Summary: Part 3 of 8 in a series covering words in the Bible that are all too often overlooked or ignored.
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever lost anything? How did it make you feel? Angry, frustrated, or even confused? We’ve all been there, lost things are a fact of life… for little kids its things like lost toys, lost arguments on the playground or lost friends, at least until they make up five minutes later. For adults it often goes a little deeper, lost car keys, lost glasses, lost tempers, lost kids at the store, or perhaps lost minds over the craziness of it all! We all lose things, some are found, but others are gone forever!
BACKGROUND: As we move forward in our series, we now find ourselves focusing on the phrase “gone forever,” it’s describes our next word, it’s the word that never comes back! Do you know what word it is? Again the answer will be a varied as the individual. Words that probably come to mind are ones such as yesterday, today, opportunity, and time. While fitting answers there is one that at some stage encompasses them all… the word “now!” This is the word by which kingdoms have been built and conquered, destines have been achieved, fortunes have been won and lost, and most importantly eternal life has been gained or forfeited. (2nd Corinthians 6:2) Our time will be spent considering people who neglected the “now,” and in the process lost that which they couldn’t get back… and then we’ll consider our own situation…
ESAU AND THE LOST BIRTHRIGHT
• The impact and importance of the “now” is seen in many accounts in scripture, but none so clearly as in the life of the elder brother named Esau
• Esau is handed down from generation to generation as the “godless person who sold his birthright for a single meal” – we’ve all heard the Sunday school story… (Genesis 25:29-34)
• “Now” is the one precious and valuable portion of time that belongs to us, for it is the only portion of time about which we can be sure and in which we know we can act! – Esau acted in his “now” but he made the wrong choice, he held the wrong priorities! Which led to spiritual destruction
• Esau’s destruction came not from negligence or some careless action, it came from willful action!
• And when he realized the significance of what he had done we see his response… (Genesis 27:34; 37-38) He wept bitterly, but the damage had been done!
• Esau eventually regained his respectability, and rebuilt his relationship with Jacob, but he never got back the “now” that he threw away for a single meal, it was “gone forever”
AHAB AND THE LOST PRISONER
• Most of the time when we think of parables, we think of Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament, but there is a parable told in the Old Testament that paints yet another picture of the extreme importance of appropriate decisions in the “now” (1st Kings 20)
• Israel, under the evil king Ahab had won a pair of decisive victories over Ben-Hadad the King of Syria
• Ben-Hadad had lost 140,000 men, but while his army was annihilated, he still lived
• When captured, Ahab doesn’t destroy Ben-Hadad but sends him home with easy terms for peace, terms he immediately violates – in this Ahab missed his “now” (1st Kings 20:34) (303)
• Because the Lord had declared this to be a “holy” war when Ahab released the enemy of God, Ahab had disobeyed the Law and would suffer in Ben-Hadad’s place.
• God then sends one of the sons of the prophets to Ahab to condemn him for his folly and to pronounce his judgment (vs. 35-40)
• This prophetic drama was designed to get Ahab to condemn himself, which he readily does!
• Three years later Ahab and Jehoshaphat were going to war against the same Ben-Hadad, and Ahab, remembering the judgment of God tried to disguise himself, but his neglect of the “now” had sealed his fate (1st Kings 22:37-38)
• Ahab’s destruction came not from negligence or some careless action, it came from willful action!
• He could have changed his evil ways in the “now” but he chose not to do so… what about us?
THE DISCIPLES AND THE LOST HOUR
• The importance of the “now” also plays a huge part in our ministry to others, this is clearly seen in a experience Jesus had in the saddest, darkest, and most critical hours of His life (Matthew 26)
• As Jesus goes off to pray, he asks Peter, James, and John to stand watch with Him while He prayed
• He came back, not once, not twice, but three times, and found them sleeping!
• Listen to His words to them (Matthew 26:45-46)
• Peter, James and John would all serve as strong witnesses for Jesus, and two of them would meet their fate with martyrs blood, but there was one thing they would never get the chance to do again