Tag Archives: Deuteronomy 4:29

Battling Defeat, Exile, And Judgment

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Battling Defeat, Exile, And Judgment

Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

The people of Israel and Judah had abandoned God by their unfaithfulness. They were dishonest and disloyal to God, they had not kept their promises to God and they had neglected their duties to Him. To top it off, they withdrew their fellowship with God.

Jeremiah 2:4-8 NKJV

“Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “What injustice have your fathers found in Me, That they have gone far from Me, Have followed idols, And have become idolaters? Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and pits, Through a land of drought and the shadow of death, Through a land that no one crossed And where no one dwelt?’ I brought you into a bountiful country, To eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me; The prophets prophesied by Baal, And walked after things that do not profit.”

 

Jeremiah 2:19 NKJV

“Your own wickedness will correct you, And your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing That you have forsaken the Lord your God, And the fear of Me is not in you,” Says the Lord GOD of hosts.”

Israel and Judah’s unfaithfulness caused God to withdraw His protection and support from them. The result was defeat, exile, and judgment. Despite Jeremiah’s pleading and all of the warnings the people would not turn back to God.

Jeremiah 3:6-10 NKJV

“The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.”

Jeremiah 5:22-25 NKJV

“Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it. But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed. They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” Your iniquities have turned these things away, And your sins have withheld good from you.”

Defeat, Exile, and Judgment

Defeat takes on many different faces and has many different facets in your life. In First Samuel chanter four, we are shown one example of how abandoning God will lead to your defeat.

1 Samuel 4:1-11 NKJV

“..Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. Then the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field. And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!” So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.”

Eli was unfaithful to God by neglecting his duty as a father and as the high priest. He knew that his sons were evil and vile, however he did nothing to correct them. He allowed his sons to continue in their sin, even while performing their duties as priest.

Defeat can be failure to realize a goal that God has for you or it can be your enemy gaining a victory over you.

1 Samuel 4:3 NKJV

“And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.”

Israel began to be like all the heathen people around them. Their plan was to take the ark of the covenant into battle with them. They had began to view the ark of the covenant superstitiously – they began to worship the object rather than the One that the object represented, God Himself. The presence of the ark gave the people a false sense of security.

1 Samuel 4:5 NKJV

“And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.”

The Philistines defeated Israel in the battle, despite the ark of the covenant being with them. Many men died in the battle and those left alive fled the battle.

1 Samuel 4:10 NKJV

“So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.”

The defeat was so great that the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines.

1 Samuel 4:17 NKJV

“So the messenger answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”

Abandoning God will lead to a separation from His presence.

Romans 3:23 NKJV

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

When we are separated (exiled) from God’s presence we cannot experience His many blessings for us. God does not leave us – by our sin we voluntary leave His presence. God did not turn His back on Israel, they turned their backs on Him. Abandoning God will ultimately lead to your judgment. Instead of God’s protection and blessings you will receive His punishment.

Overcoming Defeat, Exile, And Judgment

It is God’s desire to do good for His people and to shower them with blessings, however your sins will cause good to be withheld from you. It will also lead to the enemy gaining the upper hand in your life. We must not abandon or forsake God. And we must not replace Him with other things or people.

Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

The Bible gives us clear instructions for overcoming defeat from the enemy, exile and judgment. In Second Chronicles chapter seven God tells us that when He has withheld blessing and protection from us, because of our unfaithfulness and sin, we should do the following four things: humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from wicked ways.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Humble

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The first thing that we are to do is to humble ourselves. When we are truly humble we will see ourselves as God sees us. That includes seeing our sin for what it is. You can never be forgiven of something that you don’t believe is a sin.

A person that knowingly walks in sin could be considered a person that thinks they are better than God. Instead of being a humble person they become proud.

Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV

“These six things the Lord hates,

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.”

Pride is an abomination (something that causes disgust or hatred ) to God. He will rebuke or resist the proud, but He will give grace to the humble.

Psalm 119:21

“You rebuke the proud—the cursed,

Who stray from Your commandments.”

James 4:6 NKJV

“…God resists the proud,

But gives grace to the humble”

 

Pray

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The second thing that we are instructed to do is to pray. Prayer is simply talking or communicating with God. We are to go to God and express to Him that we are sorry for what we have done (or not done) and that we want to do what is right in His sight. This is referred to as repenting.

Psalm 32:1-5 NKJV

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,

And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old

Through my groaning all the day long.

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.

Selah

I acknowledged my sin to You,

And my iniquity I have not hidden.

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Selah”

God already knows our sin, but we must confess, or admit, it to Him. He knows that sin will lead to eternal death and destruction – that is why He desires for you to see your sin for what it is and to confess it to Him.

1 John 1:9 NKJV

“ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”

Repenting has two parts: feeling remorse that you have sinned against a holy God and turning away from the sin. Repenting is not feeling sorry that your were caught in a sin. Many times a person might be sorry that their sins found them out, but not be sorry that they have sinned against God.

Seek God’s Face

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The third thing that we are to do is to seek God’s face. There is a big difference between seeking God’s face (His presence) and seeking His hand (blessings). We should seek God for who He is, not what we can get out of Him. He is our loving Father, the very creator of the universe, not a magic genie at our beck and call. God loves us and He delights in giving us things, but that should not be our reason for seeking Him. More than anything He wants an intimate relationship with you.

Exodus 33:17-23 NKJV

:So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses had seen God’s hand at work in their lives and he had experienced some wonderful times in God’s presence, but he desired an even greater intimacy with Him. Moses sought God, not what God could do for him. If we will seek God with all our heart and soul we will find Him. He will reveal Himself to us in ways that words cannot adequately describe.

Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

God tells us that if we seek Him with all our heart and soul that we will find Him. One definition of seek is to search. Seeking God is an active endeavor, not passive.

Luke 15:8-10 NKJV

Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

In the parable of the lost coin, a woman has ten coins and she looses one in the house. She lights a lamp and begins to search for the coin. She was very diligent in her search. She swept the entire house in her efforts to find the coin. She was very careful to look underneath things and in the dark corners. The woman valued the coin and she was willing to search until she found it. The same could be said for our search for God’s face. We must open the light of God’s Word and begin our search. We must be diligent in our search. Our effort must be steady and earnest. If we value God’s presence we will not be passive – we will be willing to search with all our heart and with all our soul until He is found.

Turn From Wicked Ways

The fourth thing that we must do is to turn from our wicked ways.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Wicked ways can be described as morally bad actions, directions, or manner. Morals are generally based on what a person or group of people think is right, good or acceptable. And that is where the problem comes in. When the law of God is forsaken and replaced by personal option everything is acceptable.

Proverbs 21:2 NKJV

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”

One thing that has helped in the moral decline of man is the renaming of sin. Instead of calling something a sin, it is now called choice, an alternate lifestyle, or a disorder. We must turn from what man thinks is acceptable and align our beliefs up with God’s Word. We must conform to God’s standards. Lawlessness will prevail when everyone does what is right in their own sight.

 

Dear Father,

Thank-you for Your love and mercy and for the covenant that we have with You. When blessings and protection have been withheld from us because of our unfaithfulness and sin we have the promise that if we humble ourselves, pray, seek Your face, and turn from our wicked ways that You will hear us. You will forgive our sin and You will heal our land.

May we truly humble ourselves and see ourselves as You see us. Remove all pride from us and may we walk humbly before You. Thank-you for the grace that humility brings.

Fill us with a desire for a more vibrant prayer life. Convict us of sin and bad habits in our lives and may we be quick to repent. Thank-you for the eternal life that forgiveness through Jesus Christ brings.

May each of us have an overwhelming desire for more of You and Your presence. Cause us to seek Your face and not only Your hand. Like Moses we have seen Your hand at work in our lives and we had experienced some wonderful times in Your presence, but that is not enough – we long for a more intimate relationship with You. Cause us to seek You, not what You can do for us. Thank-you for the promise that if we will seek You with all our heart and soul we will find You. Reveal Yourself to us in ways that words cannot adequately describe.

May we align our beliefs up with Your Word and may we conform to Your standards. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we do what is right in Your sight not ours.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

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It Is Well – The Shunammite Woman

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desperation - CopyIt Is Well

 

 

2 Kings 4:8-16 NKJV

“Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, ‘Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.’ And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there.Then he said to Gehazi his servant, ‘Call this Shunammite woman.’ When he called her, she stood before him. And he said to him, ‘Say now to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the King or to the commander of the army?’ She answered, ‘I dwell among my own people.’So he said, ‘What then is to be done for her.’ And Gehazi answered, ‘Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.’So he said, ‘Call her.’ When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. Then he said, ‘About this time next year you shall embrace a son.’ And she said, ‘No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!’”

 

 

When you are desperate you should seek God’s promise, believe God’s promise, hold on to God’s promise and rejoice in God’s promise.

 

I. Seek God’s Promise:

 

We have been given a promise for every situation (circumstance) that we face. God already has the answer (promise) even before we know that we have a problem (situation).

 

Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

 

When you seek something you search (hunt) for it. You make an honest attempt to look for it.

 

Psalm 34:10 NKJV

“But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”

 

The Bible is full of the promises of God. It is up to each one of us to read it and search out the promises that God has given us.

 

II. Believe God’s promise:

 

The prophet, Elisha, gave the Shunammite woman a promise under the authority of God. He spoke for God.

 

2 Kings 4:16 NKJV

“Then he said, ‘About this time next year you shall embrace a son.’

 

And she said, ‘No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!’ ”

 

Elisha told the woman that she would have a son within a year. She knew that Elisha was a man of God, a prophet, but she still did not believe in her heart that she would have a child.

 

2 Kings 4:17 NKJV

“But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.”

 

God had promised the Shunammite woman a son (through Elisha) and she had him. God does not lie and He does not take back His promises.

 

Numbers 23:19 NKJV

“God is not a man, that He should lie,

 

Nor a son of man that He should repent.

 

Has He said, and will He not do?

 

Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

 

 

Titus 1:2 NKJV

“In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.”

 

What God says is true and His Word is truth. God is not like us. He does not change. He is always the same and His Word is always the same.

 

Malachi 3:6 NKJV

“For I am the Lord, I do not change”

 

We must place our trust in God and believe in Him and His promises.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

 

And lean not on your own understanding;

 

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

 

And He shall direct your paths.”

 

III. Hold On To God’s Promise:

 

No matter what you see with your eyes or what people say to you concerning your situation, keep your eyes on God and the promise that He has given you. You can be confident that God will finish what He has begun.

 

2 Kings 4:18-20 NKJV

“And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers,

 

And he said to his father, ‘My head, my head!’

 

So he said to a servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’ When he had taken him and brought him

 

to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.”

 

The son that the woman was promised now lay dead in her arms. If she had looked at things through her natural eyes she would have accepted the death of her child. But she knew that God had promised her a son and she knew that her promise was still alive.

 

2 Kings 4:21-23 NKJV

“And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, ‘Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.’ So he said, ‘Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath?’ And she said, ‘It is well.’

 

The woman took her promise that was ‘dead’ and put it in a room where no one would see it and shut the door. She determined that she would go to the man of God on behalf of her ‘dead’ promise.

 

2 Kings 4:32-33 NKJV

“When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord.”

 

Sometimes God gives us a promise and it seems like the promise is ‘dead’. We need to be like the Shunammite woman- we need to shut out the things (and people) that might keep our promise ‘dead’. We must be very careful what we hear and listen to concerning our promise. There is life and death in our words. Every word that comes out of man’s mouth either brings life or it bring death.

 

Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,

 

And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

 

The words we say are very powerful. They will either bless a situation or curse it.

 

James 3:10 NKJV

“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.”

 

By putting the son in the room away from everyone she was protecting her promise from words of death. We too, must hold on to the promise that God has given us and shield it (and ourselves) from negative words and negative people. During these times we must only listen to (and trust in) what God has to say, not man.

 

Psalm 18:30 NKJV

“As for God, His way is perfect;

 

The word of the Lord is proven;

 

He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

 

We serve a God of completion. He never leaves things half done or undone. And He never gives us something just to take it away again!

 

Philippians 1:6 NKJV

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

 

We must not waver in our faith even when we do not see the answer with our eyes.

 

Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of thing not seen.”

 

IV. Rejoice In God’s Promise

 

Psalm 119:162 NKJV

“I rejoice at Your word

 

As one who finds great treasure.”

 

No matter how bad things look or how negative the report is, you should still rejoice. Not at what you are going through, but at the fact that the Lord God Almighty is on your side.

 

Psalm 5:11 NKJV

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;

 

Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;

 

Let those who love Your name

 

Be joyful in You.”

 

We can rejoice in knowing that God will never leave us or forsake.

 

Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

We must be like the Shunammite women and say, “It is well.”

 

2 Kings 4:23 NKJV “…‘It is well.’ ”

 

2 Kings 4:26 NKJV “..‘It is well’ ”

 

Yes, she could see that her son was dead, but she knew the promise that she had been given. And she knew who to go to on behalf of her promise. She knew that the Lord would never leave her or forsake her, and that He was on her side.

 

Conclusion:

When God gives us a promise we must have faith that it will come to pass. There may be times that we think that our promise is dead, and we may be tempted to give up on our promise. During these times we must go directly to God and allow the Holy Spirit hover over our promise and to breath new life into it.

 

2 Kings 4:34-35 NKJV

“And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.”

Rise Above The Crowd – Get Away From It All

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Rise Above The Crowd – Get Away From It All

 

 

Luke 19:1-2  NKJV    

“Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.”

          There are times that you need to get away from everything and seek God’s presence. To seek His direction.  Zacchaeus desired to see Jesus, but there were so many people crowding around. He had to find a way to get Jesus’ attention.

Like Zacchaeus we don’t need to be held back by the crowd. We must not allow our intimate times with God or our times of seeking His face to be crowded  out. Many times, we too, must swallow our pride in order to get God’s attention. We too, must discern where God is moving.

I. Don’t be held back by the crowd:

Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV    

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

           We must seek God first, before things or people. Things and people must never come before God. Our intimate times with God must not be allowed to be crowded out.

Luke 19:3-4  NKJV    

“ And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him for He was going to pass that way.”

          We must not allow people, circumstances, or things to crowd out our time with God. Nor should we allow what man may see as a physical limitation to be an excuse for not seeking God’s face. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus – he wanted (sought) to draw close to Him. Throughout the Bible we see that whenever people truly seek the Lord they find Him.

Matthew 7:7-8  NKJV    

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

          Zacchaeus was determined that he would not be kept away from the Lord by the actions of the crowd. The crowd surrounded Jesus so Zacchaeus decided that he would climb a tree (rise above the crowd) in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus. When we allow our time with God to be crowded out, we are allowing our enemy to push us away from God. Our adversary is very subtle. Many times he doesn’t tempt us with bad, evil or sinful things. All he has to do is keep us so busy with good things (works) that our time with God gets crowed out. It is very subtle- a little at a time until our relationship with God is lukewarm and we are indifferent. God does not desire that our relationship with Him be lukewarm or indifferent.

Revelation 3:15-16  NKJV    

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

          A person that is indifferent to God will have or show no (or little) interest or attention to Him. Eventually their relationship with God will become mediocre.

Psalm 27:4  NKJV    

“One thing I have desired of the Lord,

That will I seek:

That I may

dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord,

And to inquire in His temple.”

          God desires (longs) to spend intimate time alone with each one of us, and that we seek His face with all our heart.

Song of Solomon 7:10  NKJV    

“I am my beloved’s

And his desire is toward me.”

II. Swallow your pride:

We must swallow our pride and do whatever we have to do get the attention of God. Pride is having a high opinion of one’s own worth or possessions; pleasure or satisfaction with oneself; acting as if better than others. Zacchaeus was a rich man and it was probably a very humbling thing for him to have to climb a tree in order to see Jesus. Climbing the tree also was like placing a spotlight on his physical shortcomings (his short height). Pride will always come between you and God (God hates pride) and it will have a negative effect on your relationship with Him.

Proverbs 8:13  NKJV    

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;

Pride and arrogance and the evil way

And the perverse mouth I hate.”

          Naaman’s pride was injured and he became angry when he was given the pathway to his healing. Naaman had to swallow his pride. He humbled himself and followed the prophets instructions.

2 Kings 5:9-11  NKJV    

“Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.’  “But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, ‘Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ ”

          Only after he humbled himself did God cleanse him of leprosy. If Naaman had not swallowed his pride and humbled himself he would have missed out on his healing.

2 Kings 5:14  NKJV    

“So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”

III. Discern where God is moving:

You must run ahead of and climb higher than the crowd.

Luke 19:4-5  NKJV    

“So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ ”

          We must discern (recognize and distinguish) where and in what direction God is moving and align ourselves up with Him. However, we can not discern what God is doing or where He is moving outside of the Holy Spirit. We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit!

1 Corinthians 2:10-12  NKJV    

“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things of God.”

          Only the Holy Spirit can reveal things about God to us. When the Holy Spirit reveals to us where God is moving we must be willing to go in that direction.

Conclusion:

Jesus would go off alone to seek God’s direction and to draw closer to God. Should we not do the same? There are times that the Spirit will draw us away from everyone in order to give us strength for what lies ahead. We must discern where the Holy Spirit is leading us. Prior to Jesus’ ministry the Spirit led Him into the desert by himself.

Matthew 4:1 NKJV    

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

           Spiritual victories are often followed by times where we have been alone seeking the face of God. Also, after a spiritual victory, we need to get alone with God for fresh strength and fresh vision.  After Jesus heard the news about John the Baptist’s death, He went off by himself.

Matthew 14:13  NKJV    

“When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.”

          The people heard where Jesus was and they went to where He was. Jesus was moved with compassion for the people. He healed the sick people then He performed a miracle by feeding over five thousand people from five loaves of bread and two fish. Later, after all the leftovers had been gathered up, Jesus went alone by Himself to pray.

Matthew 14:22-23  NKJV    

Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountains by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.”

          After Jesus’ last Passover meal, He went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray and seek God.

Luke 22:39-41  NKJV    

“Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the p[lace, He said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed”

          Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him to be alone on a mountain after He had taught for six days.

Matthew 17:1-8  NKJV    

“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him! And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’ When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”

          Moses would leave the camp and go to the tabernacle to talk (fellowship) with God, then he would return to the camp. But Joshua stayed behind to be alone with the Lord.

Exodus 33:11  NKJV    

“So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.”

          May the Lord fill each one of us with a desire to get alone with Him.