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Trusting God When The Wells Are Dry Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2021 1:00 am

Trusting God When The Wells Are Dry Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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June 17, 2021 1:00 am

When tough times come—and they are coming—God shakes us up to make sure we remember who our real provider is. He can sustain us through adversity. Downsizing might not be fun, especially when it may be necessary. But even through trials God is working to develop our character. This message contains some key principles to hang onto when your crisis comes.

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. When tough times come, and they're coming, God shakes us up to make sure we remember who our real provider is. He can sustain us through adversity when we accept the limitations that adversity brings. Today, some key principles to hang onto when your crisis comes.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win, with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, is it wise to assume that adversity is inevitable? In other words, will we, like Abraham, find ourselves trusting God when the wells are dry? Dave, you can be sure that adversity is inevitable. It may not be the adversity that Abraham experienced where he needed water for his flocks and then went down into Egypt instead of trusting God in the land, but some kind of adversity comes to us all. And in the end, the greatest adversity from our standpoint is death, and that certainly is going to happen. You know, this series of messages, I believe, is a tremendous blessing to people, and I'll tell you why.

It deals realistically with the kind of issues that people face. Life is hard. And for a gift of any amount, these messages can be yours. Famines, deserts, and other hard places. Here's what you do.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, I'm going to be giving you this contact info at the end of this message because I want you to listen carefully now and the lessons that we learn from the life of Abraham. You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, what's the bottom line here? How does this change our lives and my particular famine? You may be in a situation where your wells are dry, so to speak, and I speak not only economically, but in terms of relationships, in terms of hardship, in terms of crisis. How does it affect us?

Let me give you some observations and then nail it to the wall for all of us. First of all, the God who saves us is the God who sustains us. The God who went with Abraham into the land would have been able to keep Abraham in the land.

No question about it. Now, as I already mentioned, it isn't wrong for us to move when we're in a famine in one part of the country and go to another. But for Abraham, this was unique. The problem was he believed in God's guidance into the land, but he couldn't trust God to sustain him in the land. There's a very interesting passage in the 26th chapter of Genesis. Genesis chapter 26, Isaac, the son of Abraham. It says, chapter 26 verse 1, now there was a famine in the land besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech, the king of the Philistines.

That's actually on the way to Egypt. And the Lord appeared to him and said, don't go down to Egypt, dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. And then God reiterates his covenant with Isaac, and Isaac trusts God to keep him in the midst of the famine and to grant him the grace to stay there. And what follows in the rest of the chapter is quite unique and even surprising because we notice that Isaac, it says in verse 12, Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundred fold.

Well, that's unique, isn't it? He was in the land of famine, but God says, I am going to provide for you in the midst of your famine. Not going to take the famine away, but I'm going to grant you grace and strength so that you can live in the midst of the famine. To those of you who are going through an actual economic famine, what this means is that where we are, where we are. We can't change our situation. Many of us perhaps can't who are going through that. We can't change where we go. We can't just pick up and move.

It's so complicated. Can God sustain you in the midst of that heartache, debt, famine? The answer is yes. Isaac reminds us of the fact that you should be willing to do anything. You should be willing to trust God not only for a harvest, but the rest of the chapter in 26 says that the Philistines filled the wells that Abraham had dug. And Isaac went, it says, and he re-dug Abraham's wells, and they had water.

Look around. There may be some move you can make that you've not thought of. And one of the moves, since we're speaking economically, certainly is downsizing. I know that there are some folks who said this, and this is an actual story, though not connected to Moody Church, about a real estate developer who is making so much money, Christian. And he said, you know, we just open our hands like this, and God fills it, one success after another. And then when the downturn came in the real estate market, and he was unable to meet his obligations, he suddenly learned something, that God sustains us in the midst of famine, but we may live through the famine, but we can't live as we always lived. He had to downsize. He had to sell off.

He had to lose a lot of money. But that, from God's standpoint, is part of the teaching. He says, I will sustain you in the midst of the famine. It may be hard.

It may be difficult, but don't give up hope. And the reason that we should not give up hope is because of the next observation I'd like us to make, and that is that God doesn't leave us even when we leave him. God doesn't leave us even when we leave him. Here's Abraham, and he is supposed to be sustained in the land. And he panics, decides to do something foolish, go into Egypt, and next week I'm going to tell you about some people. I have their letters in my file, who in the midst of financial need have done very foolish things. In one or two instances, it is men who, without their wife knowing it, invested money in a get-rich-quick scheme that they found, hoping to cash in on all of this money, only to discover that their nest egg became a yoke.

And it didn't work at all. Does God abandon us then? Because you see, there are two different kinds of famines. There's the famine over which we have absolutely no control. That's the famine that Abraham had when he was in Egypt. You don't control those kinds of things.

None of us controls the economy or the company in which we work. We can't control that. But the famine, I'm putting it in quotes, that Abraham experienced when he was in Egypt, that mess was self-created. And today there are some of you who are in a self-created hard place. Somebody told you, don't marry that guy, and you thought that you knew better, but they were right, weren't they?

Somebody said, no, no, your wife told you, don't invest money there. I don't know why it is, but women have this fifth sense or sixth sense. They have more sense than we do anyway. And they say no, and you know better.

But the point is this, that some messes are self-made. Does God say, well, Abraham, you know, when you left the promised land to go into Egypt, I stopped at the border because I'm not going to have anything to do with somebody who so disobeys me and uses deceit in order to get ahead and to save his neck. Did God say that?

No. God walks with us. God is there with us. God accompanies Abraham into Egypt.

God brings a plague on Pharaoh for Abraham's benefit. God restores Abraham even though his testimony is lost, and he discovers that, you know what, this God who led me is also the God who forgives me. He's the God who restores me, and he's the God that I can worship again. I can build another altar.

I can come back from my backslidings. Some of you, and you know who you are, you have become so cynical in your walk with God. There is no longer really warm fellowship because you feel that God wasn't there for you.

And you say to yourself, I'm in a mess. I've made it, and God's not helping me in it. If you're a believer, God is with you there. He is for you.

He's rooting for you. But he wants you to come back into fellowship. He wants you to say that I've strayed long enough.

I've done my own thing long enough. I want to come back because it is better to have a dry well in Canaan than it is the lush pasture land of Egypt. It is better to have a dry well than a poisoned oasis. And so the Lord says, return to me, believe me, and trust me. There's a final lesson, and it really is the bottom line of everything. Every famine we go through, every famine, is in test of our trust. Now, of course, when I speak about famines in the next message, I'm going to talk about the need for us as a community to walk through famine. But for now, I'm talking about us as individuals. It is always, always a test. We have to just stand back of this passage and think about it again.

You never get tired about thinking about the scriptures and meditating on it. Why did Abraham say, if we go down into Egypt, they may kill me? What do you mean they may kill me? Was there any chance in the world that Abraham could die in Egypt and be killed? Of course not.

Why? Well, it's because God just plainly told him, I'm giving you this land, and I'm giving it to your descendants. He didn't have any descendants at that point. How could the promise of God possibly be fulfilled if the Egyptians had killed him? Even if Abraham had said, I'm going down to Egypt, he should have simply said, I'm going down.

We're going to tell the truth. My life is in God's hands. It's not in Pharaoh's hands. God gave me a promise that someday through my seed, this land would be populated, and that's good enough for me.

My life in God is secure. It's very interesting that in the book of Galatians chapter 3, verse 8, you know what the Apostle Paul says? He says that when God said to Abraham, in thy seed, the nations of the earth shall be blessed. He actually said that Abraham believed the gospel. He said the gospel was preached to Abraham. We look at the text and we say, boy, there's no gospel here, nothing about Jesus dying for our sins. No, all that will eventually come to pass, but inherent within the promise that in thy seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed, within that promise there was entailed the coming of Jesus the Redeemer.

Wow, you know what the bottom line was? Abraham experienced a crisis of faith. He could not trust God to continue. To lead there, yes, but beyond that, he couldn't grasp it, and he failed. Every famine is a test. Can we trust God no matter whether it's a famine we've created or one created for us?

Can we trust him? That's always the issue. Some time ago when I landed at O'Hare Field, the plane that I was on stopped at a gate that was very far from baggage claim. Shortly after I got off the plane, I found myself in step with a young mother. I want to describe her to you.

She had a baby in one arm. She was pulling her suitcase with the other hand, and she had a little toddler, perhaps three, trying to keep up with her, going ahead and behind as little toddlers do, and I had a free hand. So I said to her, would you let me pull your suitcase?

I have only one briefcase. I'd be glad to. She said, no, no, no, she says, she says, I can handle it. I said, I promise I will stay in step with you wherever you are going. Just let me pull it for you.

No, no, no, I'll take care of it. Later on, as I meditated on that, I realized that she was just obeying a little bit of common sense and wisdom. You just don't trust a man you've never met before. Fact is, I could have taken that suitcase and in 10 steps or less been in the crowd and disappear, and then what was she to do? But I thought to myself how different that all would have ended if she had known me. She'd been a member of Moody Church or an attender. If she knew me, and I'd have said, may I pull your suitcase for you?

May I take it? And she probably would have said, well, sure, here's my suitcase. And by the way, here's the baby, too. And then I thought about how Jesus walks with us in life, how we are carrying our suitcases and trying to manage and trying to manipulate and trying to control. And some of that all may not be wrong. But at the end of the day, Jesus said, don't you see that I'm beside you? Why don't you let me carry your baggage?

Instead of just praying all the time, frazzled prayers that have no faith. Oh God, help me. Help me, help me, help me.

Nothing wrong with that. Peter prayed in desperation and said, help me. I perish.

And it worked for him. But I think, and here, of course, I'm just using my imagination. I think that in heaven, all of the angels are processing these prayers and taking a lot of them and just throwing them in the wastebasket. Because what they're saying is, Father, they keep asking you for help, but one thing they will not do, and that is trust. They will not take their sin and their failure and their concern and their deserts and their famines and just turn them over to me.

Doesn't mean it's an immediate answer. But you are walking with somebody beside you whom, if you knew his heart, and I know I desire to know his heart and wouldn't claim that I know his heart completely in any way, he'd say, let me carry it for you. I've not abandoned you. I'm walking in your direction.

And if you're going the wrong direction, I'll even lead you in the right direction. But today, could we tell Jesus that we give him our suitcase? It may be a relational issue. It may be a financial issue.

It could be a health issue. The Bible does say, cast all your burdens upon him because he cares for you. He really cares for you and knows the famine that you're going through, knows how it's going to end, and knows your part in it. Today at the Moody Church, we're going to have the privilege of singing in just a moment. And when that happens, prayer partners are going to step out of the aisles. I'm told we have about 27 different places in this sanctuary where you can find a prayer partner. If you're in the balcony, you go up the stairs. They'll be at the top of the stairs in the rotunda area. What I want you to do is to ask this prayer partner, and you don't even have to ask them because they are ready, to simply take your request in a single sentence and commit it to God and trust him to do it.

Now, that's not the end of it. What I want you to do this morning, I would like you to do every day of your life as I try to do. We always live in surrender, not just prayer, though thank God for prayer, but in submission to God. Because what we'd like to see here at the Moody Church is to see God answer so many prayers, because they are prayers made in faith and commitment, because he really does care for you.

He really does. Let's pray. Father, we thank you today for the story of Abraham, and even in his failure, we see ourselves. Now, restore your people, Lord. There are people going through times of very great famine.

Some can't pay their bills. Other people are going through times of stress, questioning your will, not knowing where you want them. Lord, every person, every one, including the one on this platform, is all filled with questions, concerns, burdens. Today, in faith, we give them to you. Help your people to connect, to be willing to share, that we might see your glory in this place. And for those who have never trusted Christ as Savior, may they lay their burden down and receive you today.

In Jesus' name, amen. Well, my friend, this is Pastor Lutzer. I have to tell you after many years of ministry that I have learned that oftentimes it is very difficult for people to trust, for us to trust, that God cares for us. Because the natural response is, if he cares, why this?

Why that? Why health issues? Why money issues?

Why relational issues? You know what God wants us to do? He wants us to trust him and to believe through these experiences that he walks with us, even if he doesn't take away the circumstances. And by the way, speaking about God and prayer and waking up in the morning, as I mentioned in the message, this morning, after I got out of bed, I sat on a chair. And once again, I quoted a verse of scripture that I try to quote every morning. Psalm 34 verse 1, I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

That's the way to begin the day, to trust him. And this series of messages, I believe, is a tremendous blessing simply because it deals realistically with the kinds of challenges we face and the difficulty of believing God when the wells are dry, whether it's famines, deserts, or other hard places. For a gift of any amount, these messages can be yours.

Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. And let me remind you, the reason that we make these resources available is to help you and to help me make it all the way to the finish line, all the way into the presence of Christ.

The title of the series, Famines, Deserts, and Other Hard Places. So as I mentioned, for a gift of any amount, go to rtwoffer.com. Or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. And remember, if you are blessed as a result of this ministry, it's because other people invested in this ministry. Thank you so much for helping us. Thank you for praying for us. Our desire is to help thousands upon thousands of people walk with God.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Sorrow comes to all of us, and it's through tears that we learn to depend on God for every breath, every bite of food, and every dollar. Next time, a story of famine and how God met a woman's needs. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-03 11:59:48 / 2023-11-03 12:08:04 / 8

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