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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1176

Don’t Give Up
Part One

April 19, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1176 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! I’m glad that the Lord has ways of reminding us that it’s all in Him and not in us, because if it were up to us and our strength, we would absolutely have no hope, would we? I think of what Paul said. We think of him as the mighty preacher but yet his own testimony was that he was, among the Corinthian believers, in particular, “…in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.” (NIV).

Little hard to picture that. Paul, scared to death to be among the people there, and trying to minister to them but…you know, the Lord is wise in His ways and everything that He does and He knows exactly how to shepherd us along and how to teach us His ways and how to encourage us when we need it, how to bring us down when we need that. And, I just appreciate Him this morning and His faithfulness.

I’ll just refer to one passage as kind of a jumping off point this morning. We know, out of the book of Galatians, just to summarize, Paul is dealing with the issue of legalism where some were trying to come in and get the Christians to start living by the law and believing that by keeping that they were, in a sense, qualifying themselves for God’s blessings and God’s help.

And, of course, it wasn’t that way. We’ve been set free from that, but we’re to use that freedom in a way that glorifies God, aren’t we? We’re not set free from rules just to do as we please. We’re set free from the tyranny of our old nature so that we are free now to serve God by His strength. And so, that’s really where he’s going with all of that.

And so, he comes down into chapter 6 and in verse 7 he says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.” So now, we’re talking, not about what we ought to do, but the actual fruit of what we do. “A man reaps what he sows.” Very simple principle. You don’t plant potatoes and reap corn. But we understand that in the natural.

“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” So that’s the process of living. And in our imperfect state, we don’t always do everything right and sometimes we do try to run in our own strength, and the results are not good, are they? And the Lord knows how to weave all of those experiences into our spiritual make-up and to use and to teach us. And I’m so glad that He does.

But here’s the scripture that I was trying to…that I was wanting to get to, because it’s the experience of every one of us at some point in our spiritual lives. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

So, this process of sowing and reaping, particularly if you’re talking about sowing to the Spirit and reaping the harvest that God intends, is not a push-button affair, is it? It’s not something where we get an instant result all the time and we live in these bodies of weakness and of flesh and it is the experience of every single one of us that we get really weary at times.

And weariness breeds many things. It breeds discouragement. It breeds a passivity where we just…the Devil’s working on our minds and our hearts and we’re instead of rising up and saying, Praise God, that’s wrong! Devil get out of here! We’re…no, Devil, no…we start throwing in the towel and not putting up much resistance.

And so, along with our weariness…sometimes it’s a physical weariness. We all get tired, that’s just part of living in this world. But sometimes along with that, but not all the time along with that, the Devil will be faithful to throw in negative thoughts and to try to bring us down on the inside. How many know that when you get in that place there are weaknesses that come out in you that don’t come out at other times?

( congregational response ).

Well, is that a bad thing or is that maybe just a good thing that the Lord wants to teach us a little bit about what we’re really made of so that we can let go and learn how to stand by faith? You know, God uses tests like this in many ways. You see it among the Israelites in the wilderness, the obvious example. There’s one occasion where the people, “…the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.” (KJV).

I mean, it was just ‘same ole, same ole’ grind every single day and God’s promises were out there somewhere and just kind of feeling very vague. Hadn’t seen any…I was gonna say, they hadn’t seen any miracles in a while, but they got so used to the manna they didn’t even think about that as miraculous any more.

And you know, I think it’s that way with us. There are many things that if we could really see what’s going on in the Spirit, we would see God performing miracles for us every single day!

( congregational amens ).

But, when we’re in the middle of it and everything seems ‘samey,’ after a while you just sort of take all that for granted and it’s easy for the enemy to begin to take…to give us a weariness in our minds and in our hearts. And that’s where the challenge comes in.

And you remember how…what the prophet Malachi was dealing with, what God was dealing with? The people had come back, miraculously, from the Babylonian captivity. God had blessed them through Zerubbabel and some of the leaders, some of the prophets, Haggai, Zachariah, in particular, to rebuild the Temple and they’d had celebration time.

A generation went by. And what happened? What are we doing this for? What are we getting out of it? This is…people started complaining and instead of bringing the best of their flocks, they would bring the one they didn’t care about. And it had just become really a drudgery, become work, it’d become something where their heart really wasn’t in it. Well, do you suppose maybe the Lord allowed circumstances to be that way to bring that out?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! It brings out the unbelief in unbelievers! But it brings out the weaknesses even in those who believe! And we don’t always handle it very well! Everybody here just…every time this happens to you, every time you get in a place where your emotions are as flat as a pancake, you have run out of gas, you just handle it perfectly.

( congregational response ).

( laughter ).

No! Well, I don’t either. And the Lord is so merciful and faithful in such times to help us and to draw near to us. But you know, there’s…and sometimes, as I say, it brings out weaknesses, and so we, as human beings, will wrestle with self-pity. Now nobody here…if you ever run into somebody, though, you can explain this to them, who’s prone to this. But we begin to feel sorry for ourselves and we begin to look at somebody else. They’re having it good. Why is it this way with me? What’s God doing to me? What did I do? And we begin to really feel self-pity.

Well, self-pity breeds a whole lot of things, doesn’t it? Self-indulgence. Resentment. Well, who are we really resenting? We’re resenting the Lord, aren’t we? And I’ll tell you, the Lord, many times, will let us just get in a place, and just really to show us what we are truly made of, what it is that He has set Himself out to save. Oh, my! Praise God!

You know, one of the things that I see, as I go along, in greater and greater measure, is that it’s in times like these that we really learn about the Lord. You know, when everything is great and grand, and there’s victory all around and the emotions are running high, that’s wonderful! But you know, when we get in the lowest of the low places that we ever find in our lives and we discover God’s faithfulness at that time, that does more for me than when all the fire is flying.

( congregational amens ).

And I’ll tell you, God proves Himself. I’m trying to think of some of the songs. What’s that song that Tim sings?

( congregational response ).

“The Anchor Holds.” It’s in those times when He proves Himself faithful to me. That’s what…those are the times that stand out in our minds when we realize. And I just thought about some examples in the scriptures that we’re very familiar with.

And you know, David comes to mind. He certainly is an unusual man, a man with a call of God on his life to shepherd God’s people. He himself was a shepherd in his youth, so he knew something about the principle of being a shepherd. But he learned that he was really a sheep and God was his shepherd. And he learned to trust the shepherd.

But in spite of the call of God on his life, in spite of great victories like killing…being able to overcome Goliath, it wasn’t very long before he was on the run for his life, wasn’t he? And time and time again, in the most dire circumstances, he saw God faithful, didn’t he? And he’d seek God. God, what should I do? And God would give him opportunities. There was twice he had the opportunity to kill Saul, if he wanted to do it. But there was such an integrity in his heart, that even though he was being urged to take matters into his own hands…does that sound familiar?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! Even though he was being urged to take…seize this opportunity. You could end your troubles if you will just kill the king! You are God’s anointed! This is God giving you this opportunity! But there was something in him, there was an integrity of his heart that rose up and said, I will not do it! He is God’s anointed! God’s gonna take care of him in His time! It’s not my place.

Boy, wouldn’t that be a good principle for us to learn and to understand that God’s in charge, and we can really muck things up if we seize the thing—seize the opportunity to promote self because it really gets to be about us so much of the time. It’s really not about God’s glory, it’s about us.

And oh, what lessons there were of faith, and of blessing, and trusting God in every kind of circumstance. And oh, he goes on and on and on. Time…well, several times…I mean, Saul mounts an army of thousands of men, and David’s got hundreds, and he’s on the run. One time they were coming around one side of the mountain and David was coming around the other. And they were just staying one step ahead of him.

And it got to the point where it didn’t seem like there was gonna be any hope, and yet he saw God deliver him! He had a priest of God there! Now, at that particular time, when God was dealing with His people, it wasn’t like today. You know, today we live in the New Covenant. Today God puts His Spirit inside His people. Today we are all kings and priests. But that day it wasn’t that way. They had priests who absolutely could hear from God in a very special way.

And they had prophets who would be anointed. God’s Spirit would come upon them and they would speak words from God. That was the way they knew what God was about and what He wanted. So, David had one time…he had gone to a priest to help him out. Saul got wind of it, killed his whole family except for Abiathar. So Abiathar brings the ephod and brings all the priestly stuff, and he flees out in the wilderness and he becomes part of David’s troop. So, David has a man of God.

You remember the incident of Keilah, the town? David hears about how the Philistines were oppressing them and just giving them a rough time. And so, he goes and he asks God, God, shall we go and help them? And the Lord says, yes. So, on the strength of that word…I mean, hear he is, he’s already an enemy in Israel, and he’s just making himself obvious. So, under those circumstances he has faith enough to go, by the word of God, and to deliver Keilah.

And of course, they were so appreciative that when the word got to Saul and Saul came out to capture David, David enquires of the Lord, will they deliver me into his hands? Is Saul really coming? And the answer to both was yes. So, on the strength of that, of course, David fled again.

And time and time again you see David enquiring of the Lord. Lord, what should I do? Lord, help me to do the right thing. Lord…and so finally, right after one of those events where the prophet Samuel is now gone and it just seems like no matter what he did he was still on the run, but yet God was delivering him…now, all of a sudden, he begins to take matters in his own hands.

I mean, maybe I’m reading a little into this, but I don’t think so. Because the scripture is so careful to talk about how he enquired of the Lord about doing something, and you look at 1 Samuel chapter 27, for example, and it begins with these words…anybody identify with this? “But David thought to himself…” (NIV).

( congregational response ).

( laughing ).

“But David thought to himself….” Now all of a sudden, he didn’t say, now David was in a bad place but he went to the Lord and said, Lord, what shall I do? No, he said, “…David thought to himself, one of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul.” Wonder where that thought came from? God had anointed him to be king over Israel and suddenly David is saying, one of these days he’s gonna get me. You see what’s going on here? You see the enemy beginning to come and beginning to encourage David to act in himself? Yeah. Do we ever fall into that trap? Yeah.

( congregational amens ).

A whole lot more than we’d like to think. And so now, he’s trying to say, what’s the best thing I can do? “The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines.” I don’t see a word in that about, Lord, what do you want me to do? “…David thought to himself….” Saul’s gonna get me, “The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”

So, all of a sudden, David is beginning to kind of act on his own, isn’t he? “So David and the six hundred men….” and so on. They go down and they start living with Achish, the king of Gath. He gives him a place to live, and gives him Ziklag, a small community, a town, whatever you want to call it. And so, he and his men live there. So, how do they live? What we’re seeing in these passages is something that I’ve…is one of the greatest things that authenticates the scriptures, to me. It’s the honesty about people.

( congregational amens ).

You don’t just see these heroic figures larger than life who never make a mistake. You see people that are just like us. People that get scared. People that start reasoning in their own minds and start acting on their own wisdom. And sometimes they don’t do so good.

So anyway, David goes out. Well, what does he do for a living? He goes out and raids people. And so, the ones he’s raiding now were heathen tribes. The Amalekites, certainly, were one of the groups. And he would go out into the land south of them. Between them and Egypt, there were these tribes and they were all…this is sort of the way of life for a lot of them. And so, they would go out and raid them and he would kill everybody, take all their stuff and come back.

And when he talked to the king that he was under in the Philistines, he said, I was raiding over in Judah. He wasn’t exactly telling the truth, was he? So, here’s a guy who’s acting on his own, he’s doing his own thing and he’s kind of still acting in fear. He’s lying about what he’s doing. There’s no other way to put it. I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God…this is not to recommend the weaknesses that we see in scripture, by any stretch, but this, to me, reveals a God who meets weak people where we’re at!

( congregational amens ).

We don’t always react very well. We don’t always do the right thing, even if we want to. Sometimes you can have the best of intentions and it won’t work because that’s just what we’re made of.

I mean, Peter…what better example is there than Peter? I’ll never deny You! Lord, I’m ready to go to prison and to die for You! Even if all these others…I’ll never do that! Well, how long did that last? Matter of a few hours he was…he was denying the Lord, denying that he had ever known that man Jesus, with curses! Calling down curses! May a curse fall on me if I’ve ever know this man! To a little girl!

I’ll tell you what, we are weak. In ourselves, we don’t have it. And if you think you do, God knows how to put you in a situation where you will be in over your head and you will feel like you’re drowning. And we need something. We need Someone!

( congregational amens ).

That’s when we discover something about God. So here are the circumstances. David has, on his own, evidently, decided his best option was to live in the land of the Philistines, the very enemies against whom he had been fighting. And not only that, he’s lying about what he’s doing in order to keep in good favor and good standing with the Philistines, ‘cause they were figuring, hey, if he’s fighting Jews, we know they’re gonna hate him and we can trust him. He’s gonna be okay among us.

So of course, then you come down to the…as the story goes on…you know, we can look at this and see the general context and we see David…David doesn’t realize where he’s at, in the story. But the fact is, Saul’s about to die. His biggest problem is just about to be dealt with. You know, God’s bringing him down to where it looks as bad as it could possibly look! It couldn’t get any worse than this.

But I’ll tell you, when it looks that way, we need to remember we’ve got a God who can turn something on a dime when it’s right. Think about Joseph in prison. It probably never looked worse than when time, years and years went by, and his own effort to get himself out of that prison didn’t work.

And how long did it take God to fix that one? He went, in one day, from being a jailbird to being second in command in the whole land. I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who can work if we will learn to trust Him.