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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Keep Digging

Joel Osteen - Keep Digging

Joel Osteen - Keep Digging

I want to talk to you today about Keep Digging. We all have dreams God has put in our heart, promises we're standing on, but along the way there will be detours, delays, people that do us wrong. We're working hard, but we didn't get the promotion, they manipulated things, the contract didn't go through. It's easy to get discouraged and give up on what we're believing for. But sometimes you have to go through close doors before you get to open doors. You have to pass through injustice, things that are not fair. You didn't get what you deserve, they left you out. That doesn't mean God is not going to do what he said, it's all a part of his plan.

People may do you wrong, keep doing the right thing. God sees you being the bigger person, he sees you forgiving when they don't deserve it, he sees you trusting him when you could be bitter. You are passing the test. Or you worked hard, but the contract didn't go through, the door closed. It had to close. God has something bigger. That would have limited your destiny. Wasn't the enemy, it was the hand of God protecting you from getting satisfied with less. And if you'll stay in faith and not get stuck in blame, what wasn't fair, who hurt me: let it go. That didn't stop your destiny. God is taking you to an abundant place, to something bigger than you've ever imagined. With the right people, people that love you, that celebrate you, people that are ordained for your purpose.

That's why those others walked away. Wasn't because something is wrong with you, it's because God has someone better. He's not going to let you miss your destiny. Now, quit trying to convince someone to stay that wants to leave, convince him that you're good enough, attractive enough, they really should like you. They are not for you. The people God has lined up, you can't get rid of them. They'll treat you like a queen, like a king. But if you don't understand that the people that walked away, the disappointments, the injustice that it had to happen, then you'll live frustrated, bitter over who left, discouraged over what didn't work out. No, God is ordering your steps. None of that has stopped what he has in store. It's setting you up for the fullness of your destiny.

Genesis chapter 26, there was a famine in the land. Isaac was looking for food for his family and pasture for his flocks. He traveled to a city called Gerar. It was ruled by the Philistines. He was planning on going further, but God spoke to him and said, "Do not go down to Egypt, stay in this land and I will bless you. I will multiply your descendants as the stars in the heavens". God gave him this incredible promise, but it didn't come without opposition and frustration. It was tempting for Isaac to leave, get out of the famine, go down to Egypt for greener pastures, but Isaac obeyed. He did the right thing when it wasn't easy. He set up camp there, and he went out and he planted his fields, digging row after row, acres and acres, sowing the seeds.

Philistines looked at him like he was not all there: no water, no way to grow things. Looked like he was wasting his time, but that same year he reaped a hundredfold return, supernatural provision. They couldn't understand. How could he grow crops into the famine? Instead of being happy for him, they were jealous, they started talking and stirring up trouble, making his life miserable. The king finally told him, "You have to leave here, you become too powerful for us". You can imagine how disappointed Isaac must have been. He'd seen all that favor, now he was forced out, had to pack up his whole camp, move his family, his livestock, leave behind all the fields he had poured so much time and energy into. Wasn't fair, he hadn't done anything wrong. It was because of small-minded jealous people.

But here's the key: you can be in God's will and have opposition. You can be obedient, like Isaac, you're doing the right thing, you stayed in the land, you have that promise in your heart, but doors have closed, there's jealousy, people have come against you. It's easy to get discouraged, "Why didn't this work out? They did me wrong", but everything is serving God's plan. You can't see it right now, but it's moving you closer to your Promised Land. Keep doing the right thing when the wrong thing happens, keep taking the high road, keep believing, keep praying, keep trusting. God is still ordering your steps.

Isaac had to move from that high place down to the valley of Gerard. I'm sure he looked up and thought, "Man, that's where I used to be, that's where I was so blessed, but look at me now stuck in this valley, in this low place". But God is not just the God of the mountains, he's the God of the valleys. The only way to go to a higher mountain is to come down and go through the valley. Don't get discouraged by the valley, it's a setup. The valley is leading you to something greater. God wouldn't have moved you out of that place of blessing, he wouldn't have let them force you out, unless he has bigger things in your future. None of us like to go through the valley, but keep the right perspective: it's a sign that God is up to something.

In the valley of Gerar there were wells that Abraham had dug many years earlier, Isaac's father. When the Philistines had stopped up those wells, filled them with rocks and dirt. Having water was extremely valuable out there in the desert, the only way to survive, so Isaac and his men went out and redug the wells that belonged to his father. When the local shepherds saw the water, how the well was flowing again, they realized what they had been missing, they said to Isaac, "What are you doing here? This is our water. This well belongs to us". It had been there for years, clogged up, they did nothing with it. Isaac did all the work, he belonged to his family in the first place, but there was all this strife and contention. Isaac could have put up a big fight, engaged in conflict. Instead he took the high road. He said, "Fine, you can have the well". He walked away.

There are times you need to dig your heels in and fight, stand your ground. But there are also times you have to be the bigger person, and let someone else be right, even though you know they're wrong. You have to release it. Have the attitude, "God, they're not taking it from me, I'm giving it to them". Sow it as a seed. Otherwise you can become bitter, "That wasn't fair. I'm going to pay them back". Let it go. God sees when you're taking advantage of, when people manipulate things, they're dishonest, but you choose to move on, knowing that he's your vindicator. You choose to let it go, knowing that he'll make it up to you. God will vindicate you better than you can vindicate yourself. I believe in holding on to your dreams, but sometimes we're holding on to the way we think it's going to happen.

"That's my well. I worked hard, I should get the credit, the promotion, the contract". Maybe it's not working out because God has something bigger. Maybe there's strife and contention because God is stirring things up to keep you from settling for less. God will never let something be taken away, unless he has something greater coming. Will you walk away from it so you can see a bigger blessing? It's not about them being wrong, "I can't let them get away with this". It's about you being the bigger person, so God can promote you, so he can prepare a table in the presence of your enemies. If you'll take that high road, and not let the injustice, the betrayal, the conflict cause you to live in strife and tension, there will come a time where all those who were against you will see you promoted, honored, living a blessed, victorious life.

God is preparing that table not for a private dinner, not just you and him, but in the presence of your enemies, for a public display. But we spend too much time trying to protect, to defend, "This is my right, you're not going to get the best of me", not realizing it's a setup. God has something better. There's contention and strife because it's not supposed to be yours. You're upset with people, they manipulated things, they weren't fair, but God was the one closing the door. The longer I live, the more I've learned to trust his ways, to stay in peace, to let God fight my battles. If Isaac would have been stubborn, contentious, "This is my father's well, you want to fight man, you got to fight", he would have lived in constant strife, had to worry about the Philistines attacking him. There would have been so much stress and heartache.

Sometimes you have to suffer the wrong. Let them have the contract, the position, the fund. Quit trying to hold on to things where you don't have the favor, the support that you used to. That's a sign: seasons are changing. You're not being weak by walking away, it takes a strong person to take the high road. You're not losing letting them get the best of you. It's not over. You can't see it yet, but God has taking you somewhere greater. "Well, Joel, it's not right. I redug those wells, I work for this contract, this position, this property, I deserve it". But here's the key: that well is not your source, God is your source. He has ways to promote you that you've never thought of.

The reason Isaac could walk away from the well is he knew he wasn't a walking away from the source. If you think the blessing is on the location, then you'll fight over things, you'll go down to Egypt during the famine, cause man, there's no water here. But when you know the source is not the well, not the job, not the economy, not who likes you, the source is the Most High God. He makes streams in the desert. He gave Isaac a hundredfold harvest in a famine. He took five loaves, two fish, and fed thousands. When you walk away from that well, strife and contention, you let someone else be right, even though you know they're wrong, you're not walking away from the blessing, you're walking into a blessing. You're going to see a new level of your destiny.

Verse 20 says, "Isaac named that well, argument, because the people quarreled with him". He took the high road and left that place and went to the other side of the valley, far away so he wouldn't have to deal with those people. He found another well that belonged to his father, clogged up, not used in years, nobody within miles. He redug that well, spent weeks, he and his men working hard. They finally got it unclogged, got the well flowing again. Right on queue here came some more Philistines, here came some more shepherds, "What are you doing here? These are our wells, they belong to us". I'm sure Isaac thought, "Come on, not again. Are you kidding me"? He could have argued, put his foot down and said, "Not this time". Something inside of him, that still small voice said, "Let it go". He told his men, "Let him have it". Another disappointment. He named that well "Opposition".

Here he had this promise from God, "If you'll stay in this land, I'll bless you, I'll multiply your descendants". I can hear him saying, "God, where are you? I did what you asked, but I was kicked out by the Philistine king. Had to walk away from that great harvest. These shepherds took the well I work for, now the second well is gone". It was a test. Well number one didn't work out, well number two didn't work out. Isaac could have put his shovel up, and "We're done, let's go down to Egypt, it's never going to happen here". Right when he was about to give up, God whispered, "Isaac, dig one more well. Try it one more time". He had to make this decision, was he too discouraged too tired or was he going to keep digging?

You may be where Isaac was. You've been through disappointments, people came against you, there was strife and division, but you took the high road, you knew what God promised you. But every time you dig something up, the wells keep getting taken away. You're tempted to settle where you are, think it's not meant to be. God is saying to you what he said to Isaac, "Dig one more well". Your story doesn't end in defeat, in injustice, in being overlooked. Those clogged wells, the bad breaks are setting you up for well number three.

Isaac picked up his shovel, traveled to a different part of the valley, and he redug one more well that belonged to his father. The water came gushing out stronger than ever. This time nobody bothered him, no shepherd showed up, no conflict, no strife. The scripture (Genesis 26:22) says, "He named this place Rehoboth, for he said, 'God has brought me to a wide, open space'". Rehoboth means abundance, overflow, more than enough. But notice the progression: before he could get to Rehoboth, the well of favor, he had to go through the well of argument, deal with strife and conflict. He had to go through well number two, the well of opposition, people coming against him, things that weren't fair. He had to deal with the disappointment of that king that forced him out of his harvest. Could have put his shovel up, settled for mediocrity, but he kept on digging.

Maybe like Isaac, you did your best. The dream hasn't worked out, a relationship failed, you got passed over for the promotion. Now you put your shovel down, you think it's not meant to be. God is not finished with you. You had to go through well number one, the doors had to close, the people had to walk away. You had to go through well number two, the injustice had to happen, the project had to be delayed. The good news is: well number three is coming. God has a Rehoboth for you, he has beauty for the ashes, he's going to pay you back double for the unfair things. You haven't seen, heard or imagined what God has in store. Now, you have to do your part: get your shovel out and keep digging, keep believing, keep expecting, keep forgiving, keep taking steps of faith. You are closer than you think. You're on the verge of well number three, Rehoboth, a wide open space, a place of abundance, fulfillment, divine connections, a victorious place.

Isaac had all this contention and strife, people coming against him. I'm sure he thought, "That's the way his life was always going to be", seemed like a pattern of bad breaks and disappointments. One step forward, two steps backwards. But when he got to well number three, to Rehoboth, the scripture says the people left him alone, nobody bothered him anymore. He lived in peace and enjoyed his family, his flocks and herds multiplied, he saw that promise come to pass. You may have had a lot of strife and conflict, you always take the high road and try to be the bigger person, you're coming into a time where people are not going to bother you anymore. The scripture says it this way: the enemies you see today, you will see no more.

At well number one you had to walk away, at well number two you had to let people have what should have been yours. But well number three, God is going to take care of your enemies, he's going to push back back forces that have hindered you. Well number three is when God promotes you in the presence of your enemies. God told the Israelites, "I'm giving you rest from your enemies". Yes, there are times we have to be the bigger person, endure injustice, but there is a time where you will come to Rehoboth, where God says "No more fighting, no more struggle, no more dealing with those jerks... I mean those enemies. You're going to have rest, peace, joy, fulfillment". Rehoboth means wide, open, spacious, abundance.

As Isaac looked out and saw the vast land, and all the blessings and favor, I'm sure he thought, "God, thank you for not letting me stay at well number one. Thank you for closing that door at well number two. Thank you for having that king get jealous and push me out". He realized: the injustice, the strife, the jealousy was a setup. He wasn't supposed to stay there. Had he been stubborn, tried to force it, he would have lived in conflict, frustrated and never seen the abundance that God had in store.

I wonder if you're disappointed over things that you're going to look back and say, "God, thank you that those people didn't accept me. Thank you that you didn't let me be comfortable at that job. Thank you that those people took the position that I deserve". When you come into your Rehoboth, you won't think about the injustice, the betrayal, the delay. You'll be so overwhelmed, all you can say is "Look what the Lord has done".

We saw this here at Lakewood trying to build a new sanctuary. Twice the property was sold out from under us. Well number one, the owner didn't keep his word. He told me we could sign the contract later, but sold it to someone else. Well number two, same thing, the people sold it to others when they had agreed to sell it to us. I was tempted to be discouraged, wasn't fair, but we made this decision, "God, we're going to trust you. We're not going to live bitter, we're not going to quit dreaming. We know this setback is a sign that you have something greater coming". 6 months later we came into well number three, the Compaq Center. You are sitting in Rehoboth, a wide and open space. God doing more than we could ever ever imagine. Now I thank God that man didn't keep his word. I thank God that company found another buyer. I didn't like it at the time, but I can see now, it was all a part of God's plan to take us to the fullness of our destiny.

Maybe today you've been through things you don't understand. You honor God, you do your best, but things haven't worked out, doors have closed, you were passed over for that promotion. It's tempting to settle there. But if Isaac was here, he would tell you, "Get your shovel out. Dig one more well. You've seen opposition, you've seen conflict, but well number three is Rehoboth, the blessing, the favor, the victory. Houses you didn't build, a Compaq Center already built. Vineyards you didn't plant. Divine connections, people that are better than you've imagined". Rehoboth is rest from your enemies. God shutting down the opposition where you can live in peace, and enjoy the blessing on your life.

Verse 22 says, "The Philistines did not contend for well number three". They fought for well number one, they weren't going to let Isaac have it. They fought for well number two, there was resistance and opposition. I'm sure thoughts told Isaac, "You're always going to struggle, you'll always have trouble, conflict, injustice". Don't believe those lies, that's well number one, people trying to stop you. Well number two, opposition holding your back. But well number three, they will not contend. You will not have strife, division, conflict. The scripture (Malachi 3"11) says, "God will rebuke the devourer for you". You won't have to do it. When you come to Rehoboth, God will push back what's trying to stop you. There will be a supernatural ease, a grace to enjoy the blessing on your life.

1950s my father was pastoring a successful church, and it was growing. They just built a new sanctuary. Life was good, when my sister Lisa was born with something like cerebral palsy. My father was taught back then that God didn't do miracles, just to accept it, it was a bad break. He went to a hotel for several days to be alone, and he read his Bible like he was reading it for the first time. He saw how Jesus went around healing people, and how he could do the impossible. He came back and shared this message of faith and victory with his church. He thought they'd all be excited, but it didn't fit in their tradition. Some of the people turned against my father, started stirring up trouble and getting others to oppose him.

There was so much strife in division, my father knew he needed to leave. He could have stayed there and fought with them, tried to prove he was right, but he took the high road. He was disappointed, my mother had lifelong friends that never spoke to her again. He could live bitter, settled there, instead he got his shovel out and started digging. Mother's day 1959, he and my mother started Lakewood in an abandoned feed store with 90 people. The critic said, "It would never last", but 65 years later today we're still going strong.

But my father didn't like getting pushed out, that injustice wasn't fair, but when you look back, you can see it was all the hand of God. He wasn't supposed to stay at well number one, he had worked for it, he deserved it, but God used strife and conflict to move him out. Those 90 people grew to thousands and thousands, but he would have never seen Rehoboth, the wide and spacious place without going through the opposition, things that were not fair.

There will be these times in life that you don't understand it, don't make sense. You'll be tempted to fight, to prove, to hold on. But sometimes God closes doors. He doesn't let well number one work out or or well number two on purpose, because he has bigger things in store. Like my father, you may have to walk away from something that's not fair. You dug that well, it belonged to you, but they stirred up trouble. That's a test: God is taking you to Rehoboth, to something bigger, more fulfilling. Don't settle there, get your shovel out and keep digging.

God has not brought you this far to leave you. He's seen the disappointments, the injustice, the lonely nights. That's not how your story ends. Rehoboth is coming, a wide open space. Now, keep moving forward in faith, not frustrated, not bitter. Stay on that high road, knowing that God is in control, that it's all serving his plan. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: you're going to come in to your Rehoboth. God is about to pay you back for the injustice, the bad breaks. You're going to have rest from your enemies, vindication, promotion, honor, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen?
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