The message was brought by Rev. James Childers.
II Samuel 21: 10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.
Saul was king of Israel but not the one God wanted on the throne. The leaders of Israel decided they wanted to be like other nations. They had kings; so they wanted one. God gave them Saul. He did wrong. In the course of his reign he made an agreement with the Gibeonites. For joining forces with him, he promised to take care of them. They agreed, but over the course of time Saul changed his mind and made war with them. Saul is gone. He’s dead. David is now the rightful king of Israel. A famine came over the land. David prayed. Isn’t it wonderful that we can pray when things go wrong in our lives! The problem in the land of Israel was the sin of Saul. David went to the camp of the Gibeonites to make it right. They didn’t want gold or silver. They asked for seven sons of Saul to hang on crosses. David agreed. Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth was spared because of the agreement between David and Jonathan. Two of the sons handed over belonged to Rizpah, the woman mentioned in the scripture. She went to the crosses where her sons’ bodies were, spread out her sackcloth and stayed there to scare away the fowls and beasts that would have eaten their bodies. The animals are like the devil that fights against us. With all of her strength Rizpah guarded the bodies of her sons. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we’d make up our minds that there are some things the devil can’t have?
Notice this mother’s focus was on the birds and beasts. She could do nothing for their lives; they were dead. All she could do was keep watch over the bodies. We need our focus to be right. We’re not fighting against other churches or other Christians. Our fight is with the devil, and we need to focus on what he can do to us if we let our guard down. Notice the Bible says she put her sackcloth on THE rock. We can sit on that promise as she did.
There are some things the devil ought not have. Most people and churches have lost ground. The devil stole things he had no business touching. It’s happened at my church; it’s happened at this church—it’s happened at every church. The devil would like nothing better than to close the doors of this church. Too often we worry about the crowd who isn’t here and forget to offer our joy and praise. If we give the devil an open door, he’ll take the house. Give him an inch, he’ll take a mile. Be concerned about uplifting the King of Glory and let him take care of the rest.
The devil ought not to have our family. Family is the most important thing you and I have, and we shouldn’t trade it for anything. God is the author of the family. He put man and woman on the earth to replenish it. God blesses the family. You should point your finger in the devil’s face and tell him he can’t have your family. Dad and mom knew the importance of raising the family in church. Four of five boys are working in the church in some kind of ministry. Too often we find parents who have quit praying for their kids. They never witness to them. They never sit down and talk with them about the Lord. How serious are we about keeping our family together? If you have a husband or wife sitting with you in church, you have grounds to shout. I know many who don’t. I know many who used to teach or preach and have ruined testimonies because they let their guard down. The devil doesn’t care whose family he gets—yours or mine. Don’t let him.
The devil shouldn’t get our faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 states for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. How were you saved? The grace of God? You must finish it—the grace of God through faith. For some that is their last act of faith. It’s not something you hold in your hands and look at. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Just how much do you believe? It’s sad that many have forgotten what got us here. These lights are beautiful, but they don’t impress God. He’s the one who said let there be light. He created it. The carpet doesn’t impress God; he owns a place where the streets are gold. The pews are nice, but they don’t impress God; he sits on a glorious throne. This building doesn’t move God. He owns a place indescribable. What moves God? Faith. Believe this book. God keeps his promises. In Mark 2, four men brought a paralyzed friend to Jesus. When they got there, the house was so full they couldn’t get in. The Bible says they let him down through the roof and when Jesus saw their faith, he told the man to get up and walk. Tell the devil he’ll not steal your faith.
The devil ought not to get our future. Let’s say the steps on the left are the day I was born, and the steps over on the right are the day I’ll die. I’m 70 years old, so I’ll put myself over here close to the steps on the right. If I go by dad and mom’s life, I have 8 or 9 years left. My 70 years are history. I can’t change a thing about them. All I can do anything with is the time left from here to the day I die. What I do between now and then I want God to notice.
There are not many days left. If we have family and friends who are lost, we need to get to them. This is a true story of three brothers who went to a church near Boone. All three raised their hand for prayer but neither made a move to give their hearts to the Lord. As they left, all three told the preacher they’d be back the next Sunday. A few minutes later the youngest one went up to the preacher and asked him “how far is it to heaven?” He caught the preacher off guard with the question. He told him he didn’t really know what to tell him but he’d give him an answer the next week. On Thursday night all three brothers died in a fire and on Sunday their caskets were brought into the church. The preacher went up to the casket of the one who asked him the question and said “heaven was 387 feet away.” It was the distance from their door to the front of the church where their caskets were sitting. The thing is heaven could be only a heartbeat away. If you know people who aren’t saved, it’s time to agonize with God about them. Don’t let the devil get them.
Don’t let the devil get your family. Don’t let him get your faith. It can get weak. Ask God to increase it. Maybe you just need to ask God to help you make the most of your future.