2 Kings 3, Spiritual Disciplines Are Faith Filled Trenches
1. Dig Trenches In God’s Word
2. Dig Trenches In Prayer
3. Dig Trenches In Fellowship
4. Dig Trenches In Worship
5. Dig Trenches In Service
6. Dig Trenches For Healing
7. Dig Trenches In Endurance
8. Dig Trenches In Giving
9. Dig Where God Commands
10. Dig When You Don’t Feel Like It
11. Dig A Little Extra
2 Kings 3, Spiritual Disciplines Are Faith Filled Trenches
2 Kings 3, Spiritual Disciplines Are Faith Filled Trenches
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Well, as we look at Second Kings Chapter 3 this evening, we're looking at this account of three kings who've gathered together to go against another nation.
This is the King of Israel, the king of Judah and the king of Edom.
And so just to give a little bit of context, here's the geography.
Israel and Judah.
One time where one nation called Israel, they've splits into two now the northern Kingdom is Israel.
The Southern Kingdom is Judah down below them is the third Kingdom here.
That's the Kingdom of Eden, and so they have all joined together and said, you know what we need to gang up on Moab and do some damage.
And so they have joined together, and they're going against Moab now.
Which way are they going to go?
There's some discussion about that earlier in the chapter and they decide what we're going to do is we're going to go down South around the bottom of the Dead Sea and come around Moab from that.
Side and the the path that they're on takes them through some very desert places.
There's not a lot of water and they are there now in desperation because they've got close to Moab, but they've run out of all their supply of water.
There's no water for them to find around.
And so they're thirsty.
They're losing strength.
They're losing energy.
Now in the midst of the desert, and so they've kind of feel doomed a bit.
And you can see there in the verses the King of Israel has basically said God done this to us.
You know he's brought us together to slaughter us by the hand of Moab because Moab is going to easily overtake us because we're here dying of thirst, they're going to have an easy time attacking us, and it was kind of the idea that.
They had to keep going to Moab because that was going to be a shorter path to water than going back.
And so the the idea was that they were going to have to go forward, but you know they were going to be in desperate straits because they had no water, and so this is where they're at out in the middle of the desert and desperately needing water.
And they go and seek out the prophet Elijah Elisha who.
After seeking, the Lord has a word for them and that's what we're going to focus on in verse 16 and 17.
Here's what it says.
Here again, in verse 16 and 17, and he said, thus says the Lord, make this valley full of ditch.
Is for thus says the Lord.
You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain, yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you your cattle and your animals may drink.
Here in these two verses we have a really powerful illustration that I want to take some time to develop with us tonight to help our imaginations a bit to kind of capture this illustration and think about what God wants to do in our lives.
And so I've titled the message this evening.
Spiritual disciplines are faith filled.
Trenches move this over a little bit.
There we go.
Spiritual disciplines are faith filled.
Trenches and I want to encourage you to think about your spiritual disciplines this evening.
Spiritual disciplines are those things that we do diligently in seeking to know God, seeking to develop in our relationship with God and seeking to honor God with our lives.
One of the rules that we live by that the things that God has said is that the just shall live by faith, not by sight, right, not by how we feel or.
What we can?
Perceive, but the just the righteous, those who know God shall live by faith, and this passage really illustrates that principle.
Very well that there are many things that we do in our lives as spiritual disciplines and in an endeavor to know the Lord and walk with the Lord that we don't necessarily see immediate results in.
But like the picture that is painted here, the Lord said, make this valley full of dishes.
And so here's this group of very thirsty soldiers.
And God says, here's what you need to do.
Thirsty soldiers go dig ditches in the dirt.
And and what is probably the last thing that thirsty people want to do, right?
Dig in the dusty wilderness like that is not what you would think of in a time of great thirst, but that's what God says.
Go dig in the dry dirt.
I can fill those dishes that you dig with water and it paints this picture for us of of digging in advance, doing some hard work in a dusty time and during a time of thirst.
But because you've heard from God, because there is this word that there is going to be a filling.
Of the dishes that you dig, the word ditch is here that is used by the Lord.
It it speaks of a containment of water and so ditch is a word that of course it can be translated that way.
It could also be translated trench and so you can think about like trenching.
So it's maybe a little bit more shallow than the ditch that you might picture but.
It also can be translated as cistern.
It is not just like dig a little bit of a uh.
Crag or something for water to flow in but but dig something substantial.
Make a sister and make something that can hold water that can catch the water that the Lord is going to bring and in the Hebrew it's actually the same word repeated twice.
So he says make this valley full of dishes.
That is, make the dishes have dishes that dig trenches and dig trenches in those trenches.
Is the idea?
Dig cisterns and and dig cisterns and in.
In those in those cisterns that that there would be this depth to these things that are dug out so that much water can be captured.
That as God is going to provide that, and so this is what God has called them to do to dig in the wilderness while they're thirsty in the hope that in the trust that tomorrow or at the right time, God will fill those dishes with water and it paints a great picture for us of spiritual disciplines.
We don't see the results right away.
And sometimes we're really thirsty.
Like we're looking for God to.
Answer, But sometimes when we're looking for God to answer and we're really thirsting for direction, we're really thirsting for something from the Lord.
What we need right at that moment is not necessarily the answer right that instant, but to invest some labor in seeking the Lord, understanding that he will fill that labor, he will reward that labor in his time.
Spiritual disciplines are like digging ditches, and you can always count on God.
To fill them.
You could always count on God to fill them.
FB Meyer says in all God's gifts there is need for our cooperation. He alone can send the water, but we must trench.
The ground there's a need for us to do some trenching to do some digging to put in some hard labor to put in some significant effort.
But with the understanding with the hope and the promise that that labor will be rewarded, and it will be worth it.
Abundantly as we see here played.
Out in this passage.
The author of Hebrews puts it this way.
Without faith it's impossible to please him.
For he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
First things first, we have to believe that God exists.
We have to believe in the true and living God.
That's first but.
He says that we also need to believe that he's a rewarder of those who diligently seek him, and so if we don't believe that God exists, we're not going to seek.
But if we believe that God exists, then, well, we're going to be pleasing to him, because by faith.
We're going to be diligently seeking him, trusting, believing his promise that he will reward those who diligently seek him, and that were diligently is captured pretty well by the picture of digging.
Ditch is in a barren wilderness, right to diligently seek the Lord is not to just seek the Lord when it's nice or.
Pleasant or convenient or easy, but to diligently seek the Lord is to be persistent in seeking God.
Even when it's difficult, even when it's challenging, even when it comes at great expense.
But we do so we are diligent in seeking the Lord because he rewards those who diligently seek him.
And so spiritual disciplines, their faith filled trenches, and.
I want to walk through some different aspects.
For us to consider in this some different spiritual disciplines.
To help us.
Think through in our lives the things that God wants to develop.
Perhaps some trenching that needs to be done for us and maybe some new ways that God wants to develop us in our relationship with him.
And so the first point to consider this evening.
Here's point number one.
In God's word.
I want to encourage you to spend some time digging trenches in the scriptures in the word of God again.
Verse 16 thus says the Lord make this valley.
You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain, yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you your cattle and your animals may drink when it comes to the word of God.
This is a discipline for us as believers that God wants us to be engaged in that we need to have.
A consistent andregg.
Miller time with God in his word, it's such an important part of our lives and I I could spend a lot of time.
Of course talking about this, but I I don't want to go into great detail and cover every possible Ave and give you, you know every possible reason.
I would encourage you if you struggle with the idea of.
The Bible being a necessary part of the Christian life that you need to check that out.
My idea here.
My goal is not to like make a ultimate case here, but to give.
You a little bit of exhortation.
That that you and I need to make sure that we continue to dig trenches in the word of God that we don't just rely on trenches of the past, but but that we continue to develop and dig into the the scriptures to spend time with the Lord to uncover.
Things of God and from God and about God.
And so this is one of the reasons why at the end of the year, as I've been doing for the past few weeks, I like to encourage us and challenge us to be thinking about and praying about.
What is our Bible reading plan for the coming year?
Another way to think about this is what kind of trenches does God want you to dig?
In his word this coming year?
With the understanding that this time this investment in the scriptures and in the word of God is not just a fruitless endeavor, not just a religious duty, that we must do, but but it's something that we get to do.
And it may not always be easy or.
But at the same time, there is this promise of reward and refreshing that cons for those who will trench in the word of God.
One of my favorite ways to express this.
The power of God to change a life is found.
In the daily reading of his.
God has the power to change our lives and that was true.
You know, perhaps that first time we could be.
Were born again.
We believed in Jesus and there was the transformation.
The power of God to change our life, but it's true.
Even if we've been around the church and in the Lord for many years, there's still a great need.
For a change in our lives and the power of God to experience that change.
I suggest to you.
Is found in the daily reading of his word.
It's in that constant that consistent digging of trenches.
Where we don't always see the water coming.
We don't know that it's raining.
We don't know that the you know we can't see evidence of the water but but that discipline of spending time with God in his word.
Prepares us for the water that God will bring and will fill.
And it will be blessed that time in the word.
The author of Hebrews in Hebrews Chapter 5 talks about.
How shameful it is for these Hebrews.
Although they have been around the Lord for long enough that they ought to be able to teach doctrines and and teach how to walk with the Lord to other younger believers, they're in this perpetual state of infancy, and they need milk and not solid food.
He says, look everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness.
You haven't dug trenches in the right in the word of righteousness.
You're just a baby.
You haven't done any digging in the scriptures, and so it's kept you in the state of infancy.
But then he goes on to say solid food belongs to those who are of full age and notice.
That is, those who, by reason of use.
In other words, those who have dug a lot of trenches in the word of God are the ones who are mature and developed and able to understand and receive from God the things that they need from.
The word of God.
Pastor John Courson says you've got to dig the ditch is in the dry times in the hard times.
You've got to daily dig.
The ditch is and the Lord will fill them with water in his time.
You might feel like your morning devotions are a rut as dry as a desert.
Dig the ditch anyway and in the morning and the Lords timing.
He will fill it with water just as he filled those ditches that they dug in the wilderness with what?
The Lord will fill those times with him in his word that you put in.
He will fill those times with water, those, those things that you invested God will use that time.
Use that investment and fill those ditches with.
Understanding of him with insights into his nature, his character, his will, his plans for you.
That time will not be lost. Isaiah Chapter 55 that famous passage as the rain comes down and has its effect.
It doesn't return without having effects on the earth, but the the cycle of water that comes from the rain, right?
He says in the same way, my word that goes forth it shall not.
Return to me void.
It's going to have its effect, and when you spend time with God in his word, you can trust you can count on you can know it's going to have a great impact in your life.
It will accomplish.
But God wants it to accomplish.
Well, the second discipline to consider is prayer, and I want to encourage you this evening to dig trenches in prayer.
Thus says the Lord make this valley full of dishes.
Spend some time in the word dig some dishes, make that valley full of dishes.
Now spend some time in prayer also and make that valley.
Full of dishes that is put in some time in prayer now.
You can think about this in a variety of ways, and I'm not suggesting that we all are supposed to pray 8 hours a day without doing anything else, right?
But Paul says, pray without ceasing that there is this idea that we're to be in constant communication with God, even as we're out and about and driving around and doing the things that we must do, but that we don't like.
OK God, I'm putting you on pause and I'm focused now on the rest of my life, but that we stay in communication with God and and that is one of the ways that we dig trenches in prayer that we just keep a constant connection to God.
Throughout our lives.
But another way to think about this, an important thing to think about, is to keep digging trenches for certain prayer requests.
That is, there are those things that are upon our hearts, that that we must not give up.
Praying for them just because we haven't seen them fulfilled, or it's been a while that that there is the need for us.
I keep digging trenches in the wilderness where there's desert in those.
Areas of unanswered prayer that there are those things that God wants to answer but.
Perhaps he would be calling us to keep on praying first to keep on digging some dishes, and it's preparing the way it's developing.
The capacity for the Lord to answer that prayer.
The Lord gave an example of this in Luke Chapter 18.
He told a parable to teach us.
It tells us in verse 1 the point of the parable that men.
Always ought to pray and to not lose heart.
Here's here's what Jesus is wanting to say through this parable, and he goes on to talk about a judge and a widow and she keeps bugging the judge about this case and and looking for justice.
And she keeps coming to him and keeps coming to him and keeps coming to him and keeps coming to him.
She's diligent in it.
She's you know, doesn't give up in it, and she continues until the judge.
She says, OK, I will hear your case.
I will do what is right in this situation and take care of it.
And Jesus goes on to say, look, if if a corrupt judge can behave that way because this widow is persistent.
How much more your father?
We'll do what's right.
As we call upon him, and so the point going back to verse one.
Don't lose heart.
Keep on praying.
Keep on seeking God for that thing that's upon your heart.
It's digging a ditch.
It's continuing to add to that request before the Lord, and it doesn't go away.
But it will be fulfilled. It will be answered in the Lord's timing, as we often say, right, that every prayer is answered sometimes.
It's yes, sometimes it's no, sometimes it's wait and so you know if we keep asking and we're keeping praying.
And the answer is no.
We're still digging trenches and you know what we're doing?
We're developing our heart, we're developing.
Our character, in praying for the things that God is actually going to be saying, no, that's not good for you.
We're preparing ourselves for that answer for for us to be able to handle that.
That's the the answer from the Lord.
But there are many times where God wants to answer the responses.
At the appropriate time when the best time all of those prayers that have been lifted up before.
The Lord will be.
Answered in Exodus Chapter 3 through 6 and as we think about the children of Israel in ******* in Egypt, it talks about the Lord hearing their groanings and their kind of their groanings are mounting up to the Lord.
And and you can think about that picture, right?
They're digging trenches with their groanings unto the Lord about their their situation until finally the trenches dug.
And God says, alright, Moses go get him out.
He answers the prayer request.
He answers the groan that they have been experiencing.
Over much time and so keep digging ditches or trenches in prayer.
I think a good picture of this is in Revelation Chapter 8.
They're at pictures, angels bringing before the Lord incense, and it tells us that the incense is the prayers of all the Saints.
And twice it tells us that this incense is the prayers of all the Saints, and and you kind of get this picture right that that it's not necessarily the prayers of that moment of the Saints, but it's that collected prayer of the Saints.
That are now being offered to the Lord at this time, and he is going to be answering those prayers in the events that follow, and in some other way as we pray.
None of those prayers are lost.
Each of those prayers is another shovel full of dirt out of the way, making room for God's answer. Making room for God's work.
Imagine that every prayer that you pray and you have the capacity to dig another shovel full right to to make the ditch a little bit longer a little.
Bit deeper you.
You can continue to pray and make room for God's miraculous work.
Well, another discipline to consider is fellowship dig trenches.
In fellowship thus says the Lord make this valley full of dishes, and I'm not going to spend a lot of time here.
I shared this a few weeks back on a Wednesday evening about church gatherings being team events and you can go back and listen to that.
I shared a little bit on Sunday at the servants meeting about this as well.
So there's some things for us to consider there about spiritual gifts.
Paul tells us in First Corinthians 14 to pursue love and desire spiritual gifts and, and that's the the digging there that desire that that as we gather together as we meet in fellowship that there would be this preparation in advance, there's some.
Some trench digging in advance of us getting together.
We don't just show up and now it's the first time I'm thinking about seeing you.
But as we're on the way together as we're seeking, you know that opportunity together that we're desired, we're digging those dishes and asking God to bless the time to use the time to supernaturally work through us in the lives of those around us.
We've been talking about the roles in the body.
It's something I'll continue to encourage us in as we continue forward and the things that God has for us.
That these are the things that we are to be pursuing and seeking the Lord about as we gather together.
This is the kind of things that he wants us to be involved in as we serve the Lord and serve one another.
Dig trenches in fellowship. Pastor Charles Spurgeon says if we expect to obtain the Holy Spirit's blessing, we must prepare.
For his reception, be prepared to receive that which he is about to give each man in his place, each woman in her sphere make the whole of this church full of trenches.
For the reception of the divine water floods.
That we would.
Be prepared in advance.
Digging trenches in advance.
So that our times of fellowship can be rich and meaningful because we're pursuing love and desiring spiritual gifts.
Well, another discipline to consider is worship times of worship times of singing and song before the Lord thus says the Lord, make this valley full of dishes.
I think it's interesting here.
In this passage, Elisha asks for a worship leader check out verse 15.
Elisha says now bring me a musician.
Then it happened when the musician played that the hand of the Lord came upon him.
You see that Elisha dug.
A ditch right there.
He said bring me a musician and and he dug out a trench so that the Lord could pour in the word to these kings that had come to him.
The trench he dug out was.
He spent some time.
Before the Lord in music.
In song in words.
And then worship, he dug a trench and worship you, and I get opportunity to sing to the Lord, to honor the Lord, to praise the Lord, to exalt the Lord.
But again, going back to the idea here that these spiritual disciplines are faith filled ditches, their faith filled trenches.
One of the challenges that we have when it comes to worship is getting caught up with how we feel about it, how we think about it, how we're perceiving it.
I mean, I don't know.
If that happens to you as much.
As it happens to me when I'm up here.
Man, I am in my head like my ankhian my off key and my left or right at my where am I at and is this even the right tune?
Or, you know, like I get all mixed up and and it's a continual battle to come back to you.
It doesn't matter.
It's not about me.
It's not about if I like.
The song or if Rick likes the song.
Like I'm here to worship the Lord.
And it doesn't matter if I feel like it's a good song or if I feel like it's a good time of worship like the idea here is we are to worship because he's worthy because he's called us too because we need it.
It's not about how we feel about it.
Feelings are a good part of worship, but but they're not the point.
And I think we see that a lot in the Psalms, so you can see the psalmist came to the.
Lord, whether or not they felt like it and some chapter 73 I think provides us a little bit of a good example about that.
Where the psalmist here is wrestling with the ungodly and how, and it just seems like they're blessed and they have everything easy.
And here I am, living righteous to the best of my ability.
But I'm just like struggling.
There's challenges and difficulties everywhere I go and and the psalmist.
Here is wrestling in verse 13.
He says surely have cleanse my heart in vain.
It's pointless for me to live a righteous life as I look at my life compared to the life of the ungodly.
I mean, they just have everything going for them and they're blessed and.
It's the opposite for me and I'm here doing my best to seek the Lord and serving the Lord at great expense.
But he goes on to say, when I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me.
He's really wrestling with this, right?
The psalmist is really wrestling with this idea and it's it's painful.
It's agonizing this is inner, emotional turmoil.
But then verse 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God, then I understood their end.
So he's feeling all kinds of ways he's feeling like it's worthless to worship God.
He's feeling like it's worthless to serve God, but notice.
What he does?
He still goes to the Sanctuary of God and then all of that wrestling.
That trench digging ahead of time.
Is filled by the Lord and then he says I understood their end.
I didn't feel like worshipping.
I didn't feel like going to the Lord.
I felt like it was counterproductive and actually making my life worse.
But I continued to dig those trenches.
I continued to go to the Sanctuary of God.
I continued to go and seek the Lord and and then the Lord filled that pursuit and filled that time and filled my heart.
In my mind, with understanding we have the opportunity to dig trenches in worship.
We worship not because we feel good, not because we like the song, not because you know this or that we worship because he's worthy.
And I would encourage you if you walk away from service and you're like, yeah, I.
Didn't get much out of that.
It's probably because you're not digging trenches before service.
Like if you're expecting service to dig the trenches for you like you've got it backwards, right?
The digging the trenches happens in preparation so that now in the time of worship.
You're able to be engaged and God is able to pour out his.
Holy Spirit and bless.
Now you can dig trenches here in service too, but don't expect to get as filled because there's not as much room right.
The more you dig ahead of time, the more prepared you are to receive from the Lord and so dig trenches in worship.
Next we talk about and consider digging trenches in service that is serving the Lord in ways that he has called you to dig trenches in service.
Thus says the Lord make this valley full of dishes.
And and and then emphasizing that in that way, because we can't just dig trenches in God's word and nothing.
Else right we need to make the value of God's word full of trenches, and we need to make the value of prayer filled with trenches.
And then the value of fellowship filled with trenches and the value of worship filled with trenches and the value of service unto the Lord also needs to be filled with trenches.
Think about the parable of the talents.
That Jesus gave in Matthew Chapter 25, he gave different amounts of money to his servants and said do business till I come back right. Put this to work, do the best you can with it.
And what I found interesting is I was thinking about that in Matthew Chapter 25. It tells us in verse 19 after a long time the Lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
The guy who had five talents, he got five more talents.
The master said well done, good and faithful servants.
That's the phrase that we all desire to hear from the Lord as we enter into eternity, right?
But notice it says after a long time.
He got 5 talents and with that five talents you know what he had to do.
He had to dig trenches for a long time.
He had to take that money and invest it and get it back and then invest it again and then get it back.
And it probably wasn't all victories that whole time, right?
You can understand like there's ups and downs and and so there's this digging.
There's this constant effort for a long time so that at the end then the master comes and says.
Well done, good and faithful servant.
And and then is the reward.
But the reward for his faithfulness with that money doesn't happen until a long time.
It's after a long time, right?
We need to understand in service to the Lord that we we we need to approach it with the mindset of I'm in it for the long haul that it's not like OK do this thing and then boom instant success or instant blessing or instant reward.
But as God calls you to things as God gives you opportunity to serve him in various ways.
We should approach it with the understanding that.
Well, this is going to be something that I will see reward for after a long time.
Because again, we walk by faith and not by sight.
And so sometimes you might be on a Wednesday night service teaching to six people.
And, well, what's my job?
My job is to be faithful to dig trenches for a long time.
Until the Lord changes things until the Lord changes direction until though it gives new information or new instruction right?
But what's important for me is to keep on digging those trenches.
After a long time.
Meaning even maybe not until eternity.
Will we see the reward for our faithful service unto him?
Paul tells us in First Corinthians chapter 4.
Here's how people should think about us as servants.
As stewards of the mysteries of God, people should think about us as servants.
Paul says, not as Lords, not as rulers, not as masters.
They should think about.
US as servants, and here's what's important about servants or stewards.
That they be found faithful.
Going back to Matthew 25, what was important about them was that when the master came back after a long time that the servant was using the resources the master gave him for its intended purpose, accomplishing what he set it forth to do.
That's what's required of stewards faithfulness.
That's what is required of us.
What's required of us is not success from our perspective or success from anybody elses perspective.
But what's required of us is faithfulness. Paul goes on to say in first Corinthians 43.
It's a small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court.
In fact, I.
Do not even judge myself.
Paul says I can't evaluate.
Whether it's successful or not, how good it is?
That's not for me to decide.
What's required for me is to be found faithful.
I need to do what God is set before me.
And that's the measurement that matters to me.
And I'm gonna dig ditches.
Whether it looks like success or it doesn't look like success.
I'm going to dig trenches, dig ditches in faithful service unto the Lord, knowing.
He will reward first Corinthians.
Chapter 15 tells us to be steadfast and immovable and abounding in the work of the Lord.
Because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain, your labor and the Lord is not in vain.
#6 dig trenches for healing.
Now I threw this one in here, not so much that it's a spiritual discipline, but to help us imagine more than just kind of the traditional things that we might think about as spiritual disciplines when it comes to healing in our lives.
Thus says the Lord, make this valley full.
That perhaps God wants to work a work of healing.
In your life in my life, in some way in some capacity.
We should understand that perhaps in preparation for that, there's some ditch is to be dug.
Here's what Paul told Timothy in first Timothy Chapter 5, verse 23.
No longer drink only water.
But use a little wine for your stomach sake and your frequent infirmities.
Timothy, you're getting sick a lot.
Maybe you shouldn't just drink water.
Maybe you should take some medicine.
The use of wine here that Paul is suggesting is not, you know, for drunkenness or alcoholism, or anything like that.
Maybe you should just get a buzz and kind of forget about how sick you are.
That's not what he's saying.
Maybe there's some medicinal value here that this wine can provide.
And so for your frequent infirmities.
Please don't don't.
Abstain from that anymore.
Take a little wine.
Medicinally for that.
Timothy, this is a ditch you're going.
To have to dig.
Maybe you need to take your medicine.
You know, sometimes in Christian circles there is a negative perception or a negative idea surrounding medication, and certainly there has been issues and there has been abuses in the past, but we should not take that to the point where now you know it is a lack of faith to take medication.
Sometimes taking medication is exactly the step of faith that we need in order.
To receive the healing that God wants to give to us.
Maybe medication is that trench?
Take that medication faithfully according to the prescription according to the Doctor's orders, so that down the line.
God heals you.
In the midst of that, or through that.
Another way to think about this is what James says in James Chapter 5, verse 14, he says, does anyone among you sick let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord?
Is anybody sick?
I always find this passage intriguing because it doesn't say Rick find out who's sick and go find him, chase him down and then put oil on their head.
Now it says you sick person you call for the elders of the church.
You know what I call that digging trenches?
And so I want to receive a touch from the Lord.
I want to be healed by the Lord.
I want to have God work in this situation.
And so here's my shovel.
Here's you know the the soil that's before me that I need to move out of the way.
I need to ask for prayer.
And invite the elders.
Invite the people of the church to pray for me.
To be anointed in the name.
Of the Lord.
To present my requests before the Lord in that way it's digging a trench for healing again, not necessarily a spiritual discipline, but.
I share it to help us think about the different ways that we interact with the Lord and the different things that the Lord has for us. Here's another 1 #7 dig trenches in endurance.
Endurance, or you could call it perseverance or.
Patience thus says the Lord, make this valley full.
Think about what James said in James chapter one.
Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.
See what James says there, dig trenches in those trials.
Start whistling as you're shoveling out that dirt of pain and agony and difficulty that you're experiencing all the various trials that you're going through.
Count it joy.
Dig a trench.
Count it joy 'cause.
Here's what you know.
The testing of your faith produces patience.
That time of testing is is hollowing out a big cistern in the desert so that God can fill.
That cistern fill your life, your character with patience.
And when patience is spilled, when those trenches are filled.
He says you'll be perfect.
You won't lack anything.
God will fill that ditch that trench that cistern and you'll have everything that you need.
With Joy is like digging ditches.
Even suffering with tears.
God keeps all the tears in the bottle, right? Psalm chapter 56.
None of those tears are lost.
No, no moment of suffering is.
Worthless or useless, it all adds another shovel full out.
So that there can be room for God to work.
Dig trenches in endurance.
Paul says it this way in 2nd Corinthians 4 we don't lose heart.
Our outward man is perishing.
The inward man is being renewed day by day.
Our light affliction is, but for a moment it's working for us.
A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
We're digging trenches here and there's going to be an abundant deluge of flood waters from heaven.
That are far superior.
To these afflictions that we're experiencing.
Well, #8 dig trenches in giving.
Dig trenches in giving.
You know I had to throw this one in.
Thus says the Lord make this valley full of dishes.
There is another discipline.
Of generosity of giving unto the Lord.
That we don't necessarily see immediate results from.
We don't give $20 and then go back and check in a while and go hey look I.
$20 in my wallet now.
Like we don't see the instant results.
It's a walk by faith.
We give unto the Lord as he leads us as he guides us.
With the understanding that he's promised.
Well, Jesus said in Luke Chapter 6 give and it will be given to you good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your bosom.
For with the same measure you.
Use, it will be measured back to you.
Lots of things I could say here of course, but I'm not gonna believe it.
Believe it at this point, but giving and generosity is another way to dig trenches and to honor the Lord and to prepare yourself for the work that God wants to do.
Now, if you hear this and you're looking at point #8 and you're saying well, Jerry's motives are suspect because he's the one who you know.
Gets to receive from the giving.
That's given here, OK?
That's a fair suspicion.
Be generous and give just not here, just direct it somewhere else in the Lord's work and in the Lord's leading like that's that's up to you, that's.
Between you and the Lord.
Don't let that stop you.
From digging trenches and giving.
Because hey, you need to be faithful to dig those trenches so that God can bless you.
At some point in the future now.
I want to.
Share a couple more things. Not quite the same spiritual disciplines, but still exhortations. And in light of all of these things, here's point. #9 dig where God commands.
Thus says the Lord make this valley full of digits for the Israelites.
At that time there was a specific geographic location where God was saying, right here, dig right here.
Now, if the they didn't listen to that and they went somewhere else and dug trenches.
They would not have experienced the same provision that God wanted to provide, right?
They were going to experience the provision as they obeyed God in digging where he told them to dig and and I make this point to say look, not every trench that we dig is filled.
By the Lord.
Because there's a lot of things that we can invest our time in invest great labor with difficulty and we can work really hard at things.
That God hasn't called us.
To and and we must not expect that just because we've invested so much that it's then going to be filled.
And blessed by the Lord.
No, it's digging where God has commanded us where we have that promise of blessing, and so there is the need for us.
And that's why the the first points are those disciplines. These are things that we know God wants us to do, and so we can dig here with confidence. Knowing God's word doesn't return void. God told us we should pray and not lose.
Heart and keep on praying right like God told us to to practice these things and to do these things diligently.
But there's also a lot of areas of our lives, and a lot of things that we can invest time and effort into.
That God hasn't commanded us.
And so we must not have that same expectation.
The reality is, some people spend their whole life.
Investing greatly sacrificing huge sacrifices.
Digging trenches that God hasn't called them to dig and end up with nothing.
Not only in this life, but in eternity because they've put all of this effort and attention.
And something that God hasn't called them to.
So we need to go back to.
Making sure that we hear from the Lord making sure.
That we're investing ourselves and the things that God wants us to invest ourselves in.
That we're not just pursuing our dreams and chasing after what we want.
That we're pursuing God's will and his direction for our lives.
Well, number 10 to consider this evening dig when you don't feel like it.
Nate alluded to this a little bit in the.
Times of worship but.
We need to dig.
These trenches dig these ditches.
Even when it's not the ideal time for digging.
The ideal time for digging is not when you're thirsty.
And if you don't believe me.
Just wait a couple months till it's summer out and wait until you've not had anything to drink for a few hours.
And you get a little.
Parts in your mouth and then just go out back and try to dig some ditches like you'll understand really quickly, you're going to feel terrible.
You're going to be dehydrated.
It's going to be exhausting and there's great effort involved in great determination required.
It's like in, you know, Survivor always liked the the challenges in survivor.
Where it was just like just pure grit pure will like just hold.
Onto this bar.
And it didn't matter if you were like this, you know, young skinny person or there's old fat person like it wasn't so much about your weight.
It was about.
Can you convince yourself to just hold on longer than anybody else?
And it was just pure determination, right?
What was I saying, what?
What am I talking about here I got?
A little bit distracted dig.
When you don't feel like it.
That even when you don't want to, even when it's there's, there's no immediate reward.
You can't see results.
Be determined like that and just keep digging and maybe you know, seeing like Dory, if you need to just keep digging.
Just keep digging right.
Just keep digging, digging deep.
Understanding every time I read the Bible, God is doing something in me every time.
Like, think about that like you have the the ability to like make an extra way for God to work in your life.
Every time you read the Bible, it might feel like just dust in the wilderness.
It might feel awful.
You don't feel like it.
But every time I read the Bible, God is doing something in me.
Every time I pray.
It's another sub before.
And God is doing a work every time I fellowship and attend service.
God is doing a work every time I give.
God is doing a work.
Even when you don't feel like it.
Because the reward that comes later.
Will be worth it.
Pastor John Courson says if the Israelites had only scratched the ground, that's all the water they would have received.
The more you dig, the more, the more you'll get.
Sometimes it's just plain hard.
Work, but whether it's Bible, study, ministry or prayer, you've got to dig the ditch first.
Then the Lord will fill it in due time.
May God help us to be those who dig in and prepare for mighty miracles.
May God help us to be those who dig ditches even when we don't feel like it.
But that we.
Seek the Lord and pursue the Lord, and are faithful to the Lord.
Even when we don't feel like it well, the last point #11. I think that's enough for one night, don't you think?
Dig a little extra.
The Lord said, make this valley full of dishes and again that word dishes it's ditches, ditches make this valley dishes of dishes have dishes that have dishes in their dishes that that their trenches have trenches in their trenches, that that there's depth.
And and there's multitudes of reservoirs cisterns.
For God to fill.
And so I showed this to say, look.
Perhaps you have been spending time?
In the world you've been digging some trenches.
I would encourage you to consider, but maybe I need to add another.
Extra shovel full.
Maybe I need to come at a different angle?
Maybe I need to go deep in a new way, or maybe dig in a new direction that that maybe there's a little bit of a change up that God wants to do.
In the digging of trenches.
To enable you to receive to a greater degree his work.
In your life.
And so I would encourage you to consider that again as we close out this.
Year and head into the New Year.
Maybe God does want you to change things up in your spiritual disciplines in your walk with him.
And maybe there's opportunity for you to invest a little bit more in your relationship with the Lord.
With the understanding and the promise.
It will not go unnoticed.
It won't go under.
But it increases your capacity to receive from the Lord.
When you do that.
Pastor David Guzik says the measure of water available to these thirsty men was directly connected to how faithful they were to.
Dig the ditch is.
The more ditch is, and the bigger the ditch is, the more water was provided, though it was hard and unpleasant work, the more they did, the more blessing they received.
The more they did, the more blessing they received.
Listen, God wants to work in our lives.
He wants us to know him.
He wants to reveal himself.
He wants to do new things and fresh things and.
He calls us.
To trust him with that to have faith.
And believe that when.
We dig where he calls us to dig.
When we invest where he calls us to invest, when we spend our time, our energy, our attention and our focus on him.
He rewards those who diligently seek him.
Second Kings Chapter 4 tomorrow's reading has a parallel illustration, with the widow and God is going to provide her with unlimited oil.
For as many containers as she gathered in advance.
It's not unlimited oil, and then she had unlimited opportunity to get more containers, but he tells her go get containers and then the oil was just the right amount for.
The containers that she gathered.
If she gathered little, she would have had a little oil.
If she gathered a lot, she would have a lot oil she gathered, gathered even more.
She would have had.
Even more oil.
Right in a similar way God is saying you have opportunity.
You get to say every one of us.
Have input into how well we know the Lord.
We get the opportunity to say.
How developed we are going to be?
How mature we're going to be in our relationship with Jesus.
Every one of us is as filled with the Holy Spirit as we choose to be.
Every one of us knows God as much as we choose to know God.
We all we all get the opportunity.
We know God and how much he's working.
In our lives, we don't get to decide his will right, but but we do get to decide to the extent that.
We experience his will.
But it's not after the fact it's not after.
God reveals his will and then we decide.
Yeah, I'll take.
Some of that.
It's in advance.
It's faith trusting God.
He will reward those who.
Diligently seek him.
And putting in that effort that time, now I want to share one last thing.
There's another usage of this word for ditch in the scriptures that I think is important.
It's found in Psalm Chapter 7.
Verse 14 and 15, it says, behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity.
Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.
He made a pit and dug it out, and has fallen into the ditch.
Which he made.
And I share that to say, listen whether you're involved in spiritual disciplines or not, you're digging, ditches, you're digging trenches, and you're either digging trenches of the Lord for God to fill according to his word.
And according to his promises in the future, or you're digging trenches.
For you to fall into.
Digging trenches in the things that are not of the Lord that will come back to haunt you.
That will trap you.
That will hurt you and harm you.
Either way, we're digging trenches.
And so, which way do we want to dig?
Which kind of experience do we want to have falling into the ditch that we dug?
In the sense of harm or receiving from the Lord, and overflowing and overwhelming abundance from him in those ditches that we dug in seeking him, he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
So let's do that, Lord, I pray that you would incline our hearts towards yours.
That you would teach us Lord to trust you.
Give us Lord great faith, strengthen our faith, Lord, that we would be able to be steadfast.
And the digging that you've called us too, and so in.
All of these areas.
And perhaps Lord, there's other areas that you're also stirring up in our lives and things that you're calling us too.
And maybe there's great challenge.
And maybe there's.
Not immediate reward but Lord, I pray that you.
Would help us.
To believe you at your word, to follow your instruction.
To do what you call us to do and dig those trenches.
Lord, that we might enable.
Your blessing, your work, and your miraculous power to be manifested in US and through us.
We pray this in Jesus name.