VN520513 6-11-17 Doyle
Today it seems like it’s just a theme with God lately. Even again today, I ran across this and last week and the week before that, so I’m going to assume that He is really trying to pound something in my head and you guys are just tortured having to listen to this. “Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.” Yep, we’re supposed to talk about everything He does for us. “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders.” Brag about Him. “Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.” There’s different places in the scripture where it says do not fear, do not fear. He says if we seek the Lord, and remember the Bible says that God is a rewarder of the people who diligently seek for him. Not occasionally, but diligently seek for him. He says let their hearts be glad. “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually. Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth.” God calls us to do this kind of stuff even in times that we’re having difficulties, a rough patch. We’re to speak His marvels and it’s not always easy. I told you before when my mother died I knew that she was going to pass away. The day she passed away that morning God said don’t lose your faith, something is going to happen and I knew that I knew that that’s what was going to happen.
So, the next day the phone rang and all this and I was supposed to be speaking at a church and I called them up and I said listen, I would really rather not and they said we understand, they had somebody, but I couldn’t help but show up over there and they were kind of surprised. I said listen, I really want to talk to the congregation and this is what I sad. I said folks, I came today not because I wanted to speak but because I want you to know and understand that I haven’t given up. Just because I’m going through a rough patch doesn’t mean I’m throwing in the towel. Just because this is a very hard time in my life and the life of my family doesn’t mean that there’s not a God on the throne or that he’s forgotten me. See, right before that, a few months before that, I had the privilege of baptizing my mother in a swimming pool because that was something she wanted me to do and I did that, and I had this confidence and yeah, it was hard and it was rough, but even after I got up and told them this, I was still sitting there going I know that I know, and it’s not always easy, but I know that I know that my mother is gone. She’s not here but she still does exist and she is waiting for me. So, you know, we take our comfort where we can, but through all that there’s been times I’ve shared with other people the things that God has done in my life and we are to recall and remember those things continually.
I’d like to share with you out of the Book of Zechariah and that’s one of the prophets. Zechariah chapter 9 verses 11 and 12. Zechariah 9:11-12. “As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope; this very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you.” As for you also, because of the blood of the covenant, the blood of My covenant with you, I set your prisoners free from the waterless pt. Did you know that when they arrested Jesus, if you have a chance to go to Jerusalem they’ll take you up on what they call the old city of David if everything works right and the tour guide will take you to the high priest’s home where it stood. They know where it stood and you can see stairs that were once the descending steps from the house, but they’ll take you over and show you, small groups at a time, a cellar or a well, and you go down into it and that was the holding tank that they would have put Jesus in. It’s like we would have as a cellar but there are stairs down into it. That was the prison or the holding place and it’s a waterless pit.
So, when they would deal with Jesus they would hold Him in this pit and yet for us, you see, Jesus took our place in so many different ways and He said because of the blood of My covenant I have set your prisoners free. Jesus was imprisoned at that time in a waterless pit. “Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope.” That’s us. We’ve got a hope because Jesus went to a place where He didn’t have hope, but we have hope and He tells us to return to the stronghold. “This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you.” I will double to you. So, we are to return to the stronghold. When we are in trouble remember Jesus took all of our problems, all of our issues and it doesn’t matter whether it’s physical, mental, people outside, people inside, church troubles, family troubles. Jesus had family troubles. His brothers and sisters actually you can find where they kind of thought he was eh eh when He first started off and then they tried to encourage Him to go down basically to walk into a trap because they wanted to humiliate Him and say see, You’re really not the Messiah. So, He had family issues. The government was after Him. I mean, there were just people who did not like this guy who was walking around doing all this good, so He can identify with us and all of our problems and He tells us I took your place and instead of being out there in all this confusion and all these problems I want you to go to your fortress. I want you to go to your refuge. Right now you are a prisoner who has been set free and I want you to walk away from your bondage and go straight to your God.
You see, God is our fortress and our strength. He is our refuge. He is the place that we are to turn to. Now I can’t physically go knock on a door and open it up and say well, this is God and I’m going to step inside here. We are to understand that He said I am there to protect you, I am there to be a fortress, I am there to walk with you all the way through this and God is our fortress. So, He tells us even as we go through physical pain you keep turning to Me because Jesus is the great physician and He went through physical pain so that He could bring us through that also. There are examples of these kinds of people in the Bible. I’m not one of them, but one of the big examples is Joseph. Joseph was up there minding his own business. He had some dreams. He had this revelation from God which is still the Word of God revealed to him. The Word of God is revealed to us every time we read the scripture and we contemplate it. That is the Word of our God and it’s revealed to us and we are just like Joseph at that point, and when He tells us this is the way it is whether it seems that way or not it doesn’t matter, that’s the way it is. Joseph told his brothers and his father these are the dreams that I had and the brothers did not like it so they were going to kill him and then they decided, because of Reuben, to lower him down into a waterless pit, and while he was down there they decided well, we need to just sell him off into slavery and get rid of him that way and they did. We know that he went down to Egypt.
Somewhere along the line or maybe from the very get-go he trusted in the Word of God. Even though he was in a place of misery and discomfort, and even though he was being sold off he still said there is a God. God has made me promises and I’m going to trust His Word and I’m going to trust in His mercy. I’m going to trust in God and I’m going to trust in His mercy. Years came, years went and it wasn’t a quick fix that happened. A lot of times we think well, everything in the Bible because here it is it tells us a story and either the next side of the page or the next page over it tells us the resolution of the story, but we know it took awhile between the time that he got dumped in to the time that he ended up in Egypt. That’s a trip. Then he gets sold off and that would have been an uncomfortable and an embarrassing situation, because you would be auctioned off as though you were cattle. They could walk up and check your teeth and see if you had any physical flaws, or mental flaws. They could ask you all sorts of questions and if you didn’t comply the slave guy could beat you. You didn’t know who was going to buy you, and once they bought you they could do anything they wanted with you because you were nothing more than just livestock, and there he was and at that point it says that he prospered. God was blessing him because even in this situation he had trusted God and he took God as his personal fortress. He was trusting in God’s mercy.
Then we know he went to Potiphar there. He rose through the ranks until he became second in command under Potiphar so that would have probably taken a couple of years. Then after that he was thrown in prison. We know that took a couple years, maybe longer. Finally he gets out of prison. He goes to work for Pharaoh and rises immediately right to the top. That was not a quick transition from oh, look at me, I’m in a waterless pit to look at me, I’m on top of the world. King David had a situation too, one of his own making. Remember he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Bathsheba was going to have a baby. He made sure that her real husband died. He set the situation up. Then he got called on it and God said this child isn’t going to live. We know that he started praying and praying and praying and pleading I should say. Pleading and pleading and pleading and pleading for the life of the child but he died. The child died. The servants to him didn’t want to come and knock on his door and say David, your son passed away but finally they came to him and they said okay. He said what’s going on and they said your son passed away. Then we read where it says that he got up, washed himself off and he worshipped the Lord and he trusted in God’s mercy.
Then God blessed him later with another son called Solomon who the last I heard, the last time I heard somebody run the numbers is still, I don’t know how to say this, he would still rank as the richest man on the face of the earth. He was that wealthy that even by today’s standards he was richer than anybody else that is on the face of the earth today, but at that time he trusted in God. He sought the mercies of God and he went to the refuge of God and waited patiently for God to take care of the situation even though it was his own fault. There’s another guy that we don’t often hear about because we’re not catholic, but years and years and years and centuries ago, centuries and centuries is this man, a young man, probably might have been 12, 13 years old. He lived in Brittain. Rome was falling. The Roman Empire was falling apart. He lived in Brittain. He lived a good life. He had a Roman background. One day some mean old Irish showed up and kidnapped that kid and took him across over to Ireland and they made him a slave and mistreated him and basically said you’re to take care of this flock of sheep out here and it’s your responsibility to make sure those sheep are fed and watered and protected, and we don’t care about you. You have to find your own food, your own clothing and your own water. You take care of yourself and we hold you responsible for these sheep.
His parents had been Christian. This is true. This is his own testimony and it’s not argued about. The stories we hear it’s like you’re supposed to drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day and he would pick a clover and proclaim the trinity of God. Those things were add-ons later. I think those were there added on by Satan in order to derail the truth of St. Patrick. He did not clear Ireland out of all the snakes that were on the island, but after he got captured and was put out there in the fields and he was like in the middle of Ireland, the middle of that island he started praying and he turned to the God of his parents and started praying. His own testimony said I prayed 100 prayers a day, and then I gathered the sheep in at night, and then I would pray another 100 prayers at night and I called out to God. For six years this kid was out there in the dews and the dampness without protection making sure that everything was taken care of and if it wasn’t they would kill him. He was easily replaced. He had these hard six years and he was there one day and he was praying and he heard God speak to him and He said your hungers have not gone unnoticed. Your ship awaits you, and this is in his own writing. This is in the events of his life.
He says he got up and started walking. He is in the middle of the big island and he starts walking toward the ocean. He is dressed. Actually he probably had no clothes whatsoever unless he made them himself so he would have been easily identified as a slave and he starts just walking and he goes for like 200 miles walking as far as he knows toward the ocean. It doesn’t matter which way he would have went he would have went to the ocean, but the way he chose he walked and he walked and he walked. Day after day he walked and he said I knew God was with me because God told me that my ship awaited me and all I had to do was go to the coast and my ship would be there, and he said no one stopped me, no one arrested me, no one hunted me down, no one cared. I walked all the way to the coast and when I got to the coast there was a ship sitting right there and he said yes, and he went up to the people and he said I need a ride on your ship and they said are you crazy? You’re a runaway slave. They’d come here and get us. He said hmm, and he turned and he walked away and as he was walking away he’s going God, You told me my ship is waiting, literally waiting on me and when I get there my ship would be waiting for me, and about that time he heard this guy yell out hey, get over here right now. We’re shoving off, get on the boat, and he gets on the boat and they sail off and that’s how St. Patrick escaped Ireland.
He goes home and he meets his family and they’re glad to see him, they don’t ever want him to leave, but he’s missed all these years of education so he decides to hop on another boat and he goes to the continent and he joins a monastery or a teaching place and he studies the Word of God and he studies theology, and as time goes by he’s studying and studying and he becomes a bishop and he is the first recorded bishop missionary. He didn’t have a country. All they said was you are now a bishop, go find a place, and God told him, he says this, God told me to return home again. He goes to Brittain and he says this isn’t it and he jumps a boat and he goes to Ireland. During that man’s lifetime he pulls off something that is so unusual. During his lifetime he spoke to the people of Ireland and they converted. These were wild crazy men. Everything you hear about, wild, wooly, crazy men, and he spoke to them about the love of God and he spoke to them about the sins that they had. I mean, if you research this you’ll find out how amazing all this was and how what they had believed and what they were waiting for he was coming there and he was proclaiming. So, this goes on and on and finally by the time he passes away the whole country of Ireland has turned to Jesus Christ and they are trusting in Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Granted as time goes by they become Catholic, but that’s all there was at that time was the Catholic church unless you went to the Greek side of the old Roman Empire and became what was known as the orthodox, but St. Patrick was a real honest to goodness believing Christian. He wasn’t a green beer drinking, grazing in the grass, and driving out snakes, man. He was a man who stood up and witnessed to kings, he witnessed to the poor people, and they converted in groves until he had passed away. The entire nation was actually Christian. That whole process took years. We can talk about Moses and the process he went through and it took years. I’m saying all that to get us to this point right here. The same God that called Moses, called David, the same God that called St. Patrick is the same God who calls us. The very same God who sought us out is the God that sought them out. I’d like to read to you Isaiah chapter 61 verses 7-8. Isaiah 61:7-8. “Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense and make an everlasting covenant with them.” The same God that said all that is the same God that called these people. He called them and it was a blood covenant.
Jesus Christ Himself the night that He died and was arrested and put into that, and if you see, it looks like a cistern if you see it open. You guys remember an old cistern. I do. My grandparents had one and it would be white plaster on the inside. I walked over and I said that’s a cistern and that’s where Jesus was. He was put in a waterless pit. The same night that He was arrested and put in that waterless pit is the same night that He said to His disciples, take this cup and drink, for it is the blood of My covenant that I make with you. It is a blood covenant that He made with us. This is what He is talking about. We are the called of God at this point. No matter what’s going on in our lives, no matter what difficulties we have faced or the difficulties we’re going to face, and I don’t like difficulties, I like the good times better, I enjoy them a lot more, but at those difficult times He said that is the time to quit your fussing, your fuming, your fighting and instead be like David and worship the Lord and say God, You are great and You are worthy. You’re tremendous. I remember the times in my past when You have done certain things in my life that are truly outstanding and I know that You are the same God and You do not change. I’m trusting You at this point. Go to that refuge and say I am now seeking Your refuge. I am now seeking You as my fortress. I am under that everlasting blood covenant and I’m sitting here waiting for Your mercy.
Mercy is something we do not deserve and yet He gives it to us anyway. I am sitting here in this fortress. I am asking You to continue to protect me. Now both the Isaiah passage and the Zechariah passage both said that God would bless these people with a double portion. They’re both under the time of the Mosaic covenant and we’ve talked about that contract, the Mosaic contract. So, you could say well, that’s only under that Mosaic contract. There was another guy and his name was Job and we’ve all heard of him. We know about the rough patch he went through. He didn’t just lose his mother, he lost his entire family other than his wife. He lost all of his sheep, his camels, his donkeys, his servants. He lost everything he owned and then his good friends came by and sat down with him and talked to him and told him he was wrong, he was a sinner and on and on and on. Job lived way before Moses. He lived after Noah but before Moses and God said after all this time that he went through his suffering and kept calling out to God, God blessed him and said he got double of everything. Now, I realize, if you read it you’ll find out he had 10 kids and when this is all over with he had 10 more kids. You say why didn’t he have 20 kids? Because, you see, the first 10 kids he didn’t lose. They went to heaven.
They did pass away from this earth but they passed into the presence of God and he knew that they were waiting for him up there because they had trusted in God and they had been making the sacrifices that were expected at that time. He had been making the sacrifices that were expected at that time and he had trust in the Lord God and he knew that those kids were up there so he got double the kids because he got 10 more while he was here on the earth. So, God has a pattern established and He is consistent with that pattern so it seems like if we go through these kinds of struggles, and I’m not saying you’re going to have extra kids, I’m just saying that when you go through the incident and it seems like all of life has turned against you and you’ve lost all hope, all joy and maybe even possessions, your job, your health and you go on and it seems like everything is really, really rough against you turn to Him and say God, I worship You because You are my God. It’s rough but I turn to You. I’m calling upon You to be my refuge, to be my fortress, and I’m waiting for you to show me mercy.
We are to quit struggling. We’re to quit having a pity party. We’re to quit focusing on all the stuff that’s wrong. We are to choose, notice that word, we are to choose to worship God and remember His great things to us. We are to choose to make Him our fortress. We are to choose to make Him our refuge. We are to choose to trust in His mercy. We are to trust in His mercy and if you will re-read the passages I gave you today it says that He will free us, He will free the prisoners, that He will bless us and because of that double portion He will bless us again. We’ve got to choose to worship, we’ve got to choose to seek the refuge and the fortress, we’ve got to choose to trust in His mercy and He will free us, He will bless us, and then He will bless us again.
Shall we pray? Father,You are a great and mighty God and You have blessed this church in so many different ways. You have blessed us individually in so many different ways. Father, I praise You and thank You for all those, all those blessings and the blessings again and I realize that some of us are in rough places and some of us might be headed for those rough places but, God, at this time we choose to worship You. You are great. You are worthy of our trust. You are all powerful. You cause us to stand in awe and, Father, we’re waiting for that mercy to fall upon us like dew from heaven. We’re waiting for that mercy and that place of renewal. We’re waiting for You to deal with those people who have come against us, against those people who are causing us difficult situations or the health issues that we’re going through. We’re waiting for You to use the doctors, to use whatever. We don’t care how You do it but we’re waiting for You to show us those kind of mercies. Father, and then after You do that we have this hope and anticipation of seeing that second blessing come through on our life so we can brag even more about how great our God is. All glory and honor to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.