There is a story in the Old Testament that I would like to share with you in my own words, but first we have to set the scene. King Ahab was very evil in the sight of the Lord because among other offenses, he worshipped false gods. You might want to read his story, starting in 1 Kings 16.
Anyway, after his death, his son Joram began to rule over Israel, in the 18th year of the opposing king’s reign.
In case you are looking for a creative name for your child, the godly king’s name was Jehoshaphat. He reigned in Judah during a civil war much like ours, while King Joram lived in the capital city of Samaria. King Jehoshaphat lived down south in the kingdom of Judah, and I always wondered whether or not he had a Southern accent.
Jehoshaphat was a good king, and Joram wasn’t as bad as his father and mother, but that’s not saying a lot. Joram did at least tear down the sacred pillar of Baal, the heathen rain god, which his father had set up. But despite this, he continued to worship golden calves, the brain-child of the first king of Israel, who had led his people away from the one true God.
Another guy, King Mesha of Moab, refused to pay taxes to the king of Israel after his father Ahab’s death, so you can guess what happened. King Joram called for his army, and marched from his capital.
I guess his cell phone was out of service, because on the way, he sent this message to King Jehoshaphat of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you join me in battle against him?”
Jehoshaphat replied, “Sure! You and I are tight, bro. Everything of mine is yours.”
Then Jehoshaphat asked, “Do you have a GPS? What route will we take?”
“Through the wilderness, of course.”
They formed an alliance between all three armies and traveled through the wilderness for seven days.
But now there is a twist. Picture yourself out in the desert, where the temperatures can reach 130 degrees. There is not a drop of water, and King Ahab is frantic.
“What should we do?” he cried out. “I guess God is punishing us by letting the king of Moab defeat us.” (When hard times come, we can often have a similar response.)
But King Jehoshaphat asked, “Where’s the prophet of the Lord? We should ask the Lord for guidance.”
Pause again and reflect, please, for like king Ahab, we don’t usually call on the Lord until we get into trouble.
One of King Joram’s officers replied, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He was Elijah’s personal assistant.”
King Jehoshaphat said, “Yes, the Lord speaks through him.” So the three kings went to consult with Elisha.
Now here is the actual story, starting from 2 Kings verse 13.
“Why are you coming to me?” Elisha asked the king of Israel. “Go to the pagan prophets of your father and mother!” But King Joram of Israel said, “No! For it was the Lord who called us three kings here—only to be defeated by the king of Moab!” Elisha the prophet replied, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I wouldn’t even bother with you except for my respect for King Jehoshaphat of Judah. Now bring me someone who can play the harp.”
(Pardon the interruption, please. In the Bible, music is very important. Here, it is used to set the tone of worship.)
While the harp was being played, the power of the Lord came upon Elisha, and he said, “This is what the Lord says: This dry valley will be filled with pools of water! You will see neither wind nor rain, says the Lord, but this valley will be filled with water. You will have plenty for yourselves and your cattle and other animals. But this is only a simple thing for the Lord, for he will make you victorious over the army of Moab! You will conquer the best of their towns, even the fortified ones. You will cut down all their good trees, stop up all their springs, and ruin all their good land with stones.”
The next day at about the time when the morning sacrifice was offered, water suddenly appeared! It was flowing from the direction of Edom, and soon there was water everywhere.”
(2 Kings 3:13-21, NLT)
If your prayer life or Bible study could be compared to plowing through a barren wilderness containing no water, then this story is for you. You pray but you get no answers, or you study the Bible and can’t understand it. In frustration, you feel like giving up. But just as Elisha told the soldiers in this story they would be victorious, scripture says that you and I are more than conquerors in Christ. Aside from many other places in the Bible, Jesus also taught the value of persistence when He told us to knock and keep knocking.
Water in the Bible symbolizes both the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, both of which are cleansing agents. But for reasons that I hope will become apparent, I will discuss God’s Word with you first.
Two metaphors that stand out to me concerning God’s Word are a rock and a sword. The rock-like nature of God’s Word becomes clear as you really meditate on the message from a song that you may have sung as a child. (Aren’t you glad you don’t have to listen to me sing it?) Well, be that as it may, it’s a shame that we forget about how to become childlike in our faith as we grow older. Please ask God to help you open your heart and mind.
The song in question concerns “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man” from one of Jesus’ parables. At the beginning, we see the wise and foolish man getting ready to build, and I invite you to come to the site with me.
The Bible doesn’t mention this, but let’s imagine that the two guys were friends who decided to build houses next dorr to each other. We’ll call one man George, and the other Pete.
Anyway, once the land for both houses was bought and the construction crew was ready, George and Pete set the date for the ground-breaking. After a long day of work, George stretched and yawned.
“I’m tired! What do you say we swing by, pick up the wives and go out for a night on the town?” he asked.
“Great idea,” pete grinned. “I could use a break.”
But as the two friends and their wives talked over dinner, the women spoke up. “We were against this whole housing idea from the beginning,” they admitted. “It costs way too much.”
Once the women left, the men decided to stay behind and brainstorm. Eventually, they both admitted that maybe their better halves were right. George said he was going home to ask his wife’s forgiveness, but Pete decided to stick to his guns and cut corners during the home-building process.
We all know the ending to this tale, so I won’t go there.
The point is that in both of these stories, digging was essential. In life, all of us have ditches to dig in order to find the water of the Word, and secure a firm foundation that will lead us through the storms of life.
The book of Hebrews tells us that God’s Word is a sword. It can search out our true motives, which only God is aware of. Psalms 119 also lets us know that God’s Word is a sure guide which you can trust.
So keep on digging, even when your feelings tell you you’re getting nowhere. You can be sure that whenever you don’t understand something in scripture, God definitely does. Abandon yourself to finding eternal riches in God’s Word, and you might be surprised at the treasure you dig up.
Now in order to dig, it’s only logical to have the right tools. So please join me next week, when we’ll discuss this topic. Until then, God bless you, and happy digging!
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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