DOING THE DIFFICULT: JUST DO IT

INTRODUCTION

Some people love challenges. They’ll look at something new. Something hard. And they’ll take up the challenge of doing it just to get the satisfaction or thrill of knowing they can do something they’ve never done before. Something hard. Challenging. Exhilarating.

 Just so you know, I am not that way at all. I am 1,000,000,000,000% a comfort-zone type of guy. I like doing the doable. That means it’s easy and doesn’t demand a whole lot of  my time, effort, or thinking. When it comes to what’s new, difficult, or challenging, you can generally count me out, folks. I’m not touching it with a ten-foot pole!  

 I won’t do the difficult—not unless I’m forced to—because life already has too many difficulties and challenges. I don’t need to  add to them. I don’t need any more trials or challenges!  I’m heading into my golden years and I love to relax, take it easy, and do what I love doing most. Can you guess what that is? It’s studying  the Bible and writing. I just love spending time with the Lord because He talks to me a lot of times—not audibly, but in my spirit—and He tells me lots of really neat stuff. Stuff that I’ve just got to share with you. This blog is a perfect example of the stuff God gives me when I spend time with Him. I love Him. I love what I’m doing. But I dread doing the difficult.

 Here’s a question for you. When the Lord asks you to do something difficult…no, strike that. When the Lord tells you to do something difficult, something you really don’t want to do, something you think is impossible, something that’s a Are you out of your mind? I can’t do that! type of thing; what do you do?

 Just so you know, you’re not the only one who’s had to do something really really hard. You’re not alone. We’ve all been there and done that. The biblical characters weren’t any different from us. In fact, they were exactly like us. Human. I’d like to draw on their life’s experiences and, from beyond the grave, as it were, let them share with us what we’ve got to do when the Lord gives us our Mission I M possible. By God’s grace, we can do what God’s counting on us to do! Here’s how.

JUST DO IT

David the King woke up one morning and got this hankering to number all the guys who could fight in his army (1 Chronicles 21:1). Poor guy didn’t know it was the devil who gave him this brilliant idea. (So you think the devil doesn’t give you any bright ideas? You’d better read verse 1 again. He does!) Anyways, Joab, David’s lead General, didn’t think this was a good idea. Unless God told you to count, you just didn’t count. That’s because you’d soon put your trust in your numbers and army to save you, not the Lord. So the General protested the order. The King, however, being the King, prevailed and Joab went out reluctantly and took the census.

Well, when it was all said and done, David felt guilty about what he’d done. Joab was right. He shouldn’t have made the head count. But it was too late. The numbers were in.

Now you would think that God wouldn’t punish anyone who felt bad about what he did. But sin carries a price and a consequence. When we choose to sin we’re automatically bound to suffer sin’s consequences. It’s the law of cause and effect. The law of sowing and reaping.

God doesn’t always do this, but in this particular case with David He gave David a choice of what punishment he’d have to suffer: (1) three years of famine; or (2) three months running from his enemies; or (3) three days of plague (1 Chronicles 21:11-12).

David knew God to be a very merciful God. His mercies are soooo great! David’s thinking God will be merciful. The plague can’t be all that bad. Sure, people are gonna get sick. Some might even die. But God’s soooo merciful and He’s not gonna let the plague get out of hand. That just won’t happen! He’s merciful! So, after thinking things through, David chose the three-day plague as his punishment.

To his horror and shocked surprise, the plague was truly and unimaginably catastrophic. On the third day of the plague, seventy-thousand people were dead on his account! Seventy-thousand! And God wasn’t done yet. The angel of destruction was headed to Jerusalem to finish his work when God had a change of heart and called for an end to the destruction. Were it not for that, thousands more would have died!

Seventy-thousand dead clearly wasn’t what David was expecting! He was stunned! This wasn’t how it was supposed to be! God’s merciful! What happened to His mercy? When David grasped the awful reality that confronted him, he, I’m sure quite bitterly, cried out to God and said, I’m the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? Let Your anger fall against me and my family (1 Chronicles 21:17). I can so hear, and feel, the anguish of his soul. It’s not easy living with the knowledge that you’ve killed seventy-thousand innocent folks.

David, I’m sure, isn’t feeling very good right now. He’s probably got a real attitude towards God. He’s human, remember. Just like us. He’s probably feeling really angry and ugly with God.

Here comes the truly incredible, difficult part. Do you know what God tells David to do? Build Me an altar and worship Me (1 Chronicles 21:18).

David’s probably saying, You’ve got to be kidding me! Are You for real? I’m feeling really really ticked right now. And You want me to worship You? How hard is that? Ever tried singing a song, let alone praising God, when you’re ballistic or in the depths of depression? God, we just don’t do that sort of thing. At least not right now. Wait till I calm down and feel better. I’ll worship you later. When I feel like it.

David’s feeling really bad. You know it. You feel his pain. He really doesn’t want to build an altar. He’s not in the mood. But he knows he’s got to do it because that’s the only way he’s gonna stop the killing. He disobeyed the Lord once and seventy-thousand folks died, no thanks to him. David can’t disobey the Lord again and have more innocents die on his account.

So reluctantly, tearfully, David builds the altar and offers a burnt and a peace offering to the Lord (1 Chronicles 21:26). Just like in Elijah’s day, fire came down from Heaven and consumed the offerings. God told the angel to stop the killing. And when David saw what was happening, do you know what he did? He offered more sacrifices to the Lord…only, this time, I’m very sure, he did so willingly with a heart full of holy fear and gratitude that the killing was done (1 Chronicles 21:28).

Folks, when the Lord tells you to do something that you just absolutely dread to do, can’t possibly do; just do it. You can do it. Otherwise God wouldn’t have told you to do it. Zip that lip. Get those attitudes right. And do it!  The consequences of not doing it are not gonna be pretty. You’ll regret disobeying the Lord. I guarantee you that. I can even hear a chorus of  Amens coming from beyond the grave. So buckle down. Chin up. And just do it!

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