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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1112

When God is Against You

January 26, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1112 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: 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. I mean, you know…these scriptures are ones that we’ve used, but I sense the need in me more and more as I go along of how much…how easy it is to know these things and how hard it is to really live by them. And so the Lord brings us round and around and around, so patiently, these same mountains.

When Paul occupied that place…well, let me stop and say this. Whenever we do something, what is the inevitable result? Suppose we do exercise our own strength and ability and it looks like we have actually accomplished something and we have succeeded. What’s the result, inevitably? Pride—just what the Lord didn’t want Israel to experience when they were defeating the Midianites. Pride—look what I did. Look at me, God. Oh my.

Well, Paul wasn’t immune to that. All the things that God…the great things that God showed him so that he could be a mighty minister of the gospel. Paul struggled with pride. How in the world could a human being living with this flesh experience the things that he did and not say, boy, I must be something. I am really favored of God. God looked down, and He really found something when He found me. Yeah, He found something all right.

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

It wasn’t good…

( laughing ).

…not before He got ahold of it. But God knew He had to do something to balance that out so Paul could really be affective, and so He allowed that demon. That’s why we can’t be so quick to apply formulas to situations. We’re gonna have to seek God. Paul could have said, well, I know what to do about that. Demon, be gone in Jesus’ name!

Well, that didn’t work. Why? Because God had a purpose in that particular thing. He needed to have to contend with that, not just blow it away and walk on but to be able to say, God, I need You today. Oh God, I’m feeling this pressure, and I need strength from You to combat this thing. Lord, this is a constant reminder of what I really am and how weak I really am. And it’s a constant reminder that I need You. Every situation is unique. Can God heal? Can God drive away demons? Absolutely!

( congregational amens ).

I don’t want to go to either extreme, but we need to look to God. God just might have allowed something in your life right now because there’s something that He’s really seeking to break. There’s a part of your strength that He’s actually breaking by the thing that you’re experiencing. And He loves you enough to do that.

( congregational amens ).

And you know, you think about how David testified how he’d been in bad places, but the Lord brought him out into a large place. That’s God’s aim. That’s what God longs to do. Can you image what a large place it’s gonna be on the other side when all this is done? Just one glimpse inside the home gate. Oh my, do you think that will be worth it all? Oh yes!

( congregational amens ).

Oh my, that’s what God’s aim is. But if He’s gonna do that, He’s got some things He’s got to change and He’s got to break. And if He allowed us to experience too much visual victory…there’s a kind of victory and success that’s visible that you kind of look out and see. Man, if we could fill these pews and everybody was excited, there would be a real challenge not to get proud, not to think we had done something.

I’d just rather stay in that place where I say, Lord, just give us something. Give us good seed. Give us some sheep food today. Speak to us where we’re at. Help us right where we’re at. You worry with the big picture. Take it to the other side of the world. See, that’s the thing. We come here, and we don’t realize where this is going sometimes, and it’s not because we’re anything. It’s because God is so merciful to His people.

( congregational amens ).

He takes the things that are not to bring to nothing things that are. He takes the weak things to shame the strong, shame the mighty. Well, I’d rather be in that place and be able to stand there on that day and say, Lord, You did it all. To You belongs all the glory. Look what You did. Look at the nothing You took and You did something actually good with it. It all comes from You, Lord.

That’s what He wants to do in every individual life, is to deliver us from us just rising up in our own strength and trying to contend with life, with spiritual issues. God wants us to quickly learn to come to the place where Lord, I’m in way over my head here. I just need You. And what kind of a God do we have when we do that? Oh my.

Look just a minute at a familiar passage in Isaiah 40. It’s another one that we all know. The prophet here is encouraging people at a time of great distress and apostasy. The nation was heading downhill. Does that sound familiar? The nation was absolutely heading downhill towards judgment, but God still had a people and He was concerned about those people. And He wanted them to have a hope, wanted them to realize that in spite of what was going on, God was for them. God had a future for them, didn’t He?

And so without going through all of it, He begins comforting. He begins, “COMFORT my people. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.…” (NIV). And all of that…There’s a voice that wants to really reach out and give them a picture of a mighty God. And let’s just cherry pick here a little bit until we get to where…you know where we’re going with this. But he’s talking about how all men are like grass in verse 6, “…all their glory is like the flowers of the field.” Looks good, doesn’t it, for a while?

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, Here is your God! See the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arms rules for him.”

Boy, you’ve got this mighty picture of a great, sovereign, all-powerful God who’s gonna come on the scene and make things right in this awesome picture. But look at how this suddenly changes the picture of the real character of this mighty, mighty God. Down in verse 11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

Isn’t that an amazing picture? The sovereign of the universe comes in mighty power. Oh, the nations have risen up against Him, and He has the power to crush them because they’re nothing, but yet His character towards His people as He carries them like a shepherd. That’s us, folks.

( congregational amens ).

That should tell you His heart towards you. Where are you at? Are you struggling? What is His heart towards you? You need to get that. We need to get that. We need to never lose sight of what His heart is really like towards His children, towards His people. And then, of course, he goes into all these word pictures. I won’t go through all of them, but basically it just says what are you gonna compare me to?

And of course, the answer is nothing. You can’t say God is like this. God is like that. God is like nothing else. He has all power. He has all understanding. He knows the name of every star. We don’t have that many words, and He knows the name of every single one of them, and He holds them by His power. This is an awesome God that we serve. He looks down at the world and they’re just nothing. He picks up the nations in a little balance. Yeah, He holds a magnifying glass to see them. These word pictures just remind us. You look at the world situation, and you feel small and powerless, and things are careening out of control, but our God is in control.

( congregational amens ).

There’s nothing that’s happening that’s outside of His power to do what He wants to do. Oh my. You come down to verse 17, “Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.” And he goes on, and he talks about the foolishness of the idolatry that’s around them. “To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to? As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it.”

Then he comes and says, but there’s another guys that can’t afford all that. He says, “A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple.” You know, we think how foolish these bunch of idol worshipers. Are we any less foolish as a society? Do we not have idols that we set up and worship and invest all of our value in them? My God! We’re no better. God, deliver His people.

“Do you know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” And it goes on and talks about how He brings princes to nothing, rulers to nothing and all of that.

But now He says, “Lift up your eyes…” in verse 26, “…and look to the heavens: Who created all these?” Ever stopped and looked at that? I mean, you look at the stars and say, boy, they’re pretty tonight. Do you ever stop and think who made those? Who made those? The God that you and I serve. That’s just a little picture—the heavens declare. They have a message. They’re talking if we have ears to hear. The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament shows His handywork.

Oh my, “He who brings out the starry hosts one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain O Israel.” Nobody here would even do that, I know. “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God?” I’ve prayed and I’ve prayed. Nothing’s changed. Oh my.

We’ve got an awesome God. You don’t think God’s listening when His children cry? You don’t think He has the wisdom and the understanding? It talks about in this…well it comes on down and talks about His understanding. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary....” Man, I can’t understand…I can’t comprehend that. “…and his understanding no one can fathom.”

See, that’s the other part of it. Nobody can understand everything about Him, and He has no lack in His understanding. He sees every little thing. He sees the things in your life and mine that we don’t see. He’s operating with knowledge you and I don’t possess, so that’s where we need to learn to reckon on who He is and these realities that He’s revealed about Himself. He knows what He’s doing, and so He calls upon His people just like little children to trust in His greatness and His faithfulness to His purpose and His word.

“He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall.”

And if you put this together with what you read in Psalm 102, sometimes God’s the one who made them weak. We need to keep that in our thinking that they may be just the case sometimes. It’s not just that we’re trying to do all this, trying to cope with all this stuff out here, and God’s over here shouting encouragement to us. God’s over there opposing us sometimes because we’re struggling and striving in our own strength, and He’s got to stop that before He can really come into the picture and come to our rescue and our help.

But you see where this is all headed. That’s the thing. This has got to sink into our minds. It isn’t just that God’s against me sometimes. It’s that He’s really for me in ways that I find hard to understand at the time and emotionally accept, but it’s the truth. But His end game is something that’s awesome.

“But those who hope in the Lord.…” You look at different translations. There’s a sense there of waiting. There is sometimes a time element. There is…oh God, my attention in this need is focused upon You. I know that there’s no help in me. Now by the way, how do you know that? Because God’s just put you there. He’s just stripped you of your own strength, and you’re able to say that because okay, Lord. I get it. I’m sorry. Here I was running in my own strength again.

But Lord, I don’t have any, so where will I look? Well, vain is the help of man. There’s only one place to look and that’s to the One who has all the strength and all the resources, and so we look to Him. Those who hope and who wait. But sometimes there is an element of waiting.

Sometimes there is an element of just looking to God, and you don’t get a push button answer. What do you do? Well, if you have genuine faith you’re just gonna stay put. Do you walk in darkness and have no light? What are you gonna do? You’re gonna stay upon your God. You’re not gonna go build your own fire.

There is no plan B when it comes to trusting God. Trusting God is not like well, I’m gonna try this out. I know God’s promised this. If He doesn’t come across I’ve got something I can fall back on. No, there’s nothing to fall back on. That’s unbelief. God’s not looking for experimenters. He’s looking for people who trust Him with all of their hearts.

And whether He answers quickly or whether He answers 25 years later like He did with Abraham and the promise of a son, we have a God who’s faithful, who knows what He’s doing, knows the time element. And so this is a sense of expectancy with no plan B. That’s the sense you get of that word hope or wait on the Lord.

What’s the promise? They “…will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; They will run and not grow weary, they walk and not be faint.” That’s where God’s going with all this. That’s why God would take a servant like David, put him in a place and say, David, I’m against your strength. I’m gonna oppose it, not because I’m against you, not because you’ve done anything wrong, not because I hate you. It’s because I love you enough to bring you to a place where you can experience my strength. That’s what I want. I want you to fly like an eagle, but you’re not gonna do it as long as you’re trying.

Oh my. Isn’t that true with respect to everything, salvation? Nobody comes to Christ as long as they think they can do something. It’s only when God strips us of any sense of ability or self-righteousness, any hope that we might find in ourselves by which we can hope to find acceptance with God. That’s got to be gone. God’s got to strip that away so we say all right, Lord. I surrender. I have no other hope except what You have provided in Christ. I’m gonna rest my hope in that and just give up completely on the other. That’s salvation. Then God’s able to step in and preform the miracle that changes our heart.

But that principle still holds throughout all of our Christian lives. God has got to continually put His hand and His finger on the things that we cling to in our lives, and we think they’re our lifeline. We think they’re…Oh God, you’re touching the very essence of who I am and what I’m about, and God says oh yeah. You think that’s so important? I can take that away, and I’ll show you something a whole lot better. It’s like the little child who’s clinging to the branch and Daddy’s down below saying let go. Oh no. I’ve got this. I don’t about the other.

( laughing ).

But we’re just like that. We’ve got all the branches, and we’ve just got this death grip on, and God’s just trying to gently pry us loose, get us to trust Him. And oh, don’t ever forget this glorious picture of Him like a shepherd carrying the lambs in His arms. This is the kind of a God that we serve. That’s awesome. Praise God!

You know, I was thinking about the fact that He can give us strength. You think about our power grid, just for an example. We take for granted we plug something in the wall, and whatever it’s supposed to power it just powers right up, and everything’s good. But the fact is that’s a limited source of power, isn’t it? It’s not an endless supply, and if you get too many things plugged in all trying to run at the same time, you’re gonna have a problem. At the very least, you’re gonna have a brown out, and everything’s gonna get dim. And worse than that, you bring it all down with a crash. Then nobody’s got any power.

We serve a God who does not have a limit to His power. If every person on the planet suddenly declared spiritual bankruptcy and cried out to God and said God fill me, the Heavens would not grow dim because we’re drawing down all that power. They would still glow as bright as they ever did.

( congregational amens ).

We have a God with limitless power. He will never have a blackout, never have a brownout. He’s always got what we need, and He wants to encourage us. So if you’re in that hard place right now and you’re struggling, and it almost seems like God’s against you, take a step back and say, well maybe, maybe I’m running too much in my own energy here. Maybe the Lord’s trying to get my attention to come to that humble place where I just say, oh Lord, help me here just to take You at Your word and draw upon that strength and that promise.

You’ve said when I’m weak I’m strong. Lord, I know enough to sing that. I know enough to say it, but oh do I fight against that. I don’t like being weak, Lord. I don’t like it. I’m like David. I want to complain. Lord, I’m having a hard time here. Help me out, and You’re against me. The Lord says, I’m not against you. I love you. I’ve got what you need, and I’m trying to take you a little deeper here. I want you to know my ways. I want you to learn something from Me.

I tell you, when God’s against you He’s really for you. It’s a good thing for us to learn. And I tell you, God’s gonna take us to a deeper place where we can be like these who run and don’t grow weary. We can do things when we have no strength. Who knows? He may take us up one of these days, and we’ll fly like eagles. When we do we’re gonna know where our strength comes from. He’s not gonna let somebody fly like an eagle and then crow about it.

( laughter ).

If a crow and an eagle go together…You get the idea.

( laughter ).

Crows and eagles…Well anyway, isn’t the Lord good to us?

( congregational amens ).

I believe He’s seeking to take us to a deeper place, and it will be to His glory, won’t it? Praise God!

( congregational amens ).