Digging Ditches

Digging Ditches

I just don’t understand! I’ve done everything I know to do, but nothing is working! How desperate are you? Are you willing to surrender all control and do things God’s way for a change? Will you follow the Lord, even if His way doesn’t seem to make any sense?

Sometimes God’s way doesn’t seem the most logical at the time. Naturally, we like to understand things and sometimes we get too smart for our own good. It’s hard to surrender to God when you are constantly trying to figure things out for yourself.

At some point, you have to trust God and stop leaning on your own understanding.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust God’s leading even when it doesn’t make sense!

In chapter 3 of II Kings, Jehoram and Jehoshaphat find themselves in a dry, barren wasteland facing a mighty enemy. One of the kings knows he can’t afford to lean on his own understanding. Even when God’s way doesn’t make sense to him he dares to trust God anyway.

The story begins when the king of Moab rises up and rebels against Jehoram, the king of Israel…

But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

Jehoram was a wicked king and “…wrought evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 3:2).

Although Jehoram was ungodly and leading Israel away from the things of God, he didn’t mind enlisting the help of a God fearing man.

Jehoram makes a plea to Jehoshaphat, the good king of Judah.

Will you help me fight the king of Moab? I don’t need your God, except when I’m in trouble. Aren’t we guilty of the same? We like to do things our way, follow our own plans, do our own thing until we are facing tragic circumstances. Then we are quick to call on the prayer warriors.

Jehoshaphat was a righteous king, and for whatever reason agreed to join forces with Jehoram to fight their common enemy, the Moabites. Maybe Jehoshaphat longed for the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah to be united once again.

I can almost picture Jehoram, frantic because his gods were failing him. He’s about to lose part of his kingdom and all the tribute from the king of Moab. The power and wealth that he put so much faith in, along with all the pleasures that it afforded him were fading away. He was distressed!

Jehoram must have relied on the calm, steady nature of Jehoshaphat for his faith was in a God that wouldn’t fail him.

And [Jehoram] said, Which way shall we go up? And [Jehoshaphat] answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.

Jehoram, desperate to save himself, followed Jehoshaphat’s plan and went by way of Edom where they joined forces with the king of Edom.

Edom was a desert, barren land. Sadly, the Edomites were cursed to live in this unfertile land all because they were the descendants of Esau. It all started when Esau forfeited his birthright and blessing for a measly bowl of beans just to satisfy his own flesh (Genesis 25).

So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days’ journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them.

Talk about gloom and doom! These three kings were facing the mighty Moabite army, but now even more vulnerable, they were stranded in a barren wasteland with no water supply.

What do you do when all hope is gone and there’s nothing left to do? Most of us would say cry out to God for help. But Jehoram was wicked. Rather than humble himself and turn to God and repent, he mocks and blames God for their predicament…

10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!

However, Jehoshaphat trusted the One True God for everything, especially when there was no hope in sight. Jehoshaphat was committed to God not just in the best of times, but in the worst of times as well. He knew he had to seek the Lord for help and guidance, else all would be lost.

While Jehoram ranted and raved about their plight…

Jehoshaphat trusted the Lord! Let’s see what my God has to say!

11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the Lord is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

So Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom went to the prophet Elisha to seek God’s will.

Can you imagine what Elisha must have thought when wicked Jehoram sought the advice from a prophet of the very God he had blatantly disregarded and disobeyed?

13 And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

You can feel the hostile sarcasm of Elisha when he asks Jehoram, “…What have I to do with thee?” Why don’t you go to the prophets of your mother and father? You know the ones you chose to serve instead of the Lord God Almighty. If the idols and false gods that satisfied your flesh were good enough before, why aren’t they good enough now?

Of course, Jehoram smugly replies, your God is no better, “…for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.”

14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.

Elisha agreed to seek God’s will, but made it perfectly clear it was not for the evil King Jehoram. Essentially, if it wasn’t for the godly King Jehoshaphat, Elisha “… would not look toward thee, nor see thee.” Thankfully, there are still people today like Jehoshaphat who have a testimony of living right to please God.

Elisha prayed for an answer and the Lord revealed His will…

16 And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.

Dig a ditch in the middle of a desert! Not just one ditch, but cover the whole valley full of ditches!

I can hear Jehoram…Really Elisha? That’s all you’ve got! You want us to dig ditches when we should be wielding a sword! How’s that going to defeat the enemy?

Like Jehoshaphat, are you willing to trust the Lord when it just doesn’t make sense?

17 For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.

I’m sure they all had their doubts. We are facing an army! We have absolutely no water for the troops or our animals. There’s no clouds in the sky, no sign of rain whatsoever… so where’s the water going to come from?

Have you ever wondered how God would work all the mess out in your life? Are you facing decisions right now that you just aren’t prepared to make? Nothing catches God off guard!

18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.

It’s nothing for the Lord, a light thing!

God will conquer the Moabites His way, and not by man’s devices. Put your swords down, pick up your shovel, and start digging!

God said dig a ditch, and He will fill it! If you do your part and obey, God will do the rest.

The Bible doesn’t tell us…but I wonder if Jehoram even picked up a shovel. Or was that just too humiliating…digging ditches in a desert? Really? Was Jehoram content to rest in his tent while Jehoshaphat did all the hard work?

I’m sure it wasn’t easy and Jehoshaphat may have struggled with feelings of resentment towards Jehoram. But Jehoshaphat knew he wasn’t digging ditches for Jehoram or himself. Jehoshaphat dug those ditches because God told him to! This work was for something greater than defeating the Moabites. This work was about the whole nation of Israel, bringing a divided kingdom together to witness the glory of God.

What are you willing to do to be in God’s will? Will you humbly dig a ditch when you’ve planned to wield a sword? God wants to use you to build His Kingdom, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. But it’s got to be His way…

Dig a ditch, and God will fill it!

20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

The water God promised came from Edom. Wait a minute! A miracle came from the barren, cursed wasteland of Edom. Never underestimate what God can do! He can make a way where there seems to be no way. Sometimes your hopeless situation, might turn out to be your next miracle.

God will provide! It may not be how you would have imagined. Trust God anyhow! He is in complete control of every situation you might be facing today and He is faithful to those that are committed to Him!

Okay, it all sounds good! I want to commit myself to God, but I am no king Jehoshaphat. If anything, I’ve been like wretched Jehoram. I don’t deserve a miracle! I’m in this mess because of my own rotten self. I chose this path and it’s only right that I suffer the consequences.

God will take your wretchedness, your mistakes, your faults, and turn all of it into a vessel of honor for Him, if you are willing.

None of us deserve God’s mercy, but He extends it anyway. Without Jesus Christ we all deserve an eternity in hell separated from God.

God wants to work miracles in and through your life, but the greatest miracle starts with knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. God gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, not because you deserve it, but because He loves you! God is full of mercy and compassion and wants to work everything out in your life for your good, and for His honor and glory.

The Moabite army assembled, put on their armor, and waited at their border for the battle to begin.

22 And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:

Miraculously, God angled the sun’s rays just right so that the water reflected red. The Moabites thought the ditches were full of the blood of the three kings and their armies.

23 And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.

The Moabites reasoned, surely everyone’s dead. The spoils are ours for the taking and we don’t even have to fight for it. And they proceeded down into the camp …

24 And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.

The Moabites were defeated! Not by man’s way! But God’s way, with a valley full of ditches!

What about your life? Are you facing enemies right now wondering how you are going to make it through? Sickness, cancer, depression, … relationship problems, financial struggles, and the list goes on and on…You worry and wonder how it’s all going to work out.

Do you want to see God move? Then provide the vessel… Dig a ditch to hold the outpouring and God will fill it up to overflowing.

If you need a miracle, God needs a ditch to fill! If you need salvation… He’s the Savior! If you want to be filled… He’s the Baptizer! If you are sick… He’s the healer.

Whatever you have need of, God is willing and able to meet your need. But if you never dig the ditch, how can you expect God to fill it?

Commit yourself to God! Set time aside for prayer! Turn the TV off and read God’s word! Fast a meal or two! Walk in the Spirit! Live a life to please God!

God said to make the valley full of ditches, not just a little hole in front of your tent. But cover the entire community with ditches. The work of God is not just about you… Miracles don’t just happen so my circumstances change. The power of God is demonstrated to point souls to Jesus Christ! An outpouring of God’s Spirit is about building God’s Kingdom and bringing glory to God.

We want an outpouring of God, but are we willing to pick up a shovel and dig some ditches to receive it? When you’re desperate for God, you will dig…But you don’t have to wait for a tragedy to seek the Lord.

Break out that shovel that you used a long time ago when you first got saved. Recall that moment when you first cried out to Jesus. Remember when you were desperate for something this world couldn’t offer.

Pick up that shovel and start digging ditches. Be committed and faithful to God’s work. Don’t question His way. Just dig, and dig, until the miraculous outpouring of God comes.

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