Monday, April 15, 2013

Hemmed In

Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
John 11:21

Can you hear it?  Listen closely to Martha's statement above and you will clearly hear disappointment and exasperation.  She was disappointed with Jesus.  Disappointment is that feeling of anguish, unhappiness,  and/or discontentment caused by someone or something that has failed to fulfill one's hopes, dreams, or expectations.  This is, without question, the numbness that Martha is feeling as she meets Jesus four days after the death of her brother.

Why not?  Mary and Martha had sent a messenger to find Jesus and bring Him back.  Their message said, "
he whom thou lovest is sick."  Could you imagine looking at the road with heartsick anticipation waiting for Jesus and the messenger to come walking around last bend in the road?  Instead, you see the messenger alone on the road.  He had to have told them how that Jesus stayed behind as if their request were unimportant.  Though Martha's statement in verse 22 showed a partial belief in the power of Christ, she saw death as an impossibility that Jesus could not overcome.  She was hemmed in.  

It seems that GOD allows us to get hemmed in by circumstances that seem insurmountable.  Think, for instance, of Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea.  While modern day theologians would have you believe that they were at a shallow place that was open, the scriptures assure us that the Israelites were hemmed in by land and sea.  They had a cliff to either side and the enemy coming up the valley behind.  The impossibility of the Red Sea lay ahead of them.  To make it worse, God put them in this predicament purposefully.  "But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt...For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. (Exodus 13:18 and 14:3)."  God had put them in a place where there was no where to run. Scripture also tells us of the disappointment the people had with GOD and Moses.  "And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? (Exodus 14:11)". (As a side note, this is why most believers do not see God's power in local churches today.  As soon as they get a bit uncomfortable by some besetting circumstances, they run off to another church rather than wait for a move of God that breaks the yoke!  As a result, they never press on passed the problems nor experience the growth and maturity that comes as a product of GOD showing up and changing the situation for His glory.  Quit chasing a move of GOD and stand still in faith until you see GOD move.)

David also was in a predicament that had him hemmed in.  The story is found in 1 Samuel 30.  All of David's men knew that he was anointed as the King over Israel and that Saul had been rejected.  It is certain that they were perplexed when Saul was in reach of David two times prior, but David failed to act.  Now they are in Israel's enemies territory and have been sent home from the battle against the forces of Saul.  God was actually protecting David from having a bad name in Israel whether they could see that or not.  When they return to home, Ziklag, they found all of their families taken, their homes burnt, and their goods removed as plunder.  What a mess.  They were truly hemmed in and very disappointed with GOD and David.  "And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters...(1 Samuel 30:6a)."  Here again, God has brought about this situation.  Why else were none of the captives taken harmed nor any of their goods destroyed save the houses of Ziklag?

In all three instances GOD hemmed the people in by seemingly impossible situations.  God, however, was about to magnify Himself.  Have you ever thought about that term, magnify the LORD?  How can GOD be magnified any greater than He already is?  Really, He can't.  However, our self imposed limitations on His power and glory can cause us to diminish Him.  God put them in these places, places where there was no where else to go, so that they would look to the only possible solution--the infinite power of the Omnipotent One!  God brought the disappointment to teach them that He was even greater than the limited hopes they had envisioned.  He was greater than the Amelekites that sacked Ziklag.  His power was more awesome that the seeming impossibility of the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army.  He was even greater than 4 days in the grave.  Are you hemmed in?  Then follow the directions of Psalm 34:3! Just maybe GOD has done it purposefully.  Look to JESUS for the answer and know that He is Soon2Come and address the fears and disappointments you have!

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
Psalm 34:3

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