Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“They looked to Him and were radiant; their faces shall never blush for shame or be confused.”
“Alone with none but Thee, my God,
I journey on my way.
What need I fear, when Thou art near
O King of night and day?
More safe am I within Thy hand
Than if a host did round me stand.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And (Elisha) said, ‘Thus saith the Lord, make this valley full of ditches.’ For thus saith the Lord, ‘Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: He will deliver the Moabites into your hand. And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.’ And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country will filled with water.”
Quoted above 2 Kings 3:16-20
“Ditches in The Desert”
“No matter how big the giant might be in anyone’s life – God is greater than that giant.”
What situation in my life has left me in the wilderness of Edom, thirsty, tired and trapped?
If God asked me to dig a ditch in the dry wilderness, would I obey Him and trust Him?
“God is always calling us to do the impossible.”
“God’s mercy often rides to the door of our hearts on the black horse of affliction.”
In the little bedroom which I call my “writing room,” where books are filling the bookcases lining the wall of the room, I have taped texts and quotes which have served to inspire and uplift my heart over the past ten years as I’ve written devotionals everyday here in the Garden.
The reason I share this fact is that when I began our study in the book of II Kings, I never for a moment imagined that some of the passages contained in this Old Testament historical book, would become my personal “go to” texts of encouragement during difficult times in my own life when I faced a “desert” experience.
Our study text for today is one of those incredibly uplifting places in Scripture when, at least for myself, I want to shout to the highest heaven and thank my heavenly Father for His faithfulness, His mercy and His gracious kindness.
At first, as I began reading from II Kings 3: 16 down to the end of the chapter, there were so many wonderful passages and thoughts, it was difficult to know where to begin. But as I prayed over this portion of Scripture, I found the perfect place to start and it was when God gave His direct instruction to the three kings stuck in what The Message Bible states were “the badlands of Edom.” God told these kings to “start digging in the desert.”
Let’s not forget, these three kings were not “fervent” or “on fire” for the God of heaven and earth. King Jehoram of Israel was a backslider so to speak, following the false gods set up by King Jeroboam. Then we come to King Jehoshaphat, who although he was identified as a follower of God, he at times had exhibited the weak-spined philosophy of “going along to get along.” And then finally, there was the King of Edom, who was identified as a “heathen” king.
If these kings had been alive today, I fear we might have heard some Christian people piling-on that these weren’t individuals who went to the right church or were part of the right group or were religiously in-tune with the popular people who got all the Christian press.
What we find instead of God leaving this trio of weak-kneed, and downrightly unfaithful kings to their own devices, that through His prophet Elisha, God sent a timely message that although King Jehoshaphat had not shown the strength of character that we might believe he should, God recognized the fact that the presence of one person who followed Him, would be enough to carry the day for the Lord. Praise God!
I think it wise that before we continue on in our study we stop and take a moment to reflect on how quickly we call out others who don’t follow our way of thinking on every point, hook, line and sinker. In II Kings 3, we find that our heavenly Father took a different perspective for He came to the rescue of all three of these kings, two of whom were downright reprobates. So the next time you hear some Christian mouth off that a disaster struck because of certain “evil” people, keep your peace, for evidently God wasn’t clear enough for some of us that He helps both good and evil people, as He did in II Kings 3. What’s more, God asked everyone, the good, bad, and really bad to pick up their shovels and start digging ditches in the desert for His rescue was on the way!
Now if you notice there is another critical point and it’s the fact that God informed His desert digging crew, as The Message Bible states so clearly: “Here’s what will happen – you won’t hear the wind, you won’t see the rain, but this valley is going to fill up with water and your army and your animals will drink their full” (II Kings 3: 17, The Message Bible).
I can better explain what God was telling the three kings by giving you my personal tricks of the trade for figuring out the weather at our house during the monsoon season which is occurring right now. I’ve lived in Arizona long enough and spent enough summers here to be able to distinguish certain clouds which have the potential of delivering a tremendous cloudburst. I know where to look in the sky for when a storm approaches from a particular direction, it becomes extremely likely that a great deal of rain will fall.
After God asked the kings to dig ditches in the desert, He added this caveat, “By the way boys, don’t look around for all the common signs that you think will signal the fact that I’m going to help you out of the trouble you are in for My ways aren’t what you think they are. In fact, don’t look for wind or rain – just because you think this is how your help will come. Guess what, I have My own plans! And they may surprise you.”
I’d like to turn this story into a very personal need Jim and I faced several months ago, We needed $4,000. to meet the financial requirements necessary for nearly four months of the Transformation Garden ministry. I was very relieved because our commercial company had a project we had been working on for a client for several years and I knew the profit on the job would be enough to cover all the expenses needed in the Garden. Then without warning, the client abruptly moved the job timeline. I was desperate and very concerned. I was trapped in Edom’s desert wilderness, at least I thought so. However, very thankfully, this wasn’t the first time since Transformation Garden started that I had faced a “how are we going to meet the financial needs” moment. So I asked God to keep me calm and to please provide.
Several weeks later, when I thought the “dry desert” would sink us in quicksand, the doorbell rang. I answered and it was Federal Express with an envelope from someone I didn’t know. Seems my husband Jim had some items he had decided to sell. I didn’t even remember he was working on this project so I wasn’t looking for help from any area but where I thought the assistance should come from. Yet, inside a Federal Express envelope on a particular day when the valley ditch was dry, a check for $4,000. appeared. Yes, the exact amount I was worrying about. And it came from an unexpected place.
Which brings me to the last point in this story found in II Kings 3: 20 where the Bible tells us, “Behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.” Edom wasn’t even where “God’s children” lived. So let us never forget that when God comes to your rescue and mine, in any dilemma, disaster, or debacle, He can use any means He chooses – even something or someone in Edom.
What’s more, when water finally filled the ditches, the Moabites got so confused by the reflection of the morning sun on the water, they thought, mistakenly, that the valley was filled with blood and so they decided they could easily win the battle against the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom and yet, when they finally entered the valley, they recognized what an error they had made and they were “smitten,” just as God said would happen.
As I read this story of empty ditches filled to overflowing with water, my thoughts turned to one of my most favorite texts in the entire Bible, written hundreds of years ago by the Apostle Paul to his Christian friends in Ephesus:
“Now to Him Who, by the action of His power, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly far over and above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams. To Him be glory.”
Author Dale Ralph Davis expounds on the abundance we receive from our Father’s hand when he shares this story about an ice cream company and their marketing plan:
“During the 1950s a company hired a consultant to assist in marketing ice cream. The consultant checked current ice cream ads. They were hardly moving, plugging as they did superior quality and flavor. So he put some interviewers to work, talking to people about what ice cream meant to them. They discovered that most, especially those beyond their teen years, had emotionally loaded feelings about ice cream. They had vivid childhood memories of ice cream. ‘We used to sit on the porch every night at the farm and eat ice cream out of soup plates. You could almost drown in the stuff.’ They associated ice cream with abundance.
They spoke of wanting to ‘sink your mouth right into it.’ Such were the comments. Armed with such psychological ammunition the consultant urged his ice cream maker to show ice cream in his ads not in a neat, trim dip on a plate or cone, but in lavish portions overflowing the cone or bowl.” Isn’t this just like our heavenly Father who makes wonderful memories for us as He fills our lives to overflowing with the delicious bounty from His generous and loving hand?
Our Father in heaven loves giving good gifts to all His children – even as undeserving as we may be. His gracious heart and amazing generosity is more than enough to fill every empty ditch in the desert of your life. So in the words of Jane Crewdson, may our prayer be: “O Savior, I have naught to plead, in earth beneath or heaven above, but just my own exceeding need and Thy exceeding love.”
“The great need of the present hour is Christians who have learned to sing the song of deliverance on the testing side of trouble.”
“Right Son, Wrong Side”
“God, how, we need Your help!
Without You, life is like the Stony Desert;
with You, life is like the Channel Country
after abundant rains.
If we have become bare and unfruitful,
like a neglected paddock,
be to us as a plough in hard ground.
If we have wandered in waste places,
becoming lost and blinded in sandstorms,
lead us to some quiet, verdant gully,
where there is living water to refresh us,
soft ferns to caress our tiredness away,
and sweet rest on the mossy bank
of Your grace, mercy, and peace.
God, how we need Your help!
If we are to live fruitfully,
and love our (sisters and brothers) with
a love like Yours,
we need You every hour.”
Bruce D. Prewer
“I need Thee every hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.
I need Thee every hour
Teach me Thy will,
And Thy rich promises
In me fulfill.”
Annie S. Hawks
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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