IT’S A LIGHT THING, JUST DIG THE DITCHES

Andy Hollifield 4-16-18
2 Kings 3:15-18 But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. (16) And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches. (17) 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. (18) And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.
There are 6 times that this phrase “a light thing” is used in the bible. Three of them pertain to actions of the Lord. It was used by Elisha in this scripture, by Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:10, and also by the Lord pertaining to Isaiah in Isaiah 49:6. I only want to really focus on this scripture. This scripture talks about how the Lord can bring you out victorious in your battles when you put your trust in him. The one with Hezekiah shows us that God will do what he needs to do to get us to trust him. The last one in Isaiah says that when you trust God, it’s “a light thing” for him to make you a servant, equip you, and use you far beyond anything you ever thought possible.
Sometimes as a preacher, I have experienced times when I am looking in my bible and find something that I had underlined previously. That was the case with this scripture and when I read the verses around it, it was like a light clicked on and the Lord said, It’s just a light thing for me to preserve you from your enemies. As I begin to look at this scripture, I noticed in verses 16 and 17 what I believe that God was wanting me to see and I hope it will bless and encourage you like it did me. It was one of those things that make you say to yourself, “Why didn’t I see that before?” That’s an easy answer and it is simply that you didn’t need to see it before and wouldn’t have appreciated it then like you do when he shows it to you when the battle is about to be decided. Sometimes writing is a little embarrassing because I think that stuff is so simple that everybody but me has probably seen it long ago. Nevertheless, if you have seen this already, maybe it will be a blessing to you to be reminded of what the Lord can do and how he can do it.
In verse 14, Elisha makes it plain to Jehoram king of Israel, that if it weren’t for Jehoshaphat king of Judah, he wouldn’t give him the time of day. He had no use for Jehoram because he had followed in the footsteps of his parents Ahab and Jezebel in being wicked and causing Israel to sin. Elijah even asked him why he didn’t just call on the false gods that his mom and dad loved so much. In a nutshell, he answered that he was fixing to die and needed a God that could get something done. At least that is my take on it. He wasn’t as bad as his dad was because he at least put away the image of Baal that his dad had made. I am persuaded that just seeing Jehoram apparently got Elisha in bad spirit because he had to call for a musician to get him calmed down enough to hear from the Lord.
The answer that Elijah got from the Lord was the same one that we get although not in these words; If you will do what I tell you to do, I will take care of the rest. How many times have we got in trouble and didn’t see God move because what he told us to do didn’t make sense or we tried that already. “Make this valley full of ditches?” Lord you don’t understand, we have got a problem that needs fixing and this is no time to be digging ditches, that’s stupid! We might not dare say it but God knows our heart and our thoughts and knows what we are thinking. At those times it is kind of like Jeremiah said in Lamentations 3:22 “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” I am glad that the Lord is longsuffering with me.
We need to understand before we go any further that these armies were in the wilderness of Edom and had already scouted seven days around their position and were in the wilderness with no water to be found. Does that sound like where you are? Nothing anywhere in sight to sustain your life and you figure this is surely the storm or battle that will take you on out of here. But then God, even though he don’t always tell us, tells them what he is going to provide for them. He tells us that you aren’t going to see wind or rain like you usually do, but I’m gonna give you more water than you need if you dig some ditches.
Sometimes, God does things different than how we figure they will work. Sometimes he even does them different from what he usually does. The scouts had scouted seven days and there was no water to be found. How was God going to fill ditches with water even if we do dig them? That’s not our business! Our business, just like theirs, is to dig ditches. This story reminds me of the story of Naaman the leper on over in 2 Kings 5. Even though he had been told by Elisha how to be healed, he got to thinking there had to be a better way. Looking at facts it made no sense to dig ditches. There was no water for at least 7 days in all directions and God had just told them that they wouldn’t see rain or wind but he was going to fill the ditches with water if they would just dig them. That’s just like us isn’t it? We beg God for help and he tells us what to do in order for him to give us what we need and we start second-guessing. We’re just like they probably were and start analyzing the facts and forget that we are supposed to be operating on faith and not facts or how we feel about what God is doing.
Apparently they were smart enough to dig the ditches because the next morning after they had given worship to the Lord by presenting their offering; there came the water from Edom. It wasn’t there yesterday but they had dug by faith and God gave them what they needed. What a simple concept! Be obedient to the Lord and he will bless! What the armies with Elijah didn’t know was that not only had God given them what they needed, but he was also working on their enemy. Boy, if we could just keep in mind that we don’t always know what God is doing or how, think of the victories we would have and the heartache that we wouldn’t if we went ahead and obeyed him. They didn’t know that God was using the sun to make the water look like blood on the other side of the ditches. They didn’t know that the Lord was arranging an ambush for them and that soon they would be chasing what was left of their enemy back to their own cities and destroying them and pretty much wiping their cities off of the map. All they knew was that they had water.
Well, that is how the story ends; with great victory and deliverance from the Lord. What about our battle and our storm? God may not do things in the typical way. There may not be any evidence that he is doing anything. We may not see any wind or rain. He may even ask us to do something ridiculous. Like Mary told the servants at the Jewish wedding when she told Jesus they were out of wine; “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Can I say, “Whatever the Lord tells you; do it!” Just because it may not come about like we might expect it to or just because it seems like a waste of time, doesn’t mean it is. If God says it, just do it. It’s his job to work on the other end and we don’t have a clue what he is doing. There wasn’t any blood in that water; but the enemy thought there was. The coalition hadn’t turned on each other like the enemy thought, but they were still standing strong, all the while not knowing that God had the victory marching right toward them. God hasn’t led you into the wilderness to fight and have you die for lack of what you need. He brought you there so that he might get glory out of your life and answer your prayers in a way that you would have never even considered much less thought possible. Your situation: to him it’s a light thing, just dig the ditches! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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