Long Obedience in the same direction: Chase the Lion

Message: Long Obedience in the same direction

Text: 2 Samuel 23:13-17 

Big Idea of the Message: “In the grand scheme of God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will, eternal gain infinitely offsets earthly pain.”

In our pursuit to chase our God given dream, our 500 pounds lion we will encounter opposition, failure, disappointments and unanswered prayers. 

What can we learn from this encounter to help us see beyond our situation.

1. Their ears were attentive to their master’s voice

2 Samuel 23:15 ESV And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!”

What is so special with the water from the well of Bethlehem? Is there no water available close by that he longs for the water that will require to break into the enemy camp? David was thirsty because Harvest time indicates that the weather was dry and hot. Did the three argue about what they heard? What is important is that they heard clearly what their leader desire and acted on it without being commanded.

 

In the same way our Ears must be Attentive to the Voice of GOD.

God speaks through His written Word. The author of the Word is the Holy Spirit.

John 14:26 (ESV) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit is the author and interpreter of the Word. Apart from Him it will only be head knowledge - information.

To help us see beyond the situation we need to train our ears to be attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. We need to tune into the frequency to listen to particular radio station, we need to know the right TV channel to watch a particular program.

We live in a media saturated society. Almost all of them call our attention and ask for our obedience. The sad and disheartening message we always hear is focus on self, self-help, how to better self, how to be a better me, improving me, get me rich quickly, its all about personal welfare and satisfaction. Last 2015, Facebook had around 1.5B Monthly Active users and by today almost a third of the earth’s population will be on Facebook.

We have competing voices that grab our attention and our heart.

1 John 2:15–17 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

 

The world and all it’s wanting is passing away but whoever does the will of God abides forever. There are only two ways to prove whether God is saying the truth or not. Do the will of God or not. But if money, power, influence and appearance will people happy, why is it that we people who are in these category commit suicide, kill others, steal, and suppress justice? Why, because the Bible declares that this world along with its desire is passing away. Who lives forever? those who does the will of God.

We need to tune our ears daily to The Voice of Truth - The holy Spirit. How do we know that we are in tune with what the Spirit say? How do we tune our ears to the Voice of Truth?

Make the Word the authority of your life

2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The Bible is not a self-help book, it is far superior than Google, it is not a book of suggestions and saying. It’s God’s Word.

Hebrews 4:12 ESV For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Get into the Word and let the Word get into you. If the Word is absent in your heart the Holy has nothing to remind you.

Psalm 119:9–11 ESV How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Hebrews 3:7–8 (ESV) Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,

Ephesians 4:30 (ESV) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

“We live in a culture that idolizes success and demonizes failure. But in God’s kingdom the outcome isn’t the issue. Success isn’t winning or losing; it’s obeying” Long obedience in the same direction. 

Obedience earns compound interest. Overtime it’s called faithfulness. And there is a cumulative effect. Eventually the blessings of God will overtake you. God’s word does not return void. He is watching over His word to perform it. And he who began a good work will carry it to completion.

2. They were willing to take a greater risk

2 Samuel 23:16 ESV

Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord

Obedience require taking risk, a greater risk. These men were used to taking risk. They could have gone some place to get the water and pretend they got in from the well of Bethlehem but they didn’t. Doing what it right has it’s consequences. Bethlehem is around 20km from the cave of Adullam. Add to that their enemy is camp out in the area where the well is. Think about it, does it make sense for them to risk their lives just to quench the thirst of their leader? For us it may not make any sense but for them it is important because it’s for the leader.

People risk their lives for different reasons. Many people die for what they believe. Many people sacrifice everything even for wrong reasons. It shames me to see those people who knock door to door giving our literature about their faith, who stand in the street corner with their literature stand bearing the heat or cold just to get their message across. How about us who knows the truth? Are you willing to do the same?

To take a greater risk for the Master’s sake.

We too must be willing to take risk, a greater risk. 

Obedience to the voice of God, Obedience to God’s will entails risk.

Philippians 1:29 (ESV) For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

1 Peter 4:16 (ESV) Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.  

There is a high cost in obeying God’s will.

Matthew 10:37–38 (ESV) 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Philippians 3:8 (ESV) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

Taking a greater risk to do God’s will is not a blind leap into darkness. Our faith must be grounded on who God is.

When called Abraham, Noah, Moses and the many men and women both in the past in present to do His will, it was not a blind leap of faith.

What do you need to do make your dream happen? Maybe it’s taking that first step of faith or burning some bridges behind you.

When we operate in faith, we aren’t risking our reputation. We’re risking God’s refutation! And God can handle himself just fine, thank you. But if God has called you and you doubted, you aren’t really doubting yourself. You’re doubting God. 

God doesn’t call the qualified. God qualifies the called.

1 Corinthians 1:26–27 (ESV) For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

Faith is taking the first step before God reveals the second step. Faith is unlearning your fears until all that’s left us the fear of God.

God doesn’t always call us to win. Sometimes He just calls us to try. Either way, it’s obedience that glorifies God. When you fail, You don’t start over everyday; you build on the day before. We build on what the Lord has done. We dare not sidelines God’s work. Delayed obedience: Don’t put off till tomorrow what God has called you to do today. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Seize the day!

3. They work as a TEAM.

2 Samuel 23:16 ESV Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord

We have come to know the individual exploits of these men. Anyone of them could have gone and got the water for their leader. But why the three of them? Are they trying to gain his favour? Get ahead of their ranking? The only obvious reason we can from the text is it’s for their leader. Regardless of their ranking and ability they were united in doing one thing, “quench the thirst of their leader”.

It should also be true to us as a church:

We are one body

1 Corinthians 12:12 (ESV) For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

Romans 12:4–5 (ESV) For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

We use our gifts to serve one purpose - God’s

Romans 12:6–8 (ESV) Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

In this church there is one one Superstar (capital S). His name is Jesus Christ not Jun or.... There is only the Great Shepherd and His name is Jesus Christ. There is only one Head and his name is Jesus Christ! 

Are you getting this? The only way we can accomplish God’s agenda is TOGETHER as a TEAM. I don’t have any agenda being here other than God’s agenda. And I hope that your only agenda is also God’s agenda.

We might not be able to accomplish what we dream off in our lifetime but rest assured that God is in control.

The last of Revelation gives us hope:

“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”

Discussion Questions:

1.           What does it mean to put the eternal over the earthly?

2.          Why do faithful Christians suffer?

3.          How will our prayers be answered in heaven, even if they are not answered on earth?

4.          How have you seen God use suffering for His good?

5.          How can I pray for you?