from JO’s sermon tonight:
we all go through situations where life is not fair. sometimes, other people’s poor choices have a negative effect on us. maybe you were raised in an unhealthy environment, now you’re still struggling with the same addictions, depression, anger; it keeps getting passed down. some people have been mistreated, taken advantage of, now they have to deal with guilt, shame, feeling like they don’t measure up; it wasn’t even their fault, somebody else dropped them. I’ve learned, you can’t live very long without being dropped: dropped by an illness, divorce, a friend that turns on you. it’s easy to get discouraged and think, “this is my lot in life, it’s never going to change.” no, you may have been dropped, but the good news is, God knows how to pick you back up. David said:
Psalm 40:2 (NIV)
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
David had been dropped by rejection, people coming against him, and his own mistakes and failures. but God said, in effect, “David, don’t worry, that drop is not the end. that bad break, that person that hurt you, addiction, sickness, is not the end of your story. you may have been dropped, but you need to get ready, God is about to lift you up, set you on a higher place, take you where you could not go on your own; to a new level, with new opportunities, new friendships, new joy, new health, new fulfillment. you’re not going to come out the same way; the scripture talks about how God will pay us back double for the unfair things that have happened:
Zechariah 9:12 (ESV)
12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.
Isaiah 61:7 (NIV)
7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land
when you go through a disappointment, when you get dropped, don’t get bitter, discouraged, get ready for double, increase, favor, new levels. God has not forgotten about you; He has seen every tear you’ve shed, every hurt, every lonely night, every person that’s done you wrong. God is a God of justice. He told the Israelites when they were in slavery, being mistreated, taken advantage of:
Exodus 3:8 (ESV)
8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians
He was saying, “I’m coming down to pick you back up, I’m coming down to bring justice.” notice what causes God to get off the throne, what causes the Creator of the universe to stop what He’s doing and take action, is when He sees you being mistreated. when God sees that injustice, He doesn’t sit back and say, “well, too bad,” no, He says, “that’s My son, My daughter, My most prized possession; they’ve been dropped, now I’ve gotta get up and do something about it.” when God goes to work, all the forces of darkness cannot stop Him. people, bad breaks, sickness can’t stop Him; God will make your wrongs right, pay you back for the trouble, get you to where you’re supposed to be. but the truth is, we all get dropped in life, and it’s easy to feel alone, forgotten, like you don’t matter, but don’t believe those lies; God said:
Isaiah 49:15-16 (NIV)
15 … I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands
every time God opens His hand, He sees your name, He is reminded of you. you may have had some bad breaks, closed doors, some people come against you, but God has not forgotten about your dreams, the promises that He’s given you. He didn’t forget about that baby you want to have, that husband or wife you’ve been praying about, that wholeness, healing, freedom that you need. stay in faith. life happens to all of us; you may get dropped, but remember, it’s only temporary. God sees it; He’s not only going to lift you back up, but He’s going to set you on a higher place. you’re going to come out better off than you were before. this is what happened to a young man in the scripture named Mephibosheth. he was the grandson of King Saul and the son of Jonathan; he was born into royalty, destined to one day take the throne, his future was very bright. as a child, he was being raised by loving nurses, people that treated him with great kindness, made sure to meet his every need; they knew they were dealing with the future king. but when he was five years old, his father and his grandfather, King Saul, were both killed in a battle. messengers rushed to Mephibosheth’s house, to tell them the terrible news, and to inform them that the army was on their way to try to wipe out all of King Saul’s relatives.
2 Samuel 4:4 (NIV)
4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)
Mephibosheth had not done anything wrong, it wasn’t his fault, yet he’s having to pay the price for somebody else’s mistake; it doesn’t seem fair. sometimes in life, well-meaning people can drop you. they didn’t mean to hurt you, they made a mistake, said some things that they shouldn’t have. or they worked all the time, struggling to make ends meet, they weren’t there when you really needed them. perhaps they had bad habits and addictions passed down to them, now they’re passing them on down to you. they weren’t bad people, they had our best interest at heart, but like this nurse they dropped us. we can become crippled with low self-esteem, addictions, depression. even though Mephibosheth was the grandson of the king, even though he had royalty in his blood, he ended up living in a place called Lo Debar, one of the poorest, most rundown cities of that day. year after year went by. I’m sure he thought, “nobody remembers me. I used to be somebody important, somebody that was respected, I used to be excited about my future, I had big dreams, but look at me now, I’m a cripple, I can’t even walk, I’m living in the slums, nobody cares about me, I don’t have any friends, and it wasn’t even my fault; somebody else dropped me.”
he felt alone, forgotten, like it would never change. but here’s the beauty; nothing goes unnoticed with our God. God saw his father killed and taken away at a young age, and the well-meaning nurse drop him, his once-normal legs that could run and jump and play instantly becoming crippled. God saw the despair, poverty, lack, that he was living in. God didn’t say, “well Mephibosheth, you sure got some bad breaks, you need to find a more sure-footed nurse next time, she really messed your life up,” no, God said, “Mephibosheth, I have not forgotten about you; I’ve got you carved into the palm of My hand. you’re always on My mind. yes, you may have been dropped, but that bad break is not the end; I am a God of justice, I’m going to pay you back for what has happened.” one day, King David was on the throne of Israel, sitting in the palace minding his own business, when all of a sudden he felt this desire to be good to some of Saul’s relatives. this is unusual, because Saul was the one that tried to kill David; he was the one that chased David through the wilderness and make his life miserable. yet David said:
2 Samuel 9:1 (NIV)
9 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
why would David want to be kind to one of his enemies? that was God whispering in David’s ear, giving him a desire to be good to someone that had been dropped. God can make things happen that you could never make happen on your own. you may say, “I’m stuck. I’ve had these bad breaks, I’ll never accomplish my dreams, never get out of this mess, never be fulfilled”; no, you need to get ready, your time is coming. God is about to whisper in somebody’s ear to be good to you. you didn’t deserve it, you couldn’t earn it, but for no reason somebody gives you a good break, somebody offers you the job, somebody gives you the contract, somebody steps up and solves the problem for you. don’t get discouraged: justice is coming, restoration is coming, new beginnings are on their way. when David asked if any of Saul’s relatives were still alive:
2 Samuel 9:3-4 (NIV)
3 The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”
Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”
4 “Where is he?” the king asked.
Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”
one of his assistants said, “he’s crippled, he can’t even walk, no use wasting your time with him, he’s never going to amount to anything.” they tried to talk David out of it, but:
2 Samuel 9:5 (NIV)
5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.
Mephibosheth was living in exile, hoping that nobody knew that he was related to King Saul; after all, Saul had not treated David right. imagine what the people thought when they saw these officials from the palace, wearing their royal uniforms, show up in Lo Debar and start searching through the slums for this crippled man; the whole city was stirring, buzzing with excitement. word finally reached Mephibosheth that people were there from the palace; he asked, “what are they doing here in Lo Debar of all places?” they said, “Mephibosheth, they’re looking for you.” his heart skipped a beat. he thought, “my luck has run out, they finally found me, they’re going to get rid of me.” the officials came bursting in and said, “Mephibosheth, get up and come with us, you’re being summoned by the king.” the problem is, Mephibosheth couldn’t walk; they had to carry him to the palace.
King David was expecting to see someone that looked like King Saul, his grandfather; Saul stood head and shoulders above the rest, looked like a king, had a presence that commanded respect, walked like he was royalty. but when David opened the door and saw Mephibosheth on the ground, frail, emaciated, legs shriveled up, hair not combed, clothes dirty, David said to his assistant, “are you sure this is the grandson of the King? are you sure this man is royalty?” they said, “yes sir, we are certain.” David looked at him and said, “Mephibosheth, what happened to you?” Mephibosheth wouldn’t even look at David; he was too insecure, afraid, embarrassed. he said, “King David, when I was five years old, and my father and grandfather were killed, somebody dropped me, and my life has never been the same.” that could’ve been the end of the story; David could’ve said, “too bad for you, you should’ve seen how your grandfather treated me, I don’t feel sorry for you one bit, you’re getting what your family deserved.” Mephibosheth is there on the ground, afraid, trembling, thinking that it’s the end. David smiled and said:
2 Samuel 9:7-9 (NIV)
7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.”
maybe today, like Mephibosheth, you feel like you’ve been dropped, you’ve had a bad break, a loss, you weren’t treated right. it would be easy to settle there, be discouraged, not expect anything good; no, you need to get ready, you’re about to be summoned to the palace. God is about to pay you back; not just what should’ve been yours, God is going to give you what belonged to your forefathers. it’s going to be far and beyond favor; you didn’t have to work for it, it’s just the goodness of God, paying you back, bringing justice. you may not see how it can happen, but God has the right people He can speak to about you. He’s softening the right hearts. God’s going to pay you back for an unfair childhood, pay you back for the person they did you wrong, pay you back for that baby you couldn’t have. don’t sit around in self-pity; there’s a seat at the King’s table waiting for you. God has already prepared it; it has your name on it, it’s a seat of favor, healing, restoration, increase. you have royal blood in your veins; the most high God breathed His life into you. He has destined you to live in the palace: that means a place of blessing, wholeness, honor, victory.
don’t settle for Lo Debar, don’t get comfortable surviving, enduring, barely getting by. “I’ve have a lot of bad breaks, my life hasn’t turned out the way I thought”; that may be true, but that didn’t change who you are. you’re still royalty, you still have that crown of favor, you still have that DNA of Almighty God. get this down in your spirit; it’s payback time. people may have tried to push you down, but God’s about to push you back up. circumstances may have dropped you, but God is called “the glory and the lifter of our head.” there’s about to be some lifting, some things that you could not make happen; the favor of God is opening up new doors, causing people to be good to you, paying you back for that injustice. what’s interesting is, Mephibosheth never did get healed; he continued to be a cripple the rest of his life. it could have seemed like this story doesn’t have a good ending, but I’ve learned that if God doesn’t remove the difficulty, if He doesn’t totally turn it around, God will make it up to you.
you may have lost a loved one; you can’t bring that person back, but God can make the rest of your life so rewarding, so fulfilling, that it will help take away that pain. or perhaps somebody walked out of relationship, broke your heart, did you wrong; God can bring somebody new into your life that is so loving, kind, good-looking, well-off, you don’t even miss that person that left you. God knows how to pay you back. Mephibosheth never walked again, but sitting at the King’s table every night, having people wait on him, bring his food, farm his land and give him the profits, for some reason I don’t think he ever complained. all he could say was, “Lord, thank You for remembering me, thank You for Your favor, mercy.” when God overwhelms you with His goodness, brings you out with double, you won’t complain about who hurt you, what didn’t work out, how unfair it was; you’ll be so amazed that God remembered you and promoted you and had people to carry you where you couldn’t go on your own.
like Mephibosheth, all you’ll be able to do is thank God for His goodness in your life. Mephibosheth was summoned to the palace, but he couldn’t get there on his own; he had to be carried to the palace. each night at dinner, he couldn’t get to his seat by himself, he had to be carried to his seat. you may think, “I’m never going to accomplish my dreams, I’m crippled, I’ve got this sickness, this addiction, this depression that I’m dealing with.” no, when you can’t get there on your own, God will always have somebody there to carry you. you’re not alone. you’re not forgotten; God has you in the palm of His hand. and God is not looking down at you because you’re still crippled, so to speak, you’re still struggling with some issues. God saw the times you’ve been dropped; you didn’t go down by yourself, and you’re not going to come up by yourself. God has already lined up the right people to carry, encourage you, to help you do what you could not do on your own. when Jesus was carrying the cross, on his way to be crucified, he was so weak, so exhausted, he fell down under the weight of the cross; he couldn’t carry it anymore. there was a man named Simon:
Matthew 27:32 (NIV)
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.
you don’t have to be strong all of the time; even Jesus fell down under the weight of the cross. the good news is, there will always be a Simon there for you, somebody to help, encourage you, get you to where you’re supposed to be. on the cross, even Jesus felt alone, forgotten. in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was so stressed that he sweat great drops of blood:
Luke 22:44 (NIV)
44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
(“Hematidrosis” is a rare, but very real, medical condition where one’s sweat will contain blood. The sweat glands are surrounded by tiny blood vessels. These vessels can constrict and then dilate to the point of rupture where the blood will then effuse into the sweat glands. Its cause – extreme anguish.
at one point he cried out:
Mark 15:34 (NIV)
34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
(God would never forsake anyone, but Jesus cannot be wrong, so what does this mean? Jesus needed to experience the full range of human suffering, including the greatest possible agony, believing oneself to be separated from God. For the first and only moment in all eternity, God turned his back on Jesus, so that Jesus would have this horrible experience and thus be able to understand how human beings feel when they believe themselves to be forsaken.)
he was saying, “God, I’ve been dropped.” it looked like the end, but the enemy never has the final say; God does. three days later, Jesus was sitting at the King’s table, the victor, not the victim. God is a God of justice; when you don’t have the strength to move forward on your own, don’t worry, God will have angels to carry you. God is not going to let you stay in Lo Debar; He’s going to keep working, moving, restoring, speaking to the right people, until He gets you to your seat at the King’s table. dinner is not complete without you there. you may have been dropped, had bad breaks, feel broken, crippled, but today you’re being summoned to the table. we need your presence. we need your gifts. we need your smile, your joy, your laughter; not pushed down, not halfhearted, no, this is a new day. Isaiah said:
Isaiah 61:3 (ISV)
3 to provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
there’s too much heaviness in our world. people are letting circumstances and the stress of life push them down. I believe today as God is breathing new hope into your heart that gladness is coming and the sadness is leaving. the heaviness is going, and joy is on its way. your life is going to be filled with a new laughter; the scripture calls it:
1 Peter 1:8 (WEB)
8 … joy unspeakable and full of glory
the scripture says:
Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you
it doesn’t say, “call if you come to church, call if you know the scripture, call if you live the right kind of life”; no, anyone is welcome to call. there’s a seat at the King’s table waiting for you. God has not forgotten about you. you may be dealing with an illness, a loss, a bad break; you feel like life has dropped you. you need to get ready; God is about to lift you back up. not bring you out the same; He’s going to set you on a higher place, bring you out better off than you were before. it’s payback time; God is about to make some things up to you. He’s already spoken to the right people to come find you with healing, with encouragement, with blessing. you’re coming into the palace, the place of healing, the place of blessing, the place of abundance. you’ll take your seat at the King’s table, and become everything God’s created you to be.