Monday, January 16, 2017

Secrets of a God With Us Life - Jehoshaphat

Ever been between a rock and a hard place? It’s a place where circumstances have squeezed you to the point you seem to have no options. And what choice you do have is a hard one.

In the Psalms, David calls it trouble—the word means: pressing in, pressure, squeezing. It’s that time when our circumstances are squeezing us from all directions.

We’re not well equipped for trouble. We can take a hit – recoil and rebound, but squeezing is a constant strain.

Trouble is like a diver going straight down. There’s a point where the pressure of the water becomes more than the body can bear.

Everything’s fine until we reach the unbearable point. From then on all bets are off.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Cor 10:13)

Enduring is not giving in or giving up.

Temptation is pressure to give in or give up. Giving in to a desire. Giving up on staying faithful and trusting God.

He didn’t say: we’d only have as much pressure as we think we are able to handle, or prefer to handle. He said: we’d not be tempted beyond what we are able to handle. How so? Because He will make us able to endure.

We have limits to the squeezing. He has none. David said: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1)

·         When trouble has pressed in so I no longer know where to go, God is my refuge—the direction I turn.
·         When trouble has squeezed the very life out of me, God is my strength—He sustains me.
·         When trouble has pushed out my hope, God is my help—He restores my heart.

Why didn’t God make us super people, superior to all we faced—Become a Christian and you’ll be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, go faster than a speeding bullet, be more powerful than a locomotive.

Instead, we have breakable limbs, we’re susceptible to disease, we’re not immune to the attitudes and actions of other.
To show His love, rather than make us superior, He said: I will be superior to whatever you face.

Why would He make us what would make Him obsolete or unnecessary in our lives?

Within The Secrets of the God is With Us Life, we’ve discovered:
1.       As He was with David, God will give us strength to face our giants.
2.      As He was with Gideon, God will give us courage to face our fears.

Today, as God was with Jehoshaphat, God will give us ability to face our troubles.

If you grew up during the time I did, you probably heard the same words from your dad I heard: Don’t do as I do, do as I say. Sounds good but, that isn’t how a kid learns stuff. Kids copy behavior. Whether it’s good or bad.

Jude came up to his mom with his shirt unbuttoned and said, “Does this make me look like a rock star?”

My dad didn’t show me much about relying on God, so, as an adult, I had to make some choices. In light of what I saw or didn’t see, and what I now know, how am I going to live my life? I remember the day I realized I don’t want to be like that. I want God to be a bigger deal in my life.

Jehoshaphat surely had one of those days. His dad, Asa, was the King of Judah. Jehoshaphat would follow him on the throne. Like most sons, Jehoshaphat would learn how to be a king by watching his dad. Then he would shape his life from what he saw.

During Jehoshaphat’s formative years, his dad was strong and godly. He watched his dad’s success grow then saw him become self-reliant and self-absorbed. What at first was about God helping him, was now about his ability and leadership skills. (2 Chron 15)

At the beginning of Asa’s reign a prophet came and gave a promise and prediction: Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. (2 Chron 15:1-2)

Selective hearing: Easy to hear what we want to hear and remember what we want to remember. He heard God was with him. He didn’t make note of the rest of the promise.

At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, "Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars." (2 Chron 16:7-9)
In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. (2 Chron 16:12)

Asa started strong but finished poorly. Why? He forgot the promise had two parts. The Lord being with Him required Him to be with the Lord.

How do you know if you are with the Lord?
·         You walk with Him. You talk to Him.
·         You rely on Him. You acknowledge your need for Him.
·         You follow Him. You invite Him into the trouble of your life.
·         You expect Him to come through when you’ve prayed.
·         Your pleasure is in the delight of the Lord, wanting to please Him in all you do.

Asa expected God to uphold His side of the promise, but didn’t realize it was contingent on him holding up his side.

We can’t start with what we expect from God without considering what God expects from us.

So, Asa died and is now gone, Jehoshaphat is king. He inherited both the kingdom and the promise: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. Would Jehoshaphat follow his dad’s example or live by the promise?

The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father David's earlier days [I chose a better example to pattern my life after] and did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, followed His commandments, and did not act as Israel did. So the LORD established the kingdom in his control, and all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. He took great pride in the ways of the LORD. (2 Chron 17:3-6)

Jehoshaphat saw the failure in his dad. I don’t want God to forsake me. I want God with me, so I’ll be a God is With Me Man. Meaning: He chose to be with God.

2 Chron 20:1-12

Jahaziel: You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you." Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. (2 Chron 20:17-18)

The Secrets of the God is With Us Life
·         God will give us strength to face our giants.
·         God will give us courage to face our fears.

·         God will give us ability to face our troubles

     The key to each of these is relying on Him. He will be with us. Our part is to be with Him.

On May 23, during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in 1960, missionaries Matt and Lora Higgens were returning one night to Nairobi through the heart of Mau Mau territory, where Kenyans and missionaries alike had been killed and dismembered. Seventeen miles outside of Nairobi their Land Rover stopped. Matt tried to repair the car in the dark, but couldn’t get it started. They spent the night in the car, and claimed Psalm 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. In the morning they got the car running made it back to their compound.

A few weeks later they were getting ready to return to America on furlough. The night before they left Nairobi, they found out a member of the Mau Mau gang had confessed that he and three other men went toward the car to kill them, but when they saw the sixteen men surrounding the car, the men left in fear. Matt Higgens said they were alone, there were no men with them.

While on furlough a friend, Clay Brent, asked them if they have been in any danger recently. Matt asked, "Why?" Then Clay said, on March 23rd, God had placed a heavy prayer burden on his heart. He called the men of the church, and they met together and prayed until the burden lifted. Matt asked how many men prayed. Sixteen.

When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Pr 16:7)

Here’s the promise: When you are with Him, He is with you.

A God is With Me Person will experience the ability to face the pressure of his troubles.

1.       God with us is a guaranteed promise to His children.
2.      The effect of His presence can be conditional, according to whether we are with Him.
3.      To be with Him, we must value the relationship to where we include Him in all areas of our lives.
4.      To expect God’s favor with no regard for the relationship devalues His presence in our lives. 

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