While on this journey, we encounter mountains that seem to get higher and higher; they get so high that there are times when we believe it to be impossible to make it to the top. Sometimes we encounter valleys that appear to be so treacherous that we become overcome by our fear. There are times that the way (that path) we are on can become so crooked that, again, we believe it to be impossible to pass.
We may get to the point where we are just about ready to give up on the journey. How many of you have ever reached a point to where you have simply said, “I’m tired!” or “enough is enough”?
These are simple expressions, but these expressions carry a lot of weight, don’t they? Maybe you have been there before, or maybe you are currently there now, so you know just how deep those expressions are. These are the realities of being on this journey – it’s a very tough journey. I want to bring those expressions into focus today.
If you are tired and you’re starting to feel that the way you are going is impossible, I want to tell you that my God will make a way for you! I can tell you this in full confidence. Even when you feel that the Lord is not, or will not make a way for you, I tell you that my God will make a way for you!
“God has done nothing for me”
There are many who doubt that the Lord can make a way for them.
Somebody has heard it said that God will make a way before and they will now say, “Preacher, God has done nothing for me, so why should I believe what you are saying?” There is this inevitable feeling that many of us have in that we feel God is either doing little or nothing at all. When we are sick, if the sickness gets worse instead of better, we say, “God is doing nothing for me.” If we have aches and pains, and those aches and pains get worse instead of better, we say, “God is doing nothing for me.” And of course, when nothing seems to be happening at the pace we want it, we say, “God ain’t doing a thing for me!”
That is a phrase I have gotten used to hearing. I often wonder why so many people insinuate that the Lord does nothing for them. The answer, I believe, lies in two different ways that a person thinks.
Doubting God’s authority
The first I feel is the most obvious: the doubting of God. There is a growing group of people that would like to believe in God but they cannot bring themselves to truly believe. This person often says, “If God is God, then He should be able to do (fill in the blank) right now!” Problems should go away instantaneously for this group of people. Blessings should also be instant for this group of people.
For them, the way starts to appear to be hard or impossible and this person believes the Lord should step in but they don’t want to have faith in Him.
Can God make a way for this person? Let’s answer this question in a moment.
We are not worthy
The next way of thinking is one I really want to bring into focus because there are many people who believe this.
In this group is the person that believes in the Lord, but they do not believe they are worthy of His blessings. Some see and believe that God has made a way for others, but they themselves are not worthy of the Lord making a way for them. Why? Some may believe themselves to be “heathens” and for this reason, they are not worthy of receiving blessings from God.
(“I have done this terrible thing in the past or I am not a good person so God will not make a way for me.”) This person, though they may not realize it is letting the guilt of their sin hold them back. The guilt of their sin is stopping them from believing that God can do anything for them. So, instead of believing in what God can do for them, their faith in what He can do for them disappears. So, they end up staying stuck with the mountain, the valley, and crooked places before them.
We have to remove this way of thinking
I am reminded of the man who was born blind (John 9:1-12). As Jesus and the disciples passed by the man, the disciples asked Jesus (John 9:2), “who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born in this condition?” Having such a disability was thought to be a form of punishment from the Lord.
You see, many of us share this same way of thinking as the disciples. Job’s friends thought this same way about him. When Job had lost all that he possessed, including his loved ones. Job’s friends thought he had done some wrong against God and that the Lord was punishing him. The insinuation was that Job was no longer worthy of the Lord’s blessings.
Many of us believe that God is punishing us for some sin that we have done. We look at where we are and what we may be going through as some form of punishment. Whether you want to hear this or not, we need to let go of this way of thinking. Not everything that you go through is a punishment from the Lord. We may not understand it when we are going through some things but the Lord is always working on our behalf.
God works revealed through them that believe
I want us to pay close attention to what Jesus said to the disciples in response.
3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.John 9:3 NKJV
Not everybody has a big salary and truth be told, not everybody will a big salary. Everybody does not get to have the fancy house and truth be told, not everybody will have the fancy house. Just because you may not have these things, it does not mean that God thinks little of you. In fact, you will find that the opposite is true in this situation. “So God has created me to suffer?” is what we will ask next.
The real question is, however, do you believe what God can do for you? Another question that I want to ask is, “do you trust what God can do with and for you?”
Lesson through God straightening out the path of Cyrus “the Great”
Again, I feel we must see what God has done for one who was thought to not be worthy so that we can lose that way of thinking.
In the book of Isaiah, we are given a prophecy of a man named Cyrus (Is. 45:1-5). This prophecy is remarkable for a couple of reasons that I want to point out to you. Firstly, this prophecy was made nearly 200 years before Cyrus was born. Let’s remember that prophecies were not something that simply came from man, but was a message given to man by God and then relayed by man. The magnitude of the length of time between the prophecy and the coming of Cyrus already illustrates to us the power/knowledge of God.
The second reason why this prophecy is remarkable is because Cyrus was not of Israel – He was a Gentile. (A gentile was anybody who was not of one of the 12 tribes of Israel.) This is remarkable because in those days God was simply thought of as only the God of Israel. It was believed that the Lord’s power was only available to an Israelite and not to anybody else. Gentiles were thought to be unworthy of the Lord! Let’s look at some scripture here for a moment.
Cyrus the anointed of God
I want to show you how important this gentile named Cyrus was to the Lord.
“Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut:Isaiah 45:1 NKJV
Let’s notice that God calls this gentile man His anointed and holds his right hand. Anointing a king was a practice of the Israelites; it signified the Lord’s anointing. You may recall from a sermon a preached a few months ago – Staying Confident With Your Anointing – that anointing was/is the practice of good shepherds. David sang (Ps. 23) that the Lord anoints his head with oil. God would do this spiritually as a means (or sign) of His spiritual care and protection.
For God to say this of a gentile, in the Old Testament, is truly remarkable! Remarkable from the standpoint that gentiles were not supposed to be worthy of such care and protection from God. Yet, look at God saying that He would be Cyrus’ provider and protector!
When they were in bondage in Egypt, God used a fellow Israelite (Moses) to bring them out of bondage. In the time of Isaiah, the northern kingdom would be conquered by Assyria. Jerusalem (the southern kingdom) was conquered by the Babylonians during the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. God was going to use Cyrus in a way that I imagine the Israelites thought would be impossible.
You are just as worthy as Cyrus
For those who believe they are too much of a heathen, or too bad, or simply not worthy of saving, God is more than capable! A lot of times people get into the habit of looking at and comparing themselves to those around them. Some people may look at a person of faith and thin to themselves, “I cannot have the faith that they have because I have done (fill in the blank).” You should never feel like you are not worthy of God because He found you worthy well before you entered into this world!
God sent His only begotten Son for you so I definitely know that you and myself are worthy of the Lord’s anointing! For those of us who have believed, but feel our path is messed up because of something we have done, we must remember that God is a forgiving God. The gift of forgiveness was given to all of those who believed in His only begotten Son that died for both Jew and Gentiles.
Straightening out the path before us
Let us now look at something else the Lord said to Cyrus in this prophecy. (This will be my key verse for today’s sermon.)
For the doubter of the Lord’s power, we have already seen the first part of the prophecy of a man who would come 200 years after it was made. God then says to Cyrus that He (the Lord) will make the crooked places straight.
Cyrus was considered a world leader during his time. God took this man that many Israelites would have thought was unworthy of the Lord’s blessings (because of what he was) and made him a world leader. Cyrus defeated the Babylonians as the king of Persia and allowed the Israelites to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1).
(Cyrus was truly a different type of king compared to other kings that predated him or came after him.) Many of the kings in that time were driven by their wealth or the idea of their legacy. Cyrus became a leader and instead of holding people captive and making them worship him, he freed them so that they could worship the Lord. I want to tell you today that God has also found you worthy and is more than capable of using you.
God is a fixer
Do you trust what God can do with and for you? Example after example liters the scriptures of the Lord’s power and what He can do with those who are thought to be no good. Abraham was a lowly nomad. Moses was a murderer. David was the runt of Jesse’s boys. The disciples were of poor education. Paul prosecuted the church.
Time after time the Lord made a way for those who thought the way to be impossible. Israel and the Red Sea. The Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace. Daniel when he was in the lion’s den. Israel when they were in the bondage of Babylon. Mankind when we were lost and in the bondage of sin – God made a way out of no way.
God will make a way out of no way
I have said this before and it will continue to be my shout – God is a specialist in doing the impossible! If the path you are on needs to be straightened out, again, I tell you to turn to the Lord who says, “I will make the crooked places straight.” Let’s go a step even further, God also said, “I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron.” Any barrier that may be in your path, God says that He will break them!
You who are of no faith, how can you expect any of these things to happen for you when you don’t believe in the one with the power to make it so?
Some people don’t have to go over the mountains that you have had to do go over. Others may not have to go through the valleys that you have had to go through. That begin said, God has you where you are so that the works of God can be revealed through you! Again, the question is whether you believe what God can do for you, and do you trust what God can do with and for you?