Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Digging Ditches

Have you ever dug a ditch? I have and I dig them quite often- but probably not the kind you are thinking of. (If you know me, you are probably thinking right now, REALLY? YOU dug a ditch? HA!) I was reading in 2 Kings 3 this week and a story struck me and stayed with me that was all about digging ditches. 

A little back story before we get to the ditches. At this point in 2 Kings, the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom have gathered together and want to fight the Moabites. The problem is that they are stuck in the desert and they have absolutely no water. Zero. No water means they are weak and miserable and not in shape to fight anyone. They send for the prophet Elisha to tell them what they should do. At first, he says no (because he expects they are just like their parents- wicked and don’t believe in God) but finally agrees after they tell him they know his God is THE God. He arrives and tells them that God wants them to dig ditches and that when they do, He (God) would then fill them with water- but NOT from rain. 

Here’s what it says in 2 Kings 3:16-19: 
“This is what the LORD says: I will fill this valley with pools of water.  For this is what the LORD says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink.  This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD; he will also deliver Moab into your hands. You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.”

Ok so imagine that for a minute. He’s telling these miserable, thirsty, dying, hot people to dig ditches- in the desert. Can you imagine how they reacted? They were probably like...Are you kidding me? Why in the world would we do that? It’s hot and we are weak and at the end of it, you aren’t even going to make it rain! They had to be thinking, this is completely nuts. Digging ditches anytime is hard work, but digging ditches when you are hot, dying of thirst and completely miserable would be truly horrible!

This story is such a reminder to me that God sometimes wants us to prepare for His blessing and sometimes that preparation is hard and yucky and painful. He wants to bless us, but we must first listen, be obedient and then get to work! Those things He calls us to do, even hard things like digging ditches, will prepare us for what He will do in the future. He is no doubt going to do His part, but we must do our part! 

Thankfully the people listened, dug the ditches and guess what? They filled with water! God is so gracious and doesn’t just give them a little bit of water- he literally fills the land with it! God often moves us to do things that may not make sense- in the moment or to others- but if we trust Him and follow Him, he will bless us abundantly. 

I kept thinking as I read this story, what if they had been lazy and just dug tiny small ditches? I think in their circumstances I’d have been likely to dig the shallowest ditch ever but when you think about it, the bigger the ditch they dug, the bigger the blessing they would receive. Their obedience brought a larger amount of what they needed- water? Of course, the ditches they dug meant nothing without God’s blessing. We must always seek Him, spend time in His word each day in order to know Him truly and hear when He calls us to dig ditches. 

My question for you today is…what ditch is God asking you to dig today? Whatever it is, get digging friends!