By Rev Bill Woods
As a kid, I remember when I acted up, my folks seemingly let me have a choice: “Do you want a spanking?”
– Often, I must not have chosen correctly because the choice was taken away from me.
– Marty always asked the girls, “Do you want to do it with a spanking or without a spanking?”
Usually it became apparent as to what was acceptable and what was not acceptable.
God had to spank the Israelites often and Israel never seemed to learn!
The Israelites borrowed trouble when they refused to honor God’s instructions.
– God had protected them, led them and fed them.
– God had promised to prosper and bless them in their new home, but they complained and refused to follow God’s Plan.
– When they refused to follow God, Israel borrowed trouble they didn’t need to have………
– The results were devastating! ………………………………….
When they finally reached the land God had promised to them they found themselves standing across the Jordan River looking into the Promised Land “flowing with milk and honey,” but now they weren’t allowed to enter and possess the land.
God had promised He’d give them this land, but instead of trusting God to fulfill His promise they sent 12 spies (the CIA, “Canaan Investigation Agency”) to check what obstacles they would face.
- The spies returned: 10 gave a bad report, (“Impossible! Too hard!”) and 2 said, “Let’s go!”
- The result was they’d have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until all the “chickens” died off!
They didn’t rebel against God just once — it happened over and over again always with the same results — TROUBLE!
Today, God promises us if we obey Him, He’ll care for us……………….
– Many balk at that idea and the results will be devastating.
Deuteronomy 1:26-36 — “But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God and refused to go in. You complained in your tents and said, ‘The LORD must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered.’
Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants there—the descendants of Anak!”’
“But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The LORD your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’
But even after all he did, you refused to trust the LORD your God, who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. When the LORD heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the LORD completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the very land he explored during his scouting mission.’”
Psalm 106:15 — “So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it.”
How does this apply to our lives? Most of us seem to want to borrow trouble.
– Usually we’ve asked for it when it comes.
– There’s an old saying: “Don’t trouble-trouble until trouble-troubles you.”
In spite of that saying most of us seem to ask for many of our troubles.
WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE RUN FROM GOD
- Jonah learned this the hard way:
Jonah 1:1-3: The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish.
– God called Jonah to go preach at Nineveh.
– Jonah didn’t want to go and caught a ship going the opposite way. (Poor Choice!)
– The ship Jonah boarded was caught in a storm
– Jonah was cast overboard.
– Jonah paid the price. 3 days in the belly of a fish!
Think how much trouble Jonah could’ve saved himself had he obeyed God in the first place!
– Some of you have business with God, but you’ve been running the other way.
– You’re ignoring the Holy Spirit’s pleadings to make things right while there’s still time.
– You think God’s asking too much and you’re not willing to pay the price!
– HINT: Obeying God is certainly not as costly as not obeying God……………
2. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE PITCH OUR TENTS TOWARD SODOM.
We can learn from knowing the story of Abraham’s nephew, Lot – Genesis 13:10-13 —Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the LORD or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram.
So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the LORD.
He felt pretty independent until trouble came and he was attacked
Genesis 14:11-12 —The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies.
They also captured Lot—Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom—and carried off everything he owned.
Lot dwelt in Sodom – Genesis 14:12 — But one of Lot’s men escaped and reported everything to Abram the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram’s allies.
You might think Lot would’ve moved someplace safer for his family, but he stayed in Sodom because he couldn’t leave those ungodly ties he’d established.
Finally, God had to take things into His Own Hands.
- God decided to judge and destroy Sodom because they were so wicked.
We need to take warning! Our Nation is flaunting the same sins that destroyed Sodom!
Lot was lingering in Sodom, because he’d gotten too comfortable with his worldly goods he’d settled down.
God decided to destroy these 2 wicked cities, Sodom and Gomorrah once and for all.
- Angels were dispatched to move the Lots to safety, but Lot’s family wasn’t eager to leave.
Genesis 19:16 — When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the LORD was merciful.
Lot and Mrs. Lot had gathered so much worldly treasure they’d lost focus on what was really important.
– God sent angels to lead them to safety but Mrs. Lot was so attached to her temporal belongings that she couldn’t discern what was really happening.
She turned back towards her worldly goods and became a pillar of salt and lost her soul.
The lesson: hold on loosely to anything that would challenge your love for God.
- Nothing is worth losing your soul in Hell.
Mark 8:36— And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
- People like Bill Gates and his crowd will learn ever so soon!
3. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE TOUCH GOD’S ANOINTED
King Balak of Moab was afraid the Israelite people would destroy his land if he let them pass through on their way to Canaan.
He hired Balaam to curse the Israelites so he could defeat them.
- Balaam came and God said, “No you cannot curse My people.”
- But the reward was so tempting!
Balaam tried everything to get around God’s orders because he wanted the payment Balak had offered him.
- Balaam whined and fussed at God. Finally God said, “Go!”
- – Balaam was about to learn a lesson.
- What resulted shows us that Balaam was dumber than an ass!
Numbers 22:31-34 — Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before him.
“Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the LORD demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey.”
Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.”
- How astute! Where do you suppose he got that idea?
- Balaam couldn’t outright curse God’s people so instead he taught them to compromise……
4. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE BREAK A VOW TO GOD
Ecclesiastes 5:5 —It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.
– Solomon should’ve known better, but he fell into temptation’s trap and lost his soul.
– Maybe you’ve made promises to God that you’re not keeping.
– Satan will help you justify why it’s OK to break that vow but God still expects you to honor your commitment to Him……….
5. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE TRY TO HIDE THINGS FROM GOD
Proverbs 28:13 — People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
– Adam and Eve tried to hide their sin — they hid in the Garden.
– Achan tried to hide his sin.
GUY TRYING TO HIDE FROM COPS AT DESERT HOPE…………
– Is there a pet sin you’re trying to hide from God?
– WON’T WORK!
6. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE FORM AN UNEQUAL YOKE
2 Corinthians 6:14 — Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?
– Believers with unbelievers
– Righteousness with unrighteousness–It’s always the one with convictions that compromises to meet the more liberal.
– Christians must sometimes change friendships if their present friends are pulling them away from God…………….
7. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE LEAVE THE FATHER’S HOUSE
Luke 15:11-16 — To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.
About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.
He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
– No man helped the prodigal
– No place to eat but with the pigs
When I broke my hip I talked to a lady in the ultra sound room at the hospital who decided to quit attending ALL churches because none met her expectations……………..
– That’s playing right into the hands of the enemy.
– He wants you to isolate yourself from God’s people.
Preacher pulling a burning ember out of the fire……………
Near the end of 2008 a friend asked me why I wasn’t discouraged — she was surprised that my voice still seemed so “up and positive!”
– She knew the Church I pastored was in a financial low — behind on bills enough to stop my salary,
– That we lost our house in foreclosure.
I’d gone through back surgery, then broke my hip a week later.
– Been robbed of much valuable possessions.!
You could say, “2008 wasn’t so great.”
– That was a bad year — a lot hasn’t really improved since then, now we’re beyond that stuff and into 2021.
– “In 2021 in the past we’ll not delve. It’s a brand new start we’ll level the devil.”
No, I’m not discouraged.
– I think we’ve got the Devil’s attention and he’s worried about our trusting Jesus in every
Circumstance — whatever you’re going through, just hang in there and be faithful to God.
John W. Yates shared this letter from a missionary who’d gone into the jungles of New Guinea:
“Man,” he said, “it’s great to be in the thick of the fight, to draw the old Devil’s heaviest guns, to have him at you with depression and discouragement, slander, disease! He doesn’t waste time. He hits good and hard when a fellow is hitting him. You can always measure the weight of your blow by the one you get back. When you’re on your back with fever and at your last ounce of strength, when some of your converts backslide, when you learn that your most promising inquirers are only fooling, when your mail gets held up and some don’t bother to answer your letters, is that the time to put on your mourning suit?
“No Sir! That’s the time to pull out the stops and shout hallelujah! The old fellow’s
getting it in the neck and he’s giving it back. And all of heaven is watching over the battlements: ‘Will he stick it out?’ And as they see who is with us, as they see around us the unlimited reserves, the boundless resources, as they see the impossibility of failure with God, how disgusted and sad they must be when we run away. Glory to God! We’re not going to run away. We’re going to stand.”
I’ve had people tell me, “You’re sure a tough old bird!”
– That’s not really so — It’s just I serve a really tough old God!
– A God who’s faithful and isn’t ignoring what we’re going through and will reward our faithfulness in His good time..
I’m not asking for trouble!
– I want to live for God and serve Him with all my strength and ability.
– Why don’t you make that same commitment?
It will be more than worth it all when we see Christ in Eternity!
LET’S EACH ONE SEE WHAT GOD WANTS TO DO WITH US AND TRUST HIM TO STAND BY US!
PODCAST ARE YOU ASKING FOR TROUBLE?
The updated version of Rev Bill Woods’ book “There Is Still Power In The Blood” will be available soon.