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God's Commandments = Enablement

"His commandments ARE His enablings."

I am sharing this from a book I've had on my shelf for years, but am just finally getting around to enjoying: "I Shall Not Want," by Robert T. Ketcham.

Be forewarned that very, very few men preach like this anymore. You may not find it politically correct, but I believe it is Biblical and hope it will be an encouragement to you.

"Another lesson learned from II Kings 13:14-19 is that communicated power comes before the act of service is required.

The prophet FIRST touched the king's hands, and then he told him to shoot. Our risen Lord never requires a service of us but what He first equips us with power to perform it. God never asks any man or any woman under any circumstances to be or do anything for Him without at that moment placing at his disposal ample and adequate provision to be and to do that thing. God's commandments ARE God's enablements.

The truth we are now dealing with is blessedly pictured in several instances in the New Testament. We would remind you of the story of the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:12-16). The story is that at a certain hour the waters in the pool of Bethesda were moved, and whoever went in first was healed. The Lord Jesus passed by this powerless man, looked down in pity upon him, and said, "Wilt thou be made whole?"

The man replied, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool; but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me."

It was then that the Lord Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk."

Remember what the man then said? Remember how he looked up into the face of the Lord and said, "Sir, that is exactly what I want to do. If I could get up from this bed and take it home, I would have done it long ago! I would not have waited for You to come and tell me to do it. It ought to be very obvious to You, sir, that you have asked me to do an impossible thing. If I could, I would; but I can't."

No. There is nothing like this in the record in the gospels. The only place you find that kind of record is in your own life. When faced with some certain command from the Lord Jesus, you have answered by trying to argue with the Lord that you are not equipped to do it, you are not able to do it, you are not cut out to do it -- you would love to do it if you could, but you can't! No, such a baseless argument is not to be found in Scripture. That kind of business is found in the life of the powerless Christian himself.

But what DO we find in the Scripture record? "And immediately, he took up his bed and walked." Just like that. You see, with the command had come the enabling. When the Lord Jesus dropped those words onto the auditory nerves of the man's ears, He also dropped power into the paralyzed body to do just what He told him to do. Five split seconds before, the man would have been perfectly on the side of truth if he had said, "I want to, but I can't."

But the very moment the Lord Jesus COMMANDED him to, THAT STATEMENT WAS NO LONGER TRUE, for God's commandment was God's enablement."

Let us take another New Testament illustration of this principle. Teaching in the synagogue one Sabbath day, the Lord saw a man with his hand and arm all withered up at his side. He called that man to "Rise up, and stand forth in the midst."

Standing there, "in the midst," everyone present could see the man's disability very clearly. It was not just a disabled arm; his arm was visibly "withered." Dr. Luke, with the interest of a physician, tells us it was his right arm.

"Stretch forth thine hand," the Lord commanded. Remember the strange answer the man gave the Lord Jesus? "Sir, I'd love to do that, but you see that I can't! I've been trying all my life long to make this withered limb go out there with the same punch and vigor as my left hand does, BUT I JUST CAN'T DO IT! I would if I could, but I can't!"

No. You remember no such argument. That argument is not found in the pages of the divine record. It is found in the lives of powerless, disobedient, unwilling Christians. You might call them "Unbelieving believers."

The record of the scriptures is the man reached forth his hand. God's commandment was His enablement.

Five seconds before, the man could have HONESTLY said, "I can't." But the moment the Lord told him to do it, he could. And so with weak, defeated, baffled, powerless Christians. God speaks to you and orders you to do this or that, and you spend your time arguing back that you can't. You have failed to recognize the fact that what was true of you a few moments ago is simply no longer true, if in the meantime the Lord Jesus has requested or commanded that you do thus and so.

Another precious lesson confronting us in the story of II Kings is that communicated power is ONLY realized in the act of obedience. Naturally the presence of power is unrealized UNTIL USED.

The paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda would have been lying there to the day of his death, and would never have known that he could get up and take up his bed and walk. The ONLY way he found it out was to take the step of obedience. The moment he did, he discovered in amazement that the empowering had come with the ordering.

The man in the synagogue with the withered hand could have gone on to his grave, saying, "I can't, I can't, I can't!" They do not know that what they think they cannot do, they COULD do, if they would just take the forward step of obedience. They would be perhaps the most surprised people in the membership of their entire church to discover that the very thing they think impossible, they can do if they step forth in obedience.

What a tragedy!

Multiplied thousands of Christians are going on to their graves, and going to meet Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of works, not knowing that they are carrying with them all the time the power to be victors, instead of victims. And the only reason they don't know it is because they refuse to take that step of obedience, BELIEVING that what our Lord commands, He will also most certainly not fail to enable.

Yes. Christ GIVES what He commands. He empowers AS WE OBEY."

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." I John 5:3

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