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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1111

When God is Against You
Part One

January 19, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1111 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: You know, I just shared a simple thought in the prayer meeting on Friday night. I really haven’t been able to get away from it. It seems relevant, especially to me, but I think that I’m not the only one and certainly, this is from Psalm 102. I couldn’t remember where the scripture was Friday night but I did look it up.

And it’s from a Psalm of David and it’s interesting when you remember who this is that’s writing because David was a man after God’s own heart. Israel wanted a king and God gave them Saul and Saul just had his own ideas and lifted up with pride and every time God told him to do something he had a slightly better idea. You know, God said, destroy the Amalekites and don’t bring anything alive and he brought back the sacrifices. He said well, I’ve got a better idea, let’s bring that back and sacrifice it to God. God says He’s more pleased with obedience than He is with sacrifice. And so anyway, He sought a man after His own heart and that man was David.

And David went through an awful lot, didn’t he? He had to go through years of running from Saul—running for his life in all kinds of difficulties, had no place to go at times and learned God’s ways. And you see the crying out side of his heart when he was in trouble but you see the praise and you see the faith that comes through and the sense of dependence upon the faithfulness of God. He never let the dark side of things cloud his vision of who God was.

Now that’s a pretty good lesson for every one of us. Because Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (NIV). So, why should we expect to have a trouble-free world if Jesus said you’re going to? There’s kind of a purpose in it. But God wants us to be able always, at every point, to see past that.

Now I don’t know where this Psalm took place in the timeline of David’s life but he surely was a man who knew a lot about God at this point and yet, at this point in his life he was in trouble and he knew it and he felt it. And he was not only in trouble, he was kind of bellyaching about it. So, can anybody identify with David at this point? Yeah, we all…that’s the way we feel and many times he gave vent to honest emotions. And this was one of those times.

He said, “Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.” You ever feel like that? Oh, God, I need an answer and I want it now! “For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food.” Boy, he’s in serious trouble there.

“Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse. For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears.…” I think if I had ashes in my food I wouldn’t be hungry either.

( laughter ).

“…because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside. My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.” Well, that’s quite a poetic way to say, hey, I don’t feel so good and things aren’t going my way right now and I’m not happy about it and I sure wish you’d do something about it. So that’s where David was at and I suspect one or two of you can probably identify with him, to some degree, with things you’re going through in your life.

But anyway, David goes on and he really is exalting the Lord. He knows that this doesn’t…this isn’t the whole picture, that God is still God. He says, “But you, O LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations.” And he talks about…he says, “You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity. The nations will fear the name of the LORD, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. For the LORD will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. Let this be written for a future generation…” Do you suppose that might include us?

( congregational amens ).

Yeah! “…that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.” So anyway, he goes down and he’s talking about the Lord seeing the needs of people. But the scripture that kind of came back to my mind is verse 23 and it really highlights a truth that I think it would do well for every one of us to understand in a slightly deeper way than perhaps we do.

We all understand, at least intellectually, that we’re weak and we need His strength, don’t we? It’s not so easy to translate that into daily living and really reacting with an understanding heart and truly coming to depend upon Him. But here’s the thing that David says in the course of his prayer. In the NIV it says, “In the course of my life he broke my strength.”

Now put that in your pipe and smoke it. That kind of throws a monkey wrench into a whole lot of people’s idea about God. What is it…I think in the King James it’s something like, “He weakened my strength in the way.” (KJV). In other words, I was going along trying to do right, trying to work things out and trying to cope with situations. He weakened my strength.

Think about what he’s saying there. Not only is the devil against me, not only are circumstances and people against me, God, you’re against me. What’s going on here? I don’t get this. But do you know this is part of the truth that we need to understand? What is it that God broke in the NIV translation of this? What is it that he says God broke?

( congregational response ).

Whose strength?

( congregational response ).

My strength. You see, that’s the key to this whole thing. You know, that’s our problem. We absolutely operate in our own strength. You know, I saw a rather funny cartoon the other day. The best cartoons that I like are the ones that just portray the foibles of human nature in an amusing way and they make you laugh and you’re really laughing at yourself.

( laughter ).

Because you know, yeah, that’s right. That’s me. Or, that’s somebody I know or whatever. But there’s one cartoon about a teenager—teenage boy, and boy do they go to the nth degree to show, to portray a lot of things about teenagers. And I think, in the picture, the boy was sort of laying all over a chair, as boys sometimes do, and his dad comes up behind him and sees he’s about to send some rather silly…well I won’t characterize it completely but anyway, he’s about to send something out over his phone that is not rather nice and his father says, son, that’s rude and stupid. You’re gonna send that out? And he rolls his head back and says, dad, I’m sixteen, rude and stupid is my default setting!

( laughter ).

Well, whether or not that’s true or not, but you see how readily we laugh at something because we know there’s an awful lot of truth in that. But the thing is, going by our own strength is our default setting and if God is going to change us He cannot simply help us to exercise our own strength to get things done. He’d be working against Himself.

My God, listen to the letters you heard this morning. You go out into the church world, what do you hear? In many places it’s very hard to distinguish what you hear from the self-help positive thinking crowd that’s out there and it’s almost like God believes in your dreams and what He wants to do is to help you realize your dreams if you will only focus your efforts and believe strong enough and really engage yourself you can go out and do great things. Well, I’ve got news for the folks that think that way. God has His own dreams.

Now it’s one thing if He truly gives somebody a vision from heaven. I’m not talking about that. I mean, there’s really something from heaven. But then, it’s not going to be oh, boy, let’s get a committee. Let’s work hard. Let’s do it in the energy of human ingenuity and strength. It’s oh, God, this is way beyond anything I could ever do. I just cast myself upon you. Show me what to do. I’m helpless here. It’s an entirely different spirit.

But my God, there is so much in religion that men have—where men employ the means of men. They employ the ways of the world. They employ the ways of Madison Avenue and advertising and my God, there’s so many ways and you can build up something that looks great in the eyes of men and it’s done with human energy and human…it’s something that appeals to the natural man and you’re gonna build…you’re gonna do something that’s great.

How much of that do you think is going to survive on Judgment Day? Oh, my! You think about the people that Jesus spoke of when He said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord…” Haven’t I done all these wonderful things? I’ve cast out devils in your name. Lord I’ve done great and wonderful…built up wonderful works in your name Lord! And He’s going to say, depart from me you workers of iniquity. I never knew you.

That was just religious people operating in their own zeal and their own strength. Man they’re gonna…they’re excited about something. They’ve heard something about God and they get excited and man, they’re gonna gear every ounce of their human ability to do something in the energy of the flesh. Oh, my! If we’re gonna ever be anything for God, God’s gonna have to do something.

( congregational amens ).

God’s gonna have to break this default setting that we everyone of us have. How many of you know what I’m talking about?

( congregational amens ).

You’re in the middle of a situation and you’re struggling. You’re saying, Lord, I’m trying as hard as I can. I’m just…oh, God, help me out here and all of a sudden it gets worse. You get sick, you break a bone, something happens. And all of a sudden the situation becomes much, much worse and you’re weakened and you can’t and you just don’t have any…you’re run out of gas completely sometimes.

Oh, I’ll tell you. Do you know God loves…God’s love is shown in bringing us to that place where we totally run out of gas? Because His end game is not to squash us like bugs and cause us to feel like dirt. His end game is to lift us up into a much higher place. But oh, all that human energy, all that strength, all that zeal that we muster up—we’re gonna do great things for God. We found the formula. We’re gonna apply it everywhere. Oh, my God! We just need Him!

( congregational amens ).

And I’ll tell you, He has ways of reminding us. I thought of…well, several things we’re familiar with. You all know the story of Gideon. Surely everybody has heard that. How God raised up this man who had no idea. He was just minding his own business and an Angel comes up and said, hail oh mighty man of valor. Anyway, who me?

But anyway, after putting to the Lord to a lot of different tests to really prove, hey, is this really God? God honored even that. Because I believe there was something in him that wanted to do and he just wanted some assurance oh, my God is this really you? It wasn’t like I just don’t really believe it. This is oh, God, I want to believe it. But I’m just…help me out here. And so the Lord answered the weakness that was in him.

But he sent out the word to all Israel to come. Midian has been oppressing us for years now. Let’s gather to battle. God is going to give us a victory. And 32,000 people showed up and the Lord said, it’s too many. And so he stood there and he said, everybody that’s afraid go home. Well, 22,000 people went home, ten thousand are left. But what was the deal? The Lord said it’s still too many. Why? Do you remember why it was too many?

( congregational response ).

Because he said, if you go out to battle with ten thousand you’re gonna say look what I did. You see what the deal is? Look what I did. You see that problem and how that translates into your life and mine many times? We’re saying, look what I did, Lord. Bless me, Lord. Look what I did. Oh, my. The Lord has got to break that.

I have all ideas that when David wrote this he was way on up into his experience with the Lord. And what a thing to say. God, I was in trouble and you broke my strength. But you know, the Lord kind of came through on that day, didn’t He? He put everybody to a test and 300 out of the ten thousand passed it. He said with this 300 I’m gonna deliver you and He did and nobody could possibly say, look what we did. They all said look what the Lord did. Look what the Lord did!

That’s what we need to be able to say about anything good that ever happens here. It’s not look at us. Look how wonderful…God’s favored us because we’re this or because we’re that. We are nothing folks! He is everything! To Him alone be the glory!

( congregational praise ).

Let His strength alone be what is manifested in this place! We have nothing to offer but our vessels. But oh, that’s not as easy as it sounds. That’s not as easy as it sounds. You remember Brother Thomas talking about after years of starting out as an evangelist traveling here and there and having great results and seeing God move in power and save people in dramatic ways and crowds and just doing and doing and going and doing great things and then God brought him to Southern Pines with a rag-tag bunch of people in a small little old barn down on US 1.

And the years began to pass. Some of you were here and you remember those days. I wasn’t quite. I came on the end of the 60’s but you can just…if you remember Brother Thomas you can understand this. But you’re just like him. If you have any gumption at all you’re just like him. So am I. But anyway, he came to a point where he was just really thinking about all this and complaining to the Lord.

Lord, I don’t understand. You used to really bless me. I used to go out and do all these wonderful things. The crowds would come and listen and I saw your power grip people and I saw people come to Christ. It was wonderful and then all of a sudden I got pushed out of this group that I was in. They withdrew their support and everything just seemed to go south and I wind up here with a handful of sheep and all I’m doing is just tending a little flock of sheep. What’s wrong? Oh, God what did I do wrong? What’s going on here?

And the Lord brought a scripture to his mind that he would never…nobody would ever think of this. And it was what the Lord said to Peter after the resurrection. He said, when you were young, you girded yourself and you went where you wanted to go. You know, what was He saying there? Peter, you were just full of zeal. All someone had to say was, let’s go and before the word was out he was off down the road. He was ready! He was gonna engage every bit of his human strength and ingenuity. Man, I love you Jesus. I want to serve you. Let’s go! Go! Go! Go!

You girded yourself. Man, it was your ingenuity. It was your strength you were running in. He said, but when you’re old you’ll stretch forth your hands, another will gird you and carry you where you don’t want to go. I’ll tell you, when God can move upon us to do things that we just really would rather not, but we’re willing to say, yes, Lord, not my will but yours be done. Isn’t that what Jesus said? He would rather not have gone to the cross. Truth be told, that’s why He prayed. That’s why He struggled so in prayer. But yet, He was willing, in the ultimate sense, to stretch forth His hand and let another gird Him and go where He didn’t want to go because it was the will and the purpose of God.

You see the difference between the immaturity of the one who’s running and doing and operating in human energy and the one who’s more mature and he’s learned, hey, that’s not where it’s at. If I’m going to be worth anything to God I need Him. I need His energy to live and operate through me. I need to follow His dream. I need to maintain a stance of being dependent on God. I just need Him! I need Him!

Oh, you see this everywhere in the scriptures and in…I mean, you see men who strive and struggle in themselves and then you see God just move in and that makes all the difference. Oh, my God, I don’t want…you know, I think about where we’re at and sometimes in a larger sense. Lord what’s the vision? What’s our purpose here? And I just keep coming back to one simple thing that I do know. Just keep sowing good seed. It’s not your business to know to know the big picture and to have a handle. You’re not the General. You’re just my servant. We’re just His servants. Our job is just to simply say seek the Lord and do what He says.

Anybody remember someone who said that a lot? Brother Thomas said that over the years. That’s a real complicated formula, isn’t it? Oh, my! That’s the heritage that I believe that God has handed off to us. It’s not a religion. It’s not a way of life in that sense. God deliver us from ever making it that. But it’s just saying, Lord we need you! We don’t know what to do. Show us what to do and then give us the power to do it. That’s the whole deal!

So when David was praying this, I know emotionally he was struggling at the time. It was like, God I’m trying—I’m trying my best to cope with all these difficulties and now you’re against me. But was the Lord really against him? No! And He’s not against you either. And the things that you’re struggling with in your life, He’s not against you. What He’s against is any one of us leaning on the arm of flesh.

What did He say to Jeremiah? And this is another thing the Lord spoke to Brother Thomas on one occasion when he was thinking back and thinking about the group that was sponsoring him and all the great things he was doing. And the Lord said, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm....” (KJV). And of all the bad things that were gonna happen as a result of that, he’s gonna be like the heath in the desert, something along that line. He’s gonna be in a dry place, not gonna have what he needs.

But, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” He’ll be like that tree that’s planted by the rivers. It doesn’t matter whether heat comes. He’s always got a source of moisture. That’s the place I want to occupy.

( congregational amens ).

God take away from us every zealous idea that originates just in us. Bring us to that place where we’re just willing to humble ourselves and say, oh God, I need you. Just tell me what to do and give me the faith to do it and not try to be anything—not have any ambition. Lord if we die and nobody ever hears our name but if they hear His name, isn’t that enough?

( congregational amens ).

My God! That is not our default position though, is it? That is not our nature. Anybody here…anybody else ever struggle with something wanting to rise up and say ‘but’ to something like that? ‘But’ I’m trying so hard. Shouldn’t I get some credit? Shouldn’t…oh, my are we just full of that stuff. But God is so faithful. God is faithful!

God was being faithful to David in this circumstance. He was not wanting David to be in a place of misery and destruction. He was wanting David to come to a place where he said, oh, yes, here I am. I’m trying. I’m gonna work this out. And God wanted to bring him to that greater place where he said, all right, Lord, I’m done. I declare bankruptcy here. Take over. You suppose that’s what God’s waiting to do in some of our lives, maybe all of them? He’s wanting us to come to that place where we realize just how much we need Him.