November 14, 2015

Can a loser assume God will let him be a winner?

1 Kings 19:1–20:25, Mark 11:1–33, Proverbs 4:18–27

A loser wins
Ahab was a loser as far as being faithful to God. However, a prophet brought him this message: “Thus says the Lord, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give (the invading Syrians) into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

Ahab asked how that would happen and who should begin the battle. The prophet said the servants of the governors in Israel would secure the victory and Ahab would start the battle. He mustered 232 of those servants then called out 7000 people of Israel.

As they were going out, Ben-hadad, the Syrian king, was getting drunk in his tent along with the thirty-two kings who helped him. His scouts reported that men were coming out from Samaria. He ordered the Israelites taken alive as if the battle was already over, but Ahab’s people fooled him. “The Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them, but Ben-hadad king of Syria escaped on a horse with horsemen. And the king of Israel went out and struck the horses and chariots, and struck the Syrians with a great blow.” (1 Kings 20:13–21) This was the will of God and He used disobedient Ahab to accomplish it.

Losers usually lose, and righteousness usually wins
“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:18–19)

God says that those who love and obey Him are usually winners, but those who go the other way are such losers that they don’t even know why they are losing. How sad.

The Lord speaks to His people with a warning and sound instruction: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” (Proverbs 4:23–26)

Fig trees and other losers
Jesus was coming into Jerusalem from Bethany and was hungry. He saw a fig tree in leaf and looked for fruit, but the tree had nothing but leaves. It was not the season for figs, yet He said, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” His disciples heard what He said. (Mark 11:12–14)

When they arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple and was not happy with those who sold sacrificial creatures and did currency exchange right in that holy place. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons and would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He said, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:15–17)

The next morning, they passed the fig tree and it was withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus answered, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours . . . .” (Mark 11:20–25)

The fig tree was not the issue. Jesus looks for those who will do His bidding. No figs equals no fruit. Selfish living equals no fruit. Commerce in the house of God equals no fruit. Praying without faith equals no fruit.

Just because God can take a fruitless man like Ahab and do His will in that man’s life, does not mean that I can take God for granted to do His will in my life while I’m not cooperating with Him. If I want to have a fruitful life, I must drop everything that looks like Ahab, money changers, and fig trees.

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