"I Just Want to Thank You"
Can I be thankful in all circumstances? Does my environment dictate my attitude? Life may not be easy, so how can I be thankful when the well runs dry?
I Just Want To Thank You
A. Jehoshaphat was King of Judah. He was a good king like his father before him. During his reign he fortified the cities of Judah and remained true to the Lord. He sought God first in what he did and God blessed him in many ways. Nations around him feared him. He sent a traveling group of teachers and priests to go around the country and teach what was written in the Book of the Law. He appointed judges to serve the country and warned them that they were not judging for man but for the Lord. But right during this time of prosperity, during this time of spiritual renewal Jehoshaphat gets news that is devastating.
B. A great army made up of three nations has come to make war. They have already made it into Judah and would soon march upon the capital city. The enemy was vast. As good of men as Jehoshaphat had and has hard as fighters as they were, they were no match for this vast army.
C. Jehoshaphat was afraid. He knew what the outcome would be. So he did what he had done in the past, he inquired of the Lord. There in front of the temple in the new courtyard Jehoshaphat lead the nation in prayer.
D. He prayed (READ 2 Chron. 20:6). In his prayer Jehoshaphat openly brought before God the problem. He ends his prayer with these words, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (vs 12)
E. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel and he said (READ 2 Chron. 20:15). I love a happy ending. I love to watch TV movies about how everything works out in the end. How the family that is falling apart comes together at Christmas and restoration and healing happens. The miracle of Christmas on TV. But is that the reality? Do families always make up? Does the boss decide to make less and keep all the employees on? Does the cancer always get healed or the sickness always get removed? No. What do you do when God doesn’t answer your prayer like that of Jehoshaphat?
I. Trials Dark On Every Hand
A. Soon we are going to begin a new study coming from the books of Habakkuk and Malachi. When Habakkuk closes his oracle he does so with the words that were read to us before the sermon began. Listen again to verse 17.
B. With Judah being an agricultural society, the need for fruit, olives, gain and sheep are essential, not optional. It is not that life is difficult, sometime it is life is overwhelmingly difficult. The things I need are there for me and my spiritual life is attacked in the sorrow of this life.
C. How much do the circumstances in this life affect your spiritual relationship with God? Are you only happy when life is good? Is your faith only on fire when God answers every prayer they way you want them answered? What about when there is no fruit on the vine, when the crops fail, when the cell phone dies, the internet isn’t fast enough or the kids only find fault with what you try to do for them? What is your faith like then?
II. Making Joy A Choice
A. Look at verse 18. G. Campbell Morgan said, “Our joy is in proportion to our trust. Our trust is in proportion to our knowledge of God.”
B. I know the facts of the matter. I know that God exists and rewards those who seek him. I know the rain falls on the just and the unjust. I know that life is not fair and I am thankful that “fairness” is how God will judge me. I know that I don’t pain, sorrow or difficulties. Those are facts.
C. Equally as facts is that God has so far brought me through every situation I thought was impossible for me. I know that he loved me enough to allow Jesus to die on the cross for my sin and raised him up to show me that I too can have a new life in him. I know that as his child I still face physical trails, pain and suffering, but I don’t face them alone or without hope. I face them with the God who loves me holding my hand.
D. Therefore, I will rejoice the Lord, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength. Joy is a choice. Peace is an acceptance of the power of God at work so I don’t have to fix everything.
A. Chippie was a lovely little bird that sat in his cage and sang. One day when the lady of the house was cleaning his cage with a vacuum hose the phone rang. Without thinking she turned to answer the phone and sucked up Chippie. She was so upset. She turned off the sweeper, ripped open the bag and found Chippie still alive but cover in dust.
B. She ran to the bathroom turned on the cold water full blast and held Chippie under it to wash him up. Realizing how cold the water was she grabbed the hair dryer and put it on full blast and dried him as quickly as she could. Chippie is back in his cage again, but needless to say, Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore.
C. Have you been sucked up, washed over and blown away by life and just don’t feel like singing much? I understand. But let me tell you – it is at that point in your life that you need to sing like never before. When the tears roll down your face you need to sing to God. When the heart aches from pain you need to sing praises to the Lord. When you believe you can’t, remember the God who can and does.
D. Thanksgiving through New Year’s ought to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for some, it is stressful and painful. I ask you, in your faith, to choose to rejoice in the God of your salvation. If we can be a source of strength to your walk with Christ, please come as we stand and sing.