Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why can't I seem to make any progress?

We continued our new series this past Sunday "40 Days in the Word" with part 3" How do I see what God wants me to see? You can listen to the podcast at http://www.wyandottefamily.com/listen.html or you can download it from iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wyandotte-family-church/id478735158  

We talked about this "churchy" word called "Illumination." Illumination is simply the Holy Spirit bringing to life the Bible and speaking directly to you and your situation. It is like putting on 3D glasses and seeing the Bible come to life. On Sunday we talked about the 1st Benefit of Illumination: Seeing the Solution to the Problem. The second benefit of having your eyes spiritually opened is

#2-I see the barrier to my progress.

You have some things you’ve been wanting to do in your life.  You’ve been wanting to start a business, or start a family, or get out of debt, or you’ve had some goal or some dream. Maybe you have written down specific plans and goals for you and your family. You’ve been trying to make progress on it but you just keep bumping up against an invisible wall.  And you’re going, “I don’t get it.  I’m trying the best I can.  I’m doing the best I can.  I’m not making any progress.” 

If we can be real and authentic with each other, most of us find ourselves here. Not only do we find ourselves here. We are frustrated and find ourselves blaming all sorts of people and things in our lives. We can all relate and understand because we all face this.

We need to have your eyes opened, our eyes illuminated. There is something that we are missing. There is something in front of us that we currently don’t see.

The story that gives a good example of this is in Numbers 22.  It’s the story of a guy named Balaam.  Balaam was a prophet of God, he was a man of God.  But Balaam decided and agreed to help the bad guys.  And this didn’t settle well with God. It actually got God pretty upset.  He goes, “Wait minute, Balaam.  You’re supposed to be my representative and you’re going to go help the bad guys?”  So as Balaam starts on his journey to go help the bad guys, God puts an angel in his pathway and blocks his progress.  Only Balaam can’t see the angel.  So he doesn’t know what’s going on.  But his barrier to his progress was invisible and he could not see it.

So he’s heading off on this journey to go help the bad guys.  We pick up the story in verse 22 of Numbers 22.  “But God was furious that Balaam was going, so he sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the road to block his way…  Balaam’s donkey suddenly saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand  [The donkey could see him but Balaam didn’t] and the donkey bolted off the road into a field, [out of fear]  but Balaam beat the donkey and turned it back on the road.  [This is funny.  Balaam can’t see what’s going on but the donkey can.  There’s an angel in the road with a big sword and he goes, I’m not going there.  The donkey’s pretty smart; he goes off into the ditch.  And Balaam gets angry and beats the donkey.  It’s not the donkey’s fault.  He can see what’s out there.]

So the second time it says, “Then the angel of the Lord stood at a place where the road narrowed [It is the second time] between two vineyard walls. [Its very narrow and the angel of the Lord stood in the middle.] When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing there, it tried to squeeze by [the angel] and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall.” 

We always get hurt when we try to do something that God doesn’t want us to do.  We always get our foot crushed.  We always get hurt.  Balaam doesn’t see what’s going on.  He looks at the donkey: “Why did you do that?  Why did you run against the wall and break my leg?”  “So Balaam beat the donkey again.”  He’s angry!

Third time: “Then the angel of the Lord moved farther down the road and stood in a place so narrow that the donkey could not get by at all.  This time when the donkey saw the angel, it lay down under Balaam.  [Smart donkey!  I give up.  He just collapsed and gives up.] In a fit of rage [the Bible says] Balaam beat it again with his staff.”

We pick up the story on your outline in verse 31.  “Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes,[Circle that phrase.  This is illumination:  “He opened Balaam’s eyes.” and now Balaam saw what the problem was.]  He saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn.”  No way, Jose!  You’re not passing this way!

So what does Balaam do now that his eyes are open?  “He bowed low and fell facedown.” and he worships God. 

That is very strange, strange story.  But here’s the point.  You have plans in your life that aren’t working out.  You try to go this way and you get blocked.  You try to go this way and you get blocked.  And you try to go this way and you get blocked.  And you’re getting mad at everybody else.  You’re mad at your wife.  You’re mad at your husband.  You’re beating your donkey.  You’re taking it out on your kids.  You’re talking about your boss behind his back and on and on and on.  You’re mad at everybody because you can’t see what the real problem is. 

God is blocking that issue.  He is trying to keep you from making a serious mistake.  God’s saying, “I’m not going to let you go down that road.  No matter how much you beat your head against the wall I’m not going to let you go down that road because I love you too much.”  And you’re going to be stopped by it.

When your progress is being blocked, you’ve got one of two choices.  Beat the donkey or let God open your eyes.  You can either get mad at everybody around you and spiritually vomit on them and take it out on your kids and your husband or your wife and everybody else.  And you’re just so sick and tired and you’re blaming everybody for your problem.  But the problem is you can’t see the problem.  The barrier is God is not going to let you do that.  Because he loves you too much. 

But when God opens my eyes, I can see the solution to my problems.  And when God opens my eyes, I can see the barrier to my progress.  And then I go, oh… that makes sense.
That is the power of God’s Word. When we faithfully read God’s word (The Bible…His revelation to us) our barriers are often illuminated. Our spiritual eyes are opened. I pray that during the 40 Days in the Word, you experience this. Every time we read the Bible, let’s pray and ask God to open our eyes to see what He wants us to see. Let’s ask Him to remove the blinders and help us see the barriers. God loves you and has your best interest in mind. He wants what is best for you.

Adapted from thoughts from Rick Warren and 40 Days in the Word

PS. This Sunday is our "Souper Sunday. As of today we have 15 soups. Vote for the best soup by giing your change. All money raised will go to the Hope Project. The hope project fights human trafficking. Read more about them at http://www.hopeprojectusa.org/ 

No comments:

Post a Comment