUISED AS HUMANITY.
1. Some excuse their doubt, by saying, “Well, It’s only human to have doubts.”
2. Our doubts are not outside of our control, we can just as easily choose to believe.
3.In fact, it is easier to believe and trust God to work it out, than to doubt and struggle with it ourselves.
C. UNBELIEF CAN BE DISGUISED AS HUMILITY.
1.Some sound so religious when they say, “Well I just don’t have great faith, I’m just a simple person.”
2.We’re not required to have great faith, faith is from God not from ourselves - we’re simply called to believe.
3. Believing is simply accepting what God has said, not trying to make it happen.
4.ILL. Moses’ fault in striking the rock was seen as unbelief and kept him out of the promised land, he was trying to make happen what God wanted him to simply receive.
D. UNBELIEF CAN BE DISGUISED AS CAUTION.
1. Some has bought into the lie that being cautious is a good excuse not to believe.
2.Some are cautious of disappointment, or embarrassment if God doesn’t come through on their behalf.
3. Believing is risky business, it’s putting your sole support in the hands of God.
4. Living cautiously is not living at all, but living by faith opens the fullness of life to us.
II. THE POISON OF UNBELIEF
a.Why is unbelief so dangerous to our lives? What is it about unbelief that can poison our future? Why does God so hate unbelief in our lives?