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Tony Evans - Encountering God's Promise



God's promises come at two levels. There are the recorded promises in his Word, and then there are the applied promises in our experience. That's where he takes a principle or precept from the Word, but applies it to your unique situation. It's when the Holy Spirit lifts the print off the Bible and says, "This is for you".

We're going to take you to one of the big tests in Scripture. And though this test we're going to tell you and me and us how we can have an encounter with God and his promises. In Genesys 22 we have one of the most recorded events in history repeated over and over again in the New Testament, although it happened in the Old Testament, and that is Abraham offering up Isaac. Let me read the first two verses of Genesis 22. "Now it came about after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham.' He said, 'Here I am.' He said, 'Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.'" Somebody say, "This is a test". That's what he said, God tested Abraham.

So, before I get any further, let me explain something. When God wants to give you an encounter with him, it will typically involve a test. This is a test related to a promise. I'll explain. This test is unique because it involved a series of contradictions. A contradiction is when God says one thing and appears to be doing another.

Number one, there was a theological contradiction. You see, God had promised way back in Genesis chapter 12 that he was going to make a great nation out of Abraham, and it would come through the son of Sarah whose name was Isaac. God had made a promise. But here in Genesis chapter 22, God tells Abraham to kill the promise.

Not only is it a theological contribution, it is also a biblical contribution 'cause that's murder. To offer your son on the altar as a burnt offering means to kill him, and that's murder. But isn't it you, God, who said thou shalt not kill? Isn't it you, God, who in Genesis chapter 9, verse 6 said, "If any man kills another man, he shall by man be killed, for man is created in the image of God". Didn't I hear you say that? Well, if you said that over here, how are you asking me to kill him over here? That's a contradiction involved in a test.

It's not only a theological contradiction, it's not only a biblical contradiction, it's an emotional contradiction. 'Cause he says, "Sacrifice your son, your only son". And then he says, "Whom you love". My only son, you're asking me to turn over and to even take his life, that's killing my emotions.

And worst of all, it's a spiritual contradiction because he says, "I want you to offer him as a burnt offering," which is an act of worship. That's worship. In fact, he's going to say, "I'm going to worship". Worshiping God in a crisis. He says, "I want you to sacrifice your son and worship, even though I'm calling on you to make the biggest decision in your life". Because when God wants to give you an encounter with him, it will be a test. And the test will often involve something that doesn't make sense.

What is Abe going to do? 'Cause this is certainly not something he wants to do. Verse 3 says, "Abraham rose up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. And he split the wood for the burnt offering, and he arose and went to the place which God had told him". It says when he was told to do this thing that he didn't want to do that didn't make sense, he got up early.

Hebrews chapter 11, verses 17 to 19 says, "Abraham offered up Isaac, and he considered that God was able to raise him from the dead in order to keep his promise". Did you hear that? The reason he got up early is because he had such confidence in God that even if it didn't make sense and even if he killed his son, God would get him up out of the grave.

See, you have to have a bigger view of God, particularly when he doesn't make sense. He said because he believed that God could raise him from the dead. Why would Abraham believe that God could raise the dead? Abraham was 100 years old when he had Isaac. Sarah was 90 years old when she had Isaac. So, Abraham is figuring if God can bring life out of death when I was 100 years old and my wife was 90 years old, he can handle this new situation as well.

You have to learn to remember what God did yesterday for the new stuff you dealing with today. Now, that's a problem if you've never had God do anything for you 'cause you don't have anything to remember, so this situation you're in now is your first memory. But those who have walked with God and who have been through a little something something, and then they coming up with something new, some new challenge, some new contradiction, you can look back on the stones of remembrance.

Abraham is now going, he tells the young men, the lads, the servants, "Stay here, we'll be coming back". He says in verse 8, "God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son". Isaac asked him, "Well, dad, I see the fire, I see the wood, I see the stuff to make the fire, but I don't see any lamb. Every other time we went to church, we had a lamb. But there's no lamb today". He says, "Son, only God can fix this".

Now, watch this. They come to the place in verse 9 which God told him. And Abraham built an altar there, arranged the wood, bound his son Isaac on top of the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay the son. Can you imagine what he's thinking and feeling right now? 'Cause this doesn't make sense. "The angel of the Lord, verse 11, Jesus in the Old Testament, "called to him from heaven and said, 'Abraham, Abraham.'"

Watch it when God calls your name twice. And he said, "Here I am". This is the second time he said that, "I'm here, I'm submitted to you". "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him, for now I know that you fear God since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me". Now, this is difficult and deep. Now I know that you fear me because you've not withheld your son, your only son, from me. The problem is those three words, "Now I know".

So, now I want to give you a tidbit of theology. The doctrine of omniscience refers to God's all-knowingness. Omniscient means to know all. There is nothing God does not know. Anything that can be known God already knows. God knows everything actual. God knows everything potential. But he does not know everything experiential. So, he never experienced sin, although he knows all about sin. He knows what it is, he knows where it came from, he knows what it does, but he doesn't know how it feels to do it because he never did it.

So, he has omniscience about the information, but not omniscience about the experience of the data. When God wanted to know what it feels like to be human, guess what he did? He became a man. Hebrews 4 says, "So that he could sympathize with our infirmity," so he could feel it. So, guess why God put you in a trial that doesn't make sense? Because he wants to feel your love. He don't just want to hear. He doesn't just want to hear discussions about it. He wants to feel it. And what makes him feel it? When you choose him over something you already love. He says, "I know you fear me because you've not withheld your son, the only one you've got, whom you love, from me. When you had to choose between me and him, you chose me. And now I know 'cause now I feel it".

What happens when this takes place? Now I know that you fear me. "Abraham raised up his eyes, looked," verse 13, "and behold there was a ram caught in a thicket". Now, this is the quietest ram in history. If a ram is caught in a thicket, it's trying to wiggle, it's trying to get out of the thicket. He does not see the solution until the obedience occurs, okay?

See, a lot of us looking for the ram when we haven't finished the obedience, so God is keeping the ram quiet. The solution was already there, it just wasn't revealed until after God felt him. It's caught in the thicket. If the ram is caught in a thicket, that means the ram was already in the thicket. It was just not revealed. "Abraham called the name of the place," verse 14, "the Lord will provide". That's one of the big names of God, Jehovah Jireh. You've heard it, you've sung it. That's Jehovah Jireh. It is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it will be provided. The Greek word "jireh" means to precede. It means to precede.

So, God provides when he precedes. He needs to precede so that you can see him provide. So, if you don't give him something to see, then you may not see what he can provide. He says, "Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time". That's a big principle in Scripture. When God wants to confirm something, he does it a second or third time. The angel of the Lord calls to Abraham a second time from heaven, confirmation, "This is really me talking". Okay? So, the Lord calls to him a second time, and he gives him a zinger.

Let me read you the zinger. Verse 16, "And said, 'By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you. I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your seed shall possess the gates of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed my voice.'" He says, "I have now sworn to you, I swear".

Okay, so using everyday language, I swear. So, here you have a important principle, and that is the distinction between God's promise and God's oath. God made a promise to Abraham way back in Genesis chapter 12, same promise. But he doesn't swear by it until Genesis 22, the passage we're reading today. Between Genesis 12 and Genesis 22, when he swears by something he said, are dozens of years. It took him 25 years from the time he's supposed to have Isaac until the time he actually had Isaac. Isaac is a teenager now, so we've got decades that have gone by when nothing has happened about the promise.

There are those who feel like God has said something in his Word or said something to you years ago, and nothing has happened yet. That is because you must understand between God's promise and God's oath is space. In that space between what he says he's going to do and when he's actually going to do it is a time when he's getting the promise ready for you, and he's getting you ready for the promise.

Between Genesis 12 and Genesis 22, Abraham made a bunch of mistakes. He almost got his wife hooked up with another man. He had a baby by another woman. I mean, he's been lying. Over this space of time, Abraham has had some issues. So, God was not ready to give Abe the promise because he was not ready to handle it properly. So, in the space between God's promise and God's oath is his preparation. And you have a part to play in how long it lasts 'cause he says, "Now that you've obeyed me, now that you've come fully with me, I can now do what I said I was going to do".

Let me help you out with the New Testament because in Hebrews chapter 6, guess what the author of Hebrews says about this story in Genesis chapter 22? In Hebrews chapter 6, here's where we read, verse 13. "For when God made the promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself". Remember God said, "I swear," okay? It says, "Saying, 'I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you.'" We just read that. "And so having," watch this, "patiently waited, he obtained the promise. For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is a end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his purpose, interposed with an oath so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope that is set before us".

So, he could swear by nobody greater than himself, so he swore by himself. Now, let me tell you what happens when God takes an oath related to a promise he plans to bring your way, even though you don't know how in the world he going to do it 'cause it doesn't make sense, it's contradictory. How in the world is God going to pull this off? He says, "I swear by myself, which means I don't need anybody outside of me to make it happen". In other words, when God is ready to make a promise and oath, there's nothing left for you to do. All you got to do is finish the obedience until he's ready to take it over himself.

Hebrews chapter 11, verses 17 to 19, it closes with this phrase, "Abraham offered up Isaac," and then it says, "and he got him back as a type". Okay, don't miss this. This is rich, it's deep, and it matters. That's in Hebrews 11. All of Hebrews 11 is about what folk went through in the Old Testament, but it's written in the New Testament. He said he got Isaac back. God told him, "You know, you don't have to sacrifice him. Here's a ram". And he got him back as a type.

Now, a type is something physical in the Old Testament designed to teach us something spiritual in the New Testament. The reason why Abraham's story is being retold over and over again is God wants us to use something now based on the principle we learned from what happened then. What happened then was God using a test to bring about his promise through an oath. At Hampton and Camp Wisdom is 65 acres, 65 acres of land that OCBF owns. That particular piece was up for sale, and I knew, I knew God had told me in addition to everything else, that was ours. I knew in my spirit through a number of things that was ours. We got it.

We got a bunch of the folk from the church and we marched from here down to the 65 acres. Some of the elders who are here now were here then, and they were reminding me they were in the march. So, we walked from here, and we walked down to the 65 acres. And we walked out there, we got in this huge circle to pray a prayer of confirmation that this was ours. So, we prayed. The way the land would be sold was through a bid. You had to bid it.

So, we prayed. And we lost the bid. Somebody bidded higher than us, and the land was sold to another after I was convinced it was ours. I can't tell you how disappointed I was 'cause I was fairly sure God had said, "This is yours". But the opposite happened, it went to somebody else. And so, it was confusing. Years later, not days, not weeks, not months, years later, word came out that the folks who bought it could not keep up with the payments. Come on, man. Couldn't keep up with the payments, the land was coming back up at a crazy price.

And that's why we have it today. God allowed us to lose it so we could trust him in the loss in order to use it as a type. Because when we first moved out here, there's nothing but land and trees out here and the A-frame building, little A-frame building, that was all that's out there. And right next to us was a daycare called Apple Ridge. Apple Ridge was a daycare owned by somebody, so all we had was the two acres with the A-frame building and Apple Ridge.

The owner knew that we would want to buy his land, he knew that, so he had the price way up there, okay? Way up there for this little building that was there. Price was way up there. And he knew he kind of had us cornered because we needed the land, we wanted the land, and the church was going to expand, but we were caught because he had the price up there 'cause he knew, you know, it was a seller's market. So, we would not buy it at this crazy price he was asking for. All we could do was ask God to come up with a way to provide it. How he would, now, the Lord would have to provide it. He was over there one day when somebody broke in and held him hostage with a gun. Didn't hurt him, but threatened his life. There were kids in there.

So, now parents are pulling out their kids. So, now the value is going south 'cause the parents don't want the kids in that place where that can happen. That can happen anywhere, but at that time, so then he comes to me, knocks on my door, say, "I've been really rethinking this. I think God wants y'all to have this property". He reminded me, whoever would think that God would use a crook to answer a prayer? What I'm trying to tell you is you don't know who you dealing with, that's what I'm trying to tell you. And I am challenging you to ask God to give you an encounter regardless of the test that you have to take because when you pass it, it becomes an oath.

One of the ways we encounter God is when he provides. And sometimes, God provides in the most odd ways. When Elijah needed a provision, God went to a Gentile widow who was poor herself, told her to provide for Elijah, and then he would provide for her. When we walk by faith, because Elijah was told to go to this widow, we experience how God can use unorthodox because the Gentiles were not the place you would go for provision. He can use unorthodox people, unorthodox circumstances to make supernatural provision, and use that supernatural provision to also provide for the provider.

God has a circle in the way he provides. He does it for us, and then he uses us to do it for others. When you have a need, God promises to meet that need, Philippians 4:19. And not all of our wants, but to provide for our needs. He is your source, and he can supernaturally bring manna from heaven or bring people from earth in order to address the need you have in your life. But when God provides, particularly when you're down to your last dime, particularly when you don't know how this issue is going to be resolved, it's because he wants to give you a divine encounter. He wants you to experience his supernatural provision. You know, when you know where it's coming from, when it's already in the bank or already in the refrigerator or already in the freezer, then you don't so much look for a divine encounter because you can predict it.

So, God many times lets us get into situations where we can't predict it so that he has to resolve it, so that we encounter him at a whole new level. So, when a need shows up in your life, look to God, don't look to the circumstances because you often can't figure out the un-figureout-able God and how he's going to provide for your life and your situation.

One of the reasons God will allow lack is to strike a death blow at our independence. God hates pride and he hates when you feel like you can make it without him. And to address independence from him, he will allow your contacts not to come through. The promotion not to come through. He will allow, just when you thought you had a saving, for something else to break down and eat it up. He will allow lack to let you know that you are not self-sufficient, that on your best day, on my best day, you and I are dependent.

Paul says in, 2 Corinthians chapter 1, he says in verse 8 and 9, he said: "We were undergoing a great deal of affliction. We were being overwhelmed to the point of death. We were going through a great deal of affliction to the point of death". God, why did you let Paul who loved you get that low where he didn't even think he could live anymore? Then Paul says that, "we might learn to trust him who raises the dead". He said he let us get that low to deepen what it means to trust God at a point we couldn't fix.

So God would allow us to get into circumstances we can't fix even when we're in his will in order to take us to a deeper level of experience with him and deepen our faith. But, see, if you don't know that, then you just get mad at God. If you don't know that, then you're just getting frustrated at your circumstances. And so God does allow lack and, in the case of idolatry, even causes it. And so that's the situation here. We have a prophet who is in a sinful environment. The people have gone to idolatry. And now we got a widow who just can eke out a living and only has enough flour for one more day.

God tells Elijah, "Go to this woman and she's gonna feed you. Now, she don't even have enough to feed herself. But you go to this woman and she's gonna feed you". You only have one source. There it is. As simple as that sounds, it is a life-transforming, you do not have multiple sources. Anything outside of God is a resource, not a source. It's merely a vehicle. Over and over again, the Bible declares that God is your only source. In Psalm 104, verses 10 to 17, God says, "The animals only eat 'cause I feed 'em. The birds only eat 'cause I feed 'em. And people only eat 'cause I feed 'em". God declares, "I am your source. I am your starting point".

So, watch this. Whenever you treat a resource as though it is the source, you have now made your resource an idol. So for some people, their job is their idol or their bank account is their idol. Or their contacts, that's their idol. Or their ejumacation, that's their idol because they think because I have this resource, I am taken care of, which then makes that resource your god 'cause God wants to be your only source. Until you establish that principle, then you will always be controlled by the presence or absence of your resource.

Let me show you what I mean. God tells Elijah to go to a widow, okay? So he tells him to go to somebody who can't even take care of herself. He says, "I want you to go to Zarephath which is in Sidon. Let me tell you about Zarephath. Zarephath we, you know, Texas is like the Bible Belt? Zarephath was the Baal Belt. It was the center of Baal worship. So it was just idolatry everywhere. So watch this. "I want you go to a woman who can't take care of herself 'cause she down to her last meal, and I want you to find the woman in a bad location and I'm commanding you to go there".

So God had to prepare Elijah for this command. And he prepares him back in verse 4. He says, "It shall be that you will drink of the brook and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there". That's our word "provide" again. Wait a minute, wait a minute, God. You gonna tell the ravens to feed me? Now why is that a big deal? 'Cause ravens are unclean birds. The Jews were prohibited from eating ravens. They were unclean birds. And yet he says, "I'm going to tell the unclean bird," Deuteronomy 14, verses 11 to 14. Ravens are unclean and yet God says, "I'm going to tell the unclean bird to take care of you".

So let me tell you something about God. He can use evil to make provisions for his people. He can use the unclean to answer a prayer. God said, "You can't eat a raven". He didn't say, "I can't use one". One of the things you need to know about God is that he trumps his rules. He's never inconsistent with himself but anything he created, he can use to accomplish his purpose even if it belongs to the devil. I'ma throw a curveball to you right now but God can use the devil to answer your prayers. That's how good God is. So if you have this tiny view of God and God can only do it this way, that I understand, that I'm used to, and I can see, you're gonna miss out on some stuff.

So God knows you're gonna need an encounter which means he's gonna have to create for you a situation. He's gonna have to put you in a scenario to either deal with your idolatry or take you deeper in your faith and that usually means it's a scenario you can't solve yourself. 'Cause if you could solve it yourself, he knows you would go to that earthly solution rather than his heavenly intervention. Until we understand that we only have one source, until we understand that God is your only source and he doesn't want any competitors, then you'll be bouncing from resource to resource, hoping this resource works out, maybe it's this resource, maybe it's that resource. You'll be jumping and doing hopping jacks all over the place, hoping that maybe this is the resource. I'm trying to free you up. You only have one source.

So God commands Elijah and he tells him, "Now I have a widow for you and I want you to go and I have commanded her to feed you". So he's already gone ahead of Elijah and set him up so he could get something to eat. So Elijah goes to Zarephath. So let me just pause there. He didn't just say, "Amen, hallelujah, praise the Lord. Isn't God good all the time? All the time, God's good". No, he obeyed. See, a lot of us want to see God's provision without our obedience. We want God to provide first and then we might obey. No, he wouldn't see the provision until he did the obedience.

So he goes to Zarephath, not a comfortable place to be. It was the Baal seat, the seat of idolatry. But he fulfills God's command and he sees the widow. He tells the widow, "Give me some water and a piece of bread". Stay with me now. Here's the widow's response in verse 12: "But she said". That ought to tell you something right there: "But". She said, to put it in everyday English, "Let's get real. C'mon, man, let's get real". She says, "I have no bread, only a handful of flour in a bowl, and a little in a jar; and I am gathering a few sticks that I might go in, prepare for me and my son, that we may eat, and die". And this leads to a staggering principle, one that if you grasp it, it will change your life. When God wants to do something for you, he may first want something from you.

Now, I knew it would get quiet on that one. But often when God wants to do something for you, he will ask something from you first. That's why the prophet says, "Give to me first". Why if you need something would God ask you to give something that you yourself need? She needed her own food. Because God wants to know whether you trust his Word. This principle is over and over in Scripture. Proverbs 11:25 says: "He that waters will himself be watered". The Bible says over and over again, Deuteronomy 24:19: "God responds to our response". Luke 6:38: "Give and it," the thing you give, "will be given back to you, pressed down, flowing over".

A lot of people love that verse who don't do anything with it. God will regularly require a response of faith in the very area of which your own need. I'm at the gas station. It was on one of those cold days. It was freezing out there. There's this homeless gentleman and he looked, though, really, sincerely homeless. I try to vet those things 'cause there's a lot of games out there, too. So he said, "Please, sir, for a few dollars to get something to eat and drink, something hot to drink".

And so, I'm pumping gas while he's asking me this. I said to him, "Okay, it's real. You're not just talking 'cause you want some drugs or you want some, you know". So I went through that. He said, "Oh, no, no, no". And then I had my little test I do. I said, "So you're willing for me to take you to get something to eat? And not just give you money to eat," 'cause that way you can tell whether the issue is food or not. So he said, "Oh, yeah, I mean, you can take me". So I said, "Okay, I'll tell you what. I'll tell you what". After I pump gas, I use my credit card to pump gas, I look in my wallet and there's a $100 bill. There's a $100 bill in my wallet. So I gotta get change.

So follow this now, true story. So I'm gonna help the guy. I'm gonna give him $10, I'ma give him $15, looked like he was authentic hungry. It's freezing out there. So I go into the store at the gas station. This is really interesting. I go to get my receipt for the gas, I said, "Would you give me change for $100"? This has never happened to me before. He pulls out his cash register and he says, "I am so sorry. I don't have any change". I said, "You got to be kidding me. How you gon' be a store and you don't have change"? He says, "I can't break a $100. I can't, you know, it's just the way things have been going, I don't have any change".

So now, me and God, we gotta have a little discussion. We gotta talk about this. Now, God, is this you? Is this you? 'Cause I don't wanna miss you, but also, so I'm debating. I walk back out. It's freezing outside. I walk back out and I said, "Okay, God, it's obvious this is what you want me to do," and so, I gave the guy the $100 bill and I said, "I want you to use this for what you said you were gonna use it for". At first glance, he only saw one zero. He thought he, where he had a ten. And then it dawned on him that there were two zeroes 'cause of the way he looked at it. He looked and turned away, said, "Thanks," and then he looked again... and he did that. I said, "Can I pray for you"? He said, "Yeah, yeah, pray for me. You pray for me all day. We can fast and pray today".

I mean, it was serious in his pomposity. I mean, he was really expressing himself. "Yeah, pray for me". So I prayed for him, you know, gave him a little witness. But the experience I got out of it was, God allowed that thing to happen in a way 'cause he wanted me to do something more than I had originally intended. And what I am trying to say to us is God has a myriad of ways of creating encounters so that as we become vehicles of blessing, he feels more comfortable blessing. That's what it means when the Scripture says: "It's more blessed to give than to receive". The reason why it's more blessed is the bigger the conduit you become, the bigger container you're able to receive.

And so, the woman says what we say when we get in these situations or Elijah says to her in verse 13: "Do not be afraid". Because when you're in a situation where you need God to provide and then he's asking you to do something that you don't understand, you get scared. He says, "Don't be afraid". He knew the woman was afraid to do what God said do 'cause it didn't make sense to do it. You need somebody in your life who's going to move you to God when you don't feel like going that way. You need somebody in your life who is spiritual enough to know what God is doing when you can't see it, even though they can show you from the Bible 'cause it says it. You need somebody in your life and, unfortunately today, too many Christians limit themselves to their five senses.

So they don't live in the spiritual, they only live in the five senses of the visible and the physical so they never get to see what an encounter with God feels like. And it says: "When she let her faith overcome her feeling," proven by the fact that she did what the prophet said do, it says that "she did," verse 15, "according to the Word of Elijah which was based on the Word of God and she and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted, nor did the jar of oil become empty according to the Word of the Lord which he spoke through Elijah". In other words, God stretched it. The point of this passage is for you to experience and encounter God as your provider. You only have one source. Everything else is a resource.

If you ever flip that and make that your modus operandi, how you roll, if you ever operate this way, you are free 'cause when a resource goes left on you, you can say, "Okay, God, what's next? 'Cause you my source. You the one taking care of me. You're the one providing for me. You're the one who's filling me. So my eyes are on you, not just what resources are operating today". Praise God for the bank, but it ain't my source. Praise God for the job, but it ain't my source. Praise God for the church, but if you fire me, you're not my source. So the idea is for God to be your source and let him choose what resource he wants to use today. May God help you individually, in your family, and us collectively, to have one source so that we can encounter him in the challenges of life.

Another way that God gives us a divine encounter is when things are going south on your job or in your situation and he reverses it, like he did with the three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Because they wouldn't bow to the system, because they wouldn't bow to the marketplace, because they wouldn't bow to the idolatry of Nebuchadnezzar, they got, shall we say, fired? And I literally mean fire, because they were thrown in the furnace and flames. It looks like they were on the decline in their life, in their career, but because of their faithful commitment to God, God gave them a divine encounter. He did not deliver them up from experiencing a negative set of circumstances on their job because they worked for the king, he just joined them in the fire that they were going through.

I know we all prefer to not have to go through the fire of circumstances and the fire of being fired or the fire of rejection. But when God wants to give us a divine encounter, he will let us go through that fire and he will just join us in it. That's why Nebuchadnezzar saw the fourth person walking around with them. Even though they were tied and bound when they were thrown in, they were freed in the fire. You wanna look for the presence of God and the peace of God in the conflicts of your circumstances. And when it was all said and done, not only did they get delivered, they got promoted. Nebuchadnezzar, when he saw what God's people did in the midst of a negative environment, he put them in a whole 'nother level in the workplace.

Do you know God can reverse your situation as he joins you in a bad scenario? Because God wants to give you a divine encounter by allowing you to be promoted out of a situation that looked like it would be hopeless and there would be no future for you. Don't give up. Don't throw in the towel. Look for your divine encounter when things don't look like they're in your favor because God can suddenly turn 'em around and promote you to a higher level, using the same people who created the predicament.
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