HEARING GOD’S VOICE AND RECEIVING HIS FAVOR
Did you read part 1 of 1 Kings 20: The Answer is YOU? This is part 2 and the underlying message here will be for a person who longs to hear the voice of the Lord but doesn’t know if it is possible for them. Is this you? Do you want to hear from God, but not sure if He speaks to us? Do you ache for direction or heavenly counsel, but feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Keep reading!
Part 2 will encompass verses 15-26. Read with me then we will break it down into some easy to digest pieces and your battle plan!
15 Then he (Ahab, king of Israel) mustered the young leaders of the provinces, and there were two hundred and thirty-two; and after them he mustered all the people, all the children of Israel—seven thousand.
16 So they went out at noon. Meanwhile Ben-Hadad and the thirty-two kings helping him were getting drunk at the command post.
17 The young leaders of the provinces went out first. And Ben-Hadad sent out a patrol, and they told him, saying, “Men are coming out of Samaria!”
18 So he said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; and if they have come out for war, take them alive.”
19 Then these young leaders of the provinces went out of the city with the army which followed them.
20 And each one killed his man; so the Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them; and Ben-Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with the cavalry.
21 Then the king of Israel went out and attacked the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.
22 And the prophet came to the king of Israel and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself; take note, and see what you should do, for in the spring of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.”
23 Then the servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight against them in the plain, surely we will be stronger than they.
24 So do this thing: Dismiss the kings, each from his position, and put captains in their places;
25 and you shall muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot. Then we will fight against them in the plain; surely we will be stronger than they.”And he listened to their voice and did so.
26 So it was, in the spring of the year, that Ben-Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel.
Point 1: God loves to speak to His children
So let’s just disempower any lingering belief or voice that whispers that God doesn’t speak to us. He does. We just have to know how to listen.
As we can see, Israel was victorious against the army of Ben-Hadad, but Ben-Hadad himself slipped away and escaped. So, here comes that crazy amazing favor of God for His children, because God sends a prophet to Israel to warn them that they should strengthen themselves because in the spring, Ben-Hadad will be back to have revenge. Do you think that this was valuable information? Maybe Israel didn’t know that Ben-Hadad escaped, or maybe they did, but they still didn’t know what his next plan would be. Being a child of God means that we live inside of His favor, His abundance. He delights in taking care of us, in speaking to us, and in setting us up for victory, to bring glory to His name!
Point 2: God is able to show us things in the future that have not even been set into motion yet!
It seems that Ben-Hadad didn’t even know his next plan yet… and yet, Israel had received prophesy of what his actions would be.
I don’t know about you, but I find this absolutely remarkable.
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
Before Ben-Hadad had received counsel about his next steps, before the Syrians had convinced him that Israel could be defeated in the plains (not true) because their “gods” were “god’s of the hills” (not true) before any of this….. The Lord knew what would happen, and He sent word to a prophet to warn Israel to stay ready and anticipate the next attack in spring.
Vs 26: So it was, in the spring of the year, that Ben-Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel.
Graceful Gladiator, chances are that you and I are a lot alike and that we both have many places in our hearts and lives that we would not only welcome, but more like cry out and praise God enthusiastically if He would give us a heads up as to what is going on. Maybe you’re waiting for direction for a business, for the healing of a disease, for the blessing of a child, or finding a home. Maybe someone you love is hurting. Maybe your grown child has wandered away from their faith. I am not saying that God will give us the understanding we want… He sees things from an eternal perspective and we have to trust that sometimes He guards us from knowing things that we are not ready for. But, I am also saying that it is absolutely possible and likely that He wants to speak to you and share details concerning your life.
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3
Graceful Gladiator, God is able to show us things in the future that have not even been set into motion yet!
Graceful Gladiator Battle Plan:
- Obedience when God calls. We can’t ask for wisdom, discernment, and guidance, and then hide away when God’s direction for our lives shows up as work. Remember in verse 14 from Part 1: The answer is YOU.
- Faith in His plan. When God reveals His plan to us, chances are we will NOT get ALL the details. If we did, taking action would not require any faith. Expect to have questions, and expect Him to show up and deliver you in the moment you need Him. In the meantime, take the next step He has commanded you to in faith!
- Be open to hearing His voice. God can choose many ways to speak to us. He may choose a scripture, a dream, a friend, or a teaching. Sometimes we don’t like the word that is coming to us. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it’s just not the answer we were looking for. Remember, when we ask a question of God, we need to keep ourselves open to the answer.
My Personal Experience
I want to share an personal example of this last point with you. In our marriage, Mike and I are always praying for the Lord to bring us closer to Him and closer to each other. We often sign off on our prayers with something like, “And Lord, we ask that this week you would bring opportunities into our lives for us to grow closer to You and closer to each other.” Sounds nice enough, right?? The
trouble beauty is that opportunities for growth and closeness usually come through the form of a trial. Just ask how I know. That would be… experience. I never really knew when I prayed for a deeper relationship with God that He would give me circumstances that stretched my faith and required me to DECIDE and CHOOSE for Him no matter what.
I also didn’t know that when I asked God for a closer relationship with Mike that I was inviting in challenge and opportunities to work through issues of pride and selfishness and brokenness. So many times we pray for one thing, and when it shows up, we reject it because it is uncomfortable, stretching, and hard. What I want you to know through this, is first of all, that one: the challenge is answered prayer, and two: you’re going to get exactly what you want by moving through this new challenge with grace and strength. If, that is, what you want means God’s will over your own will, and valuing His character over valuing your ambition.
What about you?? Have you struggled with obedience when God speaks? Have you found it challenging to keep faith in trials? Have you prayed for one thing and then been surprised when the answer to prayer shows up in a form you didn’t expect?
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