Summary: This passage deals with a horrible sin committed by people who I’m sure didn’t think they could ever sink that low. What does God have to say to those in our congregations who’ve done things that they never thought they would?
- I was going to skip this passage, because, to be honest, it’s disgusting/I’m not saying it isn’t inspired Scripture, I’m not saying that it didn’t happen, I’m just saying that it’s disgusting.
- not all of Scripture is pleasant to read.
- but God opened up to me a message from within this passage.
- tonight’s message is about those moments in our lives when we do something we swore we’d never do.
- it could be really big stuff or smaller things:
a. You grow up with lots of angry words from your parents and you promise yourself that you’ll never be like that/then you lose it with your kids.
b. You see other’s lives damaged by divorce and you promise yourself that’ll never be your situation/then you find yourself thinking about talking to a lawyer.
c. Watching explicit movies.
d. Dropping out of church.
Five Steps - How We Get There And How We Can Get Back:
1. We get besieged in battle.
- vv. 24-25.
- have you had those times in your life where you felt like Satan had your number?/maybe it was one unrelenting big problem, maybe it was one problem after another.
- after a while, you get worn down and then you’re particularly susceptible to spiritual attack.
- so often, big mistakes in our spiritual life happen when we’ve been worn down from the battles.
- Jesus’ temptation came after all that time fasting in the desert.
- famine is often a major contributing factor in these situations.
- it’s important to note that food is a legitimate need in their lives, yet this battle was causing them to have to go without it for a while.
- sometimes when the struggles and the battles of this life create a situation where something we legitimately need is taken away from us for a while, it opens up the door to us doing things we swore we’d never do:
a. A marriage is in trouble and because of that their sex life is not present for a while/the man starts to justify within himself that looking at a little porn online or watching this movie that he knows has some major sex scenes because of the “famine” of that legitimate need.
b. A pastor isn’t giving the attention each person in the church needs/a woman starts to justify within herself staying home because “no one cares about me over there”/the need for caring and love is a legitimate need and the “famine” helps her justify her actions.
- as a side note:
- I wouldn’t want to push this point too far, but I thought a comment I read from Keith Linkous on v. 25 was interesting.
- the two specific items mentioned in v. 25.
a. A donkey’s head/donkeys are synonymous with stubbornness/stubbornness is definitely a major problem at this point.
b. Dove droppings/doves are symbolic of the Holy Spirit/dove droppings, not to be too gross, are what’s left behind after the dove has left/many people in this situation where they’re heading down the wrong road have seen the power (if not the presence) of the Spirit leave.
2. We do something we said we’d never do.
- vv. 26-29.
- this is simply disgusting.
- perhaps not murder, but cannibalizing those who had died from the famine.
- how could things have gotten this bad?
- actually, God warned the Israelites about what their sin would do to them, but they didn’t listen.
- look with me at Lev. 26:27-29 (note chapter heading “Promise of Blessing and Retribution”).
- look with me at Deut. 28:52-57 (see also vv. 1 and 15 on this chapter being about obedience and disobedience).
- our sin has consequences/old Cathedrals song: “Your Sin Will Take You Farther Than You Wanted To Go.”
- our situations: anger with kids/divorce/porn/dropping out of church.
3. We lash out at God.
- v. 30 (tore) and v. 31.
- when the consequences of our sin come home to us, our first reaction is often to blame God, despite the fact that He has been working all along to try to keep this from happening.
- God had given them miracles: v. 18 leads to an act of mercy and the end of the raids (v. 23).
- Yancey examples: Dobson & teenage girl/Natalie Wood’s death/boxing match.
4. Admit our fault.
- vv. 32b-33.
- the king sends a messenger in his anger, but then changes his mind and runs to Elisha himself.
- he had had sackcloth on earlier (v. 30), so there had already been some sense of sorrow before the Lord.
- v. 33b (Amp): “And [the relenting king] said, This evil is from the Lord! Why should I any longer wait [expecting Him to withdraw His punishment? What, Elisha, can be done now?]”
5. God offers deliverance, but you’ve got to receive it.
- the officer didn’t believe.