Keep Digging Your Ditches

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Sometimes when things go from bad to worse, it’s easy to become disappointed. In 2 Kings 3, we have a story and a simple challenge: keep digging your ditches. Those will be the channels through which the blessings of God flow.


I want to talk to you about Godliness and I would like to suggest to you that is our assignment. A lot of christians today are working on the wrong assignment. We’re working hard. We’re putting in all the effort we think we can put in and it’s just not working. Everything is coming up. F we’re failing in our lives were failing in. Our priorities were failing in our families, we’re failing in. Our commitments were failing while working hard. And I’d like to suggest to you that is because much of what we’re doing is not tied to the assignment we’ve been given. He wants you to see him at a level. You’ve never seen it before. So the question on the floor is how bad do you want it? Sometimes things go from bad to worse. Sometimes when you think things are on the upswing they go south. When that happens, you become disappointed, you become just irritated because hope is dashed when things go from bad to worse. In 2nd Kings chapter three, we have a story and I have a simple challenge to you from this chapter for this year. That is to keep digging your ditches. The situation is explained to us in the first eight verses of the chapter, I’ll summarize it for you feel free to read the whole thing. But three kings have come together in a conflict with moab moab was paying a tax if you will to Israel, they decided to no longer pay the tax. This created a conflict with Israel and moab Israel went to to Judah and eat them about the problem that moab was no longer fulfilling its obligation and a war is about to break out. So that’s the scenario. There is a conflict between these groups of people, The three Nations Israel Judah and eat them against moab. There’s gonna be a clash. So the kings gathered together to now deal with this problem that has confronted them. That’s that’s the situation. But we have a problem in verse nine. So the king of Israel went with the King of Judah and the King of Freedom And they made a circuit of seven days journey and there was no water for the army or for the cattle that followed them. They were on their way to battle, but there was no water. Now they’re already in one fight because they’re getting ready to go fight moab, They got one battle but on their way to fight this one battle, a new problem shows up. There has been a drought, a dry spell and there’s no water for the soldiers. There’s no water for the cattle. So one problem moab has become too problem. There is no water and you know, water is essential to life. There was no water. What do you do when your life is in a drought. When there is no water, water is regularly used in scripture to talk about life. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the life giving fountain or water for the soul and of course physically you are without water long enough you die, There was no water. How can we fight and we can’t be refreshed. The King of Israel Santorum said verse 10 Alas for the Lord has caused these three kings to give them into the hand of moab. So the king of Israel Muharrem says God has put us in a hot mess. God then hooked us up together to be beaten by the enemy. You ever felt like God set you up? It got, it kind of sets you up for defeat here, I’m out here trying to fight. We know God controls rain and he controls the water. There is no water. Where is God? When I’m in a drought, King of Israel said, God has set us up to fail. The truth be told. Even if you’re too scared to say it, sometimes it feels like God has set you up for defeat because you’re in a battle and then things go from bad to worse. There is no water and you blame God you feel it. You think it, even though you don’t say it because he’s the one who can make sure that there was water, joe HASA fat is the king of Judah. North Israel is the northern kingdom, Judah is the southern kingdom. But yeah, Hossa Fat said now muharram is Israel, He said, God has set us up to fail, but Jehoshaphat in verse 11 speaks and says is there not a prophet of the Lord here that we may inquire of the Lord by him and one of the kings of Israel servants answered and said Alija, the son of Shabbat is here who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah stay with me now jehoshaphat says, I know you want to blame God your um but I ain’t gonna listen to you, I want to talk to somebody who knows God when I, when I’m in a drought and my world is falling apart and it looks like I’m gonna be defeated and there is nothing to sustain me. Is there not somebody who can hear from God to tell us what to do? Who can inquire of the Lord? Who can get some information from heaven for our situation on earth. He’s saying I need somebody in this particular situation who can bring clarity. So what we’re going through because you are and what you’re talking about blaming God is getting us nowhere. I need to find out what God is up to in allowing the situation to transpire as it has. Is there a profit while the servant said, well there is a profit here named Elisha who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah to pour the water on the hands of he was a lie, Just servants. So Alecia was the servant of the previous prophet Elijah. He says he Leisha is, yes, he is nearby. So jehoshaphat stay with me here said the word of the Lord is with him. So the King of Israel Santorum and jehoshaphat and the King of Eden went down to him because they needed spiritual clarity. Watch this for a physical situation to physical situations, one in a war and number two days more water. Now, that’s, that’s a physical reality. But they need a spiritual clarification about the spiritual reality. If you’re in a drought right now or if you’re in a battle right now, in your life, in your world, with your career, with your finances, with your family, with your future, you’re in this battle and there is no water in other words, No, every place you look is dry, Every place you look is empty. Every place you look, there is nothing that’s giving you life sustaining clarity and help. Then that means you need a prophetic word. You need something that will zero in where you are and what you are dealing with. You need a prophetic word. So they go down to get spiritual clarity. Now Elijah said to the King of Israel, watch this little funny, but it’s serious in verse 13, what do I have to do with you Now that three kings win, jehoshaphat, King of Adam and Jahar. Um but he only turns to Johore. Um the king of Israel and said, why are you here? Get out of my face, I don’t want to see you move on, I don’t mind talking to these other two guys, I don’t want to talk to you? But he only said that to the one king? He doesn’t say it to the to the, to the other two. Although there were three there All right, go back to verse one. Now Joram the son of Ahab became king over Israel and Samaria the beginning of verse two and he did evil in the sight of the Lord verse three. Nevertheless, he come to the sins of jeroboam the sins of neighbors which he had made Israel sin. He did not depart from them. So let me tell you about your your joe harms daddy was Ahab, johan’s mother was jezebel. You’re starting to track with me Abby and Jessie let a whole herd of false prophets. They went about killing the prophets of God and bolstering up the prophets of bail. They had Elijah who was the spiritual father of Elijah, running for his life. They were so oppressive like father. Like son. Elijah says, I know about your daddy, I know about your mama and you’re as bad as them. You’re a chip off the old block. In fact, he says in verse 13, go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother and the king of Israel said to him no for the Lord has called these three kings together to give them into the hands of moab, Okay? He says why are you coming to me? Why don’t you go back to your people to the folks that your mom and dad believed in bail and astra? Why don’t you go back to your false gods? But now he’s with the king of Judah and he is with the king of Eden. He’s like a lot of folks, he was an emergency worshiper because he he in a crisis here in a drought here in the situation he can’t fix. He’s in a problem that he can’t resolve. So now he want to go to church now you want to hear what the bible has to say. Now he wants to hear what the word of God has to say because he’s in a crisis. You know that’s what folks do. They want God in an emergency. So he says go back to your people. You don’t, you don’t believe in God. You don’t, you haven’t called on God before. You haven’t been looking at God all the time now and now you want to just show up and get spiritual, what are you doing here? You don’t believe in the true God. You’re just using him right now. And so they’ve got this emergency elijah says verse 14 as the lord of hosts lives before whom I stand in other words don’t just visit him. I stand before him. In other words, he’s my lifestyle, not just my sunday morning experience before whom I stand in other words? This is how I roll, this is how I operate before whom I stand were it not that I regard the presence of jehoshaphat. The king of Judah. I would not look at u north see you. The only reason I’m talking to you is because jehoshaphat is here, the Godly King of Judah. So you’re gonna get the benefit of a saint in your midst, you’re gonna get the benefit even though you need to go home to mama and daddy and they’re dead. You’re gonna get the benefit of jehoshaphat being in the mixed. That’s why the bible says the presence of the righteous affects the condition of the wicked because the righteous in a vicinity can give credit to the evil in the environment because it HASA Fat is here, I’m going to answer his question that’s gonna bless you. Verse 15. They want to know. Is there a word from God about this crisis of no water? He says Verse 15, Elisha. But now bring me a minstrel. And it came about when the menstrual played that the hand of the Lord came upon him? Oh no, you didn’t. He said, is there anybody here with a keyboard. Is there anybody here with the piano? Is there anybody here with an organ? Is there anybody here with a violin? Is there a minstrel that is a musician in the vicinity. Hmm. The prophet asked for a musician, you can show up here for the sermon and you’ll only get the sermon. That situation didn’t need a sermon, They needed a prophetic word and a prophetic word is God speaking personally into your situation. So in order for them to get a prophetic word they were going to have to worship. Not just sit down and listen to a service, the purpose of music in worship. The minstrel is not to simply be a prelude to a sermon, It is to set the atmosphere for God to speak. God did not speak to the prophet Elisha to give him a prophetic word until the atmosphere had been affected. So if you want a prophetic word, don’t you just show up on sermon because you’ll only get a sermon. You need to be part of an atmosphere where God is free to express himself on a personal level because you are a worshiper and not just an a tender looking for a sermon. The prophet I said, give me a musician because I need the atmosphere for God to speak into. So no, you music isn’t just because a song is supposed to be in church, it’s supposed to be an atmosphere where God feels comfortable and so before he ever heard a specific word, a rama word, Arema word is a specific utterance, not a general preached truth. Before he got clarity. He had to have an atmospheric change. So when you get along with God during the fast, when you get with him as a general wu create some atmosphere so that you can hear a prophetic word. So the Lord came on him. Elijah verse 16 and said thus said, the Lord, make this valley full of trenches. I want you dig ditches, trenches, ditches, make this valley full, fill it up with holes with trenches. For thus saith the Lord now, he only heard this after he hired the minstrel after the atmosphere was changed because I mean, there are a million options out there related to our decision making. A prophetic word gives you a specific word for you. This is the strategy right now for this thing you are dealing with. He says, what God told me to tell you was to dig plenty of ditches in a valley. Valley is a low place. The valley, you know you you low. So the an award. There is no water and a low. I want you to dig ditches and I want you to fill up the valley with him. So he worships he gets a specific word, fill the low place. The valley with ditches, the trenches. But what’s gonna happen when I do this? Because that seems weird Verse 17 for thus, Saith The Lord. You shall not see when nor shall you see rain Yet. The valley shall be filled with water so that you shall drink both you and your cattle and your beasts. Okay, let’s get this. Now, when God gives you a prophetic word, it may not make sense. There’s gonna be no win, no rain and they’re gonna be water everywhere That does not fit the natural scheme of things that’s not normal. It’s dry. There is no water here and there’s gonna be no rain and it’s going to be filled. Do you know why he told them build ditches? He told him dig ditches so that they could make room for God. He says this ain’t hard, this is but a slight thing with the Lord. It it ain’t all that. You mean to tell me we’re gonna dig ditches. The place is gonna be full of water. We’re gonna be able to feed the people, gonna drink, the animal’s gonna drink and we’re gonna defeat moab. You mean to tell me that? I’m not only telling you that it ain’t it ain’t nothing but a thing. It ain’t it ain’t that hard for the Lord. But notice he said, you’re gonna have to dig the ditches. God’s not gonna dig the ditches. You dig the ditches because God wants to see your faith at work. Yeah. And he will only fill the amount of ditches that you dig. He said make the valley full of them. And if you are struggling digging your ditch, find a jehoshaphat who will encourage you to dig ditches, Who will not let you just hang out, talking a good game, listening to sermons, praying prayers without any dishes for God to work with. It happened in the morning verse 20 at the time of the offering of the sacrifice that behold water came by the way of Eden and the country was filled. We’re one. Let me explain something. Do me a favor. Don’t box God in don’t, don’t don’t don’t say hi. He’s gonna do something. He can come in so many different ways. He can come around in so many different avenues. That’s why I don’t get discouraged. Don’t quit dig ditches. That’s why I love I love Ephesians. Chapter three verse 20 Now under him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or think be glory, honor and Dominion through the church. So now under him in this new year, Who can meet you in your dry spot in your spiritual battle, in your trial, In your tribulation in your singlehood, in your marriage, in your career, on your job with your parents, with your Children. Now unto him who can meet you in your discouragement, in your depression, in your frustration in your irritation. Now onto him, who knows you’re hurt. Who knows your mistrust? Who knows your mistreatment Now unto him be glory honor and Dominion now and forever somebody better give him some praise up in here. Up in here. He is worthy to be praised. Why you dig your ditches. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mhm Yeah, motivation for pursuing Godliness. Is that we get to experience God at a deeper richer level. For many people even christians God is distant. He’s out there somewhere. Believe in him maybe have a legal relationship with him with very limited experience of him, His closeness, his work in our lives, answer prayer, governance and guidance along the way provisions all of those things come tied to proximity. So the closer you are to God through pursuing Godliness, the more of the God you are pursuing you get to experience God is not far away. We’re far away. Draw near and watch what happens when he draws near to you. Yeah, mm hmm, mm hmm. I’m standing here in Alaska, one of the most glorious places in God’s great creation. And I want to invite you to join me in our urban alternative family for the Alaskan Cruise. We’re going to have a magnificent time in God’s word and in God’s creation we’re going to enjoy great fellowship, great fun, great food. And I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting you on R. T. U. A. Alaskan Cruise Register to be there. Can’t wait to be with you.

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Tony Evans Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and...

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