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Archive for May, 2004

How To Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

22 May
How To Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

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When someone stakes too much on an unsure thing people say, “Don’t your chickens before they hatch.

Today I want to tell you How to count your chickens before they hatch.

To do that lets start with a story from the biblical book of Joshua chapters 5 and 6

Joshua had become the new leader of the Israelites

  • Unsure of himself
  • Big shoes to fill

Joshua was outside of Jericho

  • “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”"

Joshua 5:14 “14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
15 The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.”

This Commander is actually God Himself.

  • The worship and taking off of the Sandals is exactly just like God did when He met Moses at the burning bush Genesis 3:5, 6.

God is strengthening Joshua by giving him the same call that Moses received at the beginning of his ministry.

Getting back to our story:

Genesis 6:1, 2 tells us, “1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.”

And The Lord laid out His Strange battle plan. Read Verses 3-5

3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”

Joshua immediately acted upon this plan. He organized the people for the march.

Joshua commanded the people, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” verse 10

And they were off. The troops marched around Jericho. The only sound was the stamping of soldier’s feet that the seven priests blowing their trumpets. When they had marched around they went back to their camp.

I can imagine the soldiers contemplating whether or not Joshua was thinking clearly. You don’t win a battle by just marching around the city then leaving.

But the next day they marched around the city, again in total silence except for the seven trumpets. When they had finished marching around the city they went home, leaving the Jerichoians to themselves.

This continued for six days. Then on the Seventh day Joshua got the people up extra early to begin their march.

Around the city they went.

But this time they didn’t stop after the first time around. They went again, and again. Around and around they went. Seven times they circled the city then Joshua signaled the priests to give a long blast. And Shouted, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city!” Verse 16.

Wait a minute Joshua, God hadn’t given you the city yet. Don’t you know that you don’t give your victory shout till you have won the victory? The walls are still standing just as strong and high as ever.You shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch.

But as they shouted God began to crumble the walls as if they were the walls of a child’s sand castle. And the Joshua’s soldiers ran strait in and captured the city!

You see, God requires a little thing called faith when He works on behalf of His people.

What is Faith? According to the US Census Bureau Faith is a town in North Carolina
“Population (1990): 553 (234 housing units)
Area: 1.9 sq km (land),”

Or a City in South Dakota:
Population (1990): 548 (249 housing units)
Area: 3.2 sq km (land),
Zip code(s): 57626″

But that’s not what we’re talking about.

Various Dictionaries have various definitions of the word, “FAITH” but I like to stick with the Biblical definition found in Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11:1

1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” NIV

NKJV puts it this way, “1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Faith is having so much confidence in God that you see his promises as though they were already brought to pass before He even starts.

I guess you could say that Faith is counting your Spiritual Chickens before they hatch.

Nearly every time God does a miracle on behalf of someone He requires this kind of faith to be demonstrated before the miracle takes place.

Sometimes God requires an easy act of faith. Moses had to hold his rod over the Red Sea before it parted. Exodus 14

But Later on God didn’t part the Jordan River till the priests already put their feet in the water.Joshua 3:15, 16

This principal of counting your Chickens before they hatch is repeated throughout the Bible.

Turn with me to Matthew Chapters 8 and 9.

Matthew Chapters 8 and 9.

  • Man with leprosy—8:1-3
  • Tell Story of centurion with the servant who was paralyzed. Distance miracle. 8:5-13
  • Read Verse 13

“Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.”

  • Paralytic on mat. Sins forgiven—9:1-8 Read Verse 6 and 7

6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 And the man got up and went home.”

  • Matthew called out of a bad life. Had to give up his comfort. 9:9-13

  • A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman—9:18-26 Father had to put up with ridicule, Woman had to touch Jesus’ garment.
  • AND FINALLY

9:27 Two blind men. NIV “27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, According to your faith will it be done to you”; 30 and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region.”

Within these chapters we find copious miracles each of which required the beneficiary to step out in faith. Believing that the miracle was already theirs.

In this last one Jesus said a very important thing,
According to your faith will it be done to you”

Jesus emphasized the power of faith in Matthew 21:21.

“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” Cf. Matthew 17:20; 1 Corinthians 13:2.

I spent 7 years in New Mexico. And to get from where we lived to Albuquerque, the nearest town we had to drive through the canyon. Describe.

I spent many hours as we made that drive trying to decide whether I should command the mountain to move. But I always decided not to because I was afraid that someone would get hurt.

Some people abuse this they think they can use faith to coerce God—force Him into doing what you want Him to do.

I received in the mail this “Prayer rug” Read Highlighted portions of letter.

The answer to that is found in the Story of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego

Daniel 3

Daniel 3

Tell Story up to when they were taken before the king.

Verses 13-1813 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”"

They counted their Chickens, they knew what God could, and probably would do but they also trusted Him enough to settle for any outcome that God chose.

John 14:12-14

12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

When you ask in Jesus’ name you are asking for him as an ambassador.

His ways are always best.

We can count our chickens before they hatch but we should not tell God what color they should be.

Faith is believing God so much that you trust Him to give the best outcome.

In closing: Story of Jehoshaphat 2 Chronicles 20

Story of Jehoshaphat 2 Chronicles 20

We need to step out confidently expecting God to work.

Next Steps:

  1. Look up the following Bible texts and find what step the person had to take by faith. Genesis 5:21-24 (compare with Hebrews 11:5, 6); 1 Samuel 14:1-14; Genesis 22:1-18 (Compare with Hebrews 11:17-19); John 1:35-51
  2. Find a victory song to sing when you have a big faith step to take.
  3. As a reminder to count your chickens before they hatch, put a plastic chicken egg in a prominent place. Use it as a conversation starter to share this message with a friend.

 
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