Best In Worst Times
Sunday Sermon by Pastor Rajesh Mathew, 24 May 2020
Exodus 17:8-15- 8 Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9 And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became [a]heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, [b]The-Lord-Is-My-Banner;
- And Moses built an altar and called it the LORD IS MY BANNER!
The Holy Spirit put into my heart one thing- THE BEST IN THE WORST OF TIMES.
- When you go through the Bible, you find that whatever difficulties and challenges that the people of God went through, God was still able to bring out something good out of it and lift up His children through it!
- The children of Israel went into captivity twice:
- When they were slaves for 400 years in Egypt.
- Captivity in the nation of Babylon
- But when they came out, they became better people- Better in their life, better in their obedience, better in their worship, better in their courage to serve God, to see the victory of God, and they became more fruitful. They countenance became better, their characters became better. Their inter-personal relationships became better. Their tolerance levels increased.
- In the midst of the challenges, when you come out, God will made you stand in something better. God will bring something better out from you, something good that will glorify God.
- Even their capacity to persevere, after captivity and through famine.
We may be going through a difficult time. We will come out better. You are going to become the best in the worst of time. God will lift His Church in the midst of the trouble.
It is true that the valley is deep, the mountains are high and the road is rough but you will rise higher above the challenges. It is true!
A believer rises high in spite of several things.
- In spite of COVID 19 you will rise higher.
- Don’t read economic times and get worked up. Read the Bible and be encouraged.
- Business, family life, school matters, children, whatever may be the area of your life, it will become better. Your children are going to rise up higher in spite of challenges.
In spite of 7 things, the believers will rise higher
- INSPITE OF ADVERSARIES
Adversary means you have an opponent in a contest, conflict or a dispute.
- In the Bible, we just read that they were on their way to the Promised Land and the Amalekites became adversaries of the Children of God.
Exodus 23:22- But if you indeed obey My voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
- There may be people who are against you. But you don’t have enmity against them. We need to pray for them and forgive them. God will stand against the one who stands against you.
- There are adversaries who oppose your increase, your future, your journey ahead. Don’t worry thinking about this.
- You continue to look to the Lord and be obey Him and God Himself will fight your battles against your adversaries.
- INSPITE OF AFFLICTION
- Wherever the children of God were afflicted with, there still they rose up. Affliction is a state of pain, distress, grief or misery.
Exodus 1:11- 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses.
- The Egyptians were afflicting the Israelites. Is someone afflicting you? You will increase in God’s goodness, in the anointing and in the blessing of God.
- Look to the Lord. You will come up higher in the most difficult time.
- INSPITE OF ARROWS AND ATTACKS
- Arrows were released against Joseph by his brothers from hiding.
- You do not know where these arrows are coming from!
- Psalm 91 talks about the arrows. God will be a shadow and a wall for you when the arrows are released against you.
Jehovah hide me...Hide me in the Rock. Jehovah hide me...Hide me in the Rock
- INSPITE OF ADVERSITY
- Adversity means a difficult or unpleasant situation. COVID-19 is a difficult time. God wants us to have resilience.
- God wants you to be strong inside.
Psalm 94:13- That You may give him [a]rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked.
In the days of adversity, God’s children have deep rest. This is a peace that comes only from Christ.
Habakkuk 3:17-18- Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
- He is talking about 6 things that indicate a time of adversity.
Verse 19 says that he will make my feet like that of a hind deer that I may walk up my high hills.
- In the midst of loss of jobs and layoffs, God will still enable you and strengthen you to take you up higher.
- All sources of revenue have dried up and have been cut off. No wine, no figs, no sheep, no olives, nothing left.
God is saying to someone- in the worst of times, something good will happen. God will take you higher. He is faithful.
- INSPITE OF ACCUSATION
Daniel 6:24- 24 And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.
There may be accusers trying to conspire how to kill you, how to trap you. But take heart, they will fall in the very pits that they made for you. You will not die half way in your life.
Whatever they desired to see come upon Daniel, they had to face it.
Verse 28- So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Daniel prospered. Remember that it is time for your promotion when accusers rise against you.
The HS is saying to someone- you are hurt, people spoke badly about you, they accused you wrongly. God will not allow you to be put to shame. You will be prospered by the Lord!
- INSPITE OF ANAKIMS
Joshua 14:10-12- 10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel [a]wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. 12 Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”
- Anakim means tall people or giants. They represent the big issues of life that tell you that you won’t make it.
- Long life as promised in God’s word for you is challenged by a medical report. The blessing is challenged by a financial crisis.
A child of God needs to say that “my God is with me. I will receive the inheritance that God has freely given me in Christ. Good health, wealth and peace are mine in Christ”.
Angels of God and the Holy Spirit will strengthen you. The grace of God will empower you.
Amalekites came from the generation of Esau who had traded his birth right for something of the flesh.
Exodus 17 shows you that Joshua and Moses did not go there to pick up a fight with them but they came looking and instigating for a fight.
Deuteronomy 25:17-18- 17 “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, 18 how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God.
- Amalekites came from behind and conquered them. There were mothers, older people, the weak at the rear. These were the ones they first attacked. They came to war against these people.
Never try to destroy that which is weak. Never!
- Moses had never fought a war before that, even when the Egyptian army came against the Israelites, God had told him to only stand still and watch what God would do.
- These Amalekites come against you even if you humble yourself, even if you are willing to compromise, they will get on top of you and try to attack you.
In the midst of that Jehovah Nissi will be revealed. He is my banner, He is my rallying point! He will come down to help me.
Moses said, I will go up to the mountain. Lift up the rod in my hand. (Even that rod wasn’t his, it was the rod of God). There was a surrender in Moses.
How will you prosper and progress forward? When you give what is your to the Hands of God. What is yours should become God’s. Not my pastor, God’s son; Not my family, the family given by God; Not my children but the progeny given by God; Not my business, the Lords’ business. When you say that, the equation changes and God will descend into that situation.
- Joshua had to go down to battle. Moses was up on the hill and praying. His hands became heavy. Joshua was the one holding the sword about a 1 kilo and half heavy. But the Word doesn’t say that his hands were heavy but it says that Moses’s hands were heavy.
- Sometimes the wife of the pastor will need to carry out all the household chores while the pastor is sitting with lifted hands and praying. Which is more a struggle?
- Prayer is sometimes a strain.
- In Mathew 26, Jesus is seen asking the disciples--couldn’t you pray with me for one hour? Their eye lids were heavy.
- Jesus told Peter, to go get a sword and he did that and in fact he cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. He was standing outside the court all night without sleep, he was moving with the crowds when Jesus was being led between courts and all of this hadn’t made Peter tired or weary! But when told to pray, they were heavy eyed!
- Some people are like that. You want to rise higher, you want to see victory but you are lazy to pray.
- Any work physically is not much of a strain. Manual labour or working in the fields is doable. But prayer becomes a strain because the devil will not let you pray.
- If you pray, then no matter what problem you are going through, you will see God delivering you. Worship the Lord. Let every hindrance to prayer be broken off.
- Jesus prayed for one hour. The book of James says that He prayed with loud and vehement cries. It was strenuous. He prayed in such a way that drops of blood began to flow down.
- When a Viper bites, it cause blood to come out through your sweat glands.
- Jesus cried Eli Eli, why have you forsaken me! When he stood in front of Pilate He did not ever sweat, nor in the courtrooms. But when HE prayed in the garden, He cried out. There was a strain in prayer.
- Under that strain Moses’s hand began to weigh down. Aaron and Hur ran to him and kept a stone for Moses to sit and held up his hands. And they prayed with him.
- Every time Moses’ hands weighed down, Joshua was being attacked.
Pray for those who pray for you. Don’t hurl insults and stones on them but help them. That will be your victory.
- Don’t forget that some of you are standing here because there are mothers, wives, fellow believers and pastors praying.
Exodus 17:14- 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”
God is saying that He will deliver you from all afflictions no matter how hard and heavy it is. If you pray and worship HIM on your knees, no affliction can withstand you.
- God will deliver you fully from every affliction!
God says, the battle is mine. Our battle is not against man. It is against the demonic powers. Victory is mine, battle is HIS.
- I will not go and fight and take revenge. The battle is the Lord’s
Acts 6:1-7- 6 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists,[a] because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. 7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
- In the New Testament, the apostles pray and also minister the Word. People go through many types of battles, some may be financial struggles, health issues, discouragement and criticism. Speak out—the Lord is my strength, He is my rallying point, He will give me complete victory.
- In spite of all the challenges, just pray and read the Bible. God will give you complete victory.
Jehovah Nissi- the Lord my Banner. The Lord my victory;
Whatever may be the battle, the Lord can raise you up in the midst of it.