Digging ditches can lead to blessings

| February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

Footsteps in Faith

Chaplain (Capt.) Lee Frye
Battalion Chaplain
19th Military Police Battalion
6th MP Group
8th Theater Sustainment Command
The other day, I was in a waiting room and happened to hear a conversation a few seats away. I didn’t really mean to eavesdrop, but it was unavoidable; plus, the subject caught my attention, especially since I’m a chaplain.

A group of people were talking about the kind of church they wanted to attend, and this is what one of the women said: “Well, I’m looking for a church where the preacher tells a little story and makes a nice point. I don’t want a church that has one of those verse-by-verse preachers!”

Well, I smiled to myself, because I am one of those verse-by-verse preachers, and today I would like to share with you an interesting passage that I came across recently. It’s a story about a prophet by the name of Elisha, and his story is found in 2 Kings, Chapter 3.

For some of you, this might be the first time you’ve ever been introduced to this story, but it’s a very interesting one with several great life-lessons, but today I only want to point out one.

Footsteps in Faith

Footsteps in Faith

The background
At this time, the nation of Israel had divided into two rival kingdoms, the northern kingdom of Israel, which was idolatrous, and the southern kingdom of Judah, which still retained to some extent semblance of Judeo-Christian values.

Up in the northern kingdom, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were two of the most despicable people in the Scriptures. They had a son, Joram, who was heir to the throne, and when King Ahab was killed, Joram ascended to the throne and he was evil, though not as evil as his father.

Down in Judah, the reigning king at the time was named Jehoshaphat, and he was a relatively good king. Now, in this chapter, the two of them are going to join their armies to attack the nation of Moab, and they also recruited the king of Edom and his army, but things don’t go as planned.

So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.

“What!” exclaimed the king of Israel? “Has God called us three kings together only to hand us over to Moab?”

We don’t know why the kings and the generals of these two armies didn’t have enough provisions or enough water. Perhaps, they underestimated the length of the march, or perhaps, their anticipated water sources had dried up. Or, maybe the king of Edom was a weak link in the alliance, but for whatever reason, they found themselves in the middle of the mid-eastern desert sands without any water in their canteens, and the situation was desperate.

“This is what the God says: Make the valley full of ditches”

The life lesson

And now we come to the life-lesson from this story that I wanted to share with you.

To experience God’s blessings, dig ditches. Look with me at what the Scripture says in 2 Kings 3:15:

The hand of God came upon Elisha and he said, “This is what God says: Make the valley full of ditches. For this is what God says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the hands of God; he will also hand Moab over to you. You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.” The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it waswater flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.

I can visualize the perplexity and oddness of this scene. Here you have platoons of soldiers who are thirsty and hot and dry and upset. They want some guidance from their generals and suddenly this command filters down through the ranks. Take your e-tools and start digging trenches and ditches in the red-rock desert of Edom. It was a lot of work and it was counter-intuitive and it seemed to be senseless.

But the order was firm and the men obeyed. Perhaps, they thought they were digging battle trenches. But soon the trenches and ditches were shimmering with cool, life-giving water. They had done the work, and God had supplied the water. They had done the possible, and God had done the impossible. They had obeyed the command, and God had sent the blessing.

When I was a boy, my parents used to tell me to study hard in school, to be diligent, to do my lessons, or else, they said, I would grow up to dig ditches. Somehow ditch digging was at the bottom rung. It was always, you don’t want to grow up to dig ditches.

And now I’ve grown up, and all I am is a ditch digger after all. In fact, all we do in our professional lives is dig ditches and ask God to fill them. All we do in our personal lives, if we do anything at all for God, is to dig ditches and trust that God is going to supply the living water.

That’s what I mean by digging ditches. Every time we try to say a word for God, or help our children or do an act of kindness, we’re digging ditches for Him. And we depend on Him to fill the ditches with the water of life.

And I want you to notice one other thing. As God provided the water, it not only gave life to the Soldiers there; it thwarted and frustrated the enemy and brought about the victory. The enemy was defeated, the war was won, the cause prevailed, and God received the glory.

And it will be the same for you and me if we’re faithful ditch-diggers.

Tags: ,

Category: Standing Columns

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *