Not Know What To Do Image






When You Do Not Know What to Do

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 11, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2018


  1. Genesis 43
    1. Jacob often schemed to get what he wanted.
      1. His name means “supplanter,” because he supplanted people.
      2. Genesis 25 shows us what Jacob did
        1. as his brother was coming out of the womb first,

          25 And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them (Genesis 25.25–26).
        2. “Jacob” means Supplanter or Deceitful and
        3. literally One Who Takes the Heel.
    2. He supplanted his brother later when they were men.

      29 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” 32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” 33 Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright (Genesis 25.29–34).
    3. He supplanted his brother again
      1. when Jacob tricked their father and
      2. Jacob got a blessing from Isaac that Esau should have received.

        36 And Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!” And he said [to his father Isaac], “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” (Genesis 27.36).
    4. Later something tragic happened.
      1. Jacob lost his 11th son Joseph, through the hatred of his brothers, and
      2. Jacob believed that he would never see Joseph again.
    5. Twenty-two years later, a series of events occurred
      1. where Joseph’s brothers met him in Egypt,
      2. although they did not know that it was him.
        1. He was 17 the last they saw him, then
        2. he was 39, dressed as an Egyptian and speaking Egyptian.
    6. However, he recognized them when they showed up in Egypt to buy food.
      1. Remembering how they treated him 22 years earlier,
        1. he treated them roughly.
        2. He also did some things to discover whether they had changed.
      2. Before they returned to the Land of Canaan,
        1. Joseph demanded that they leave Simeon behind and
        2. that before he would sell them more food,
          1. they had to bring their youngest brother,
          2. Joseph’s full-blood brother, Benjamin, because
            1. the brothers had left him at home with their Dad,
            2. since he was the youngest.
              1. Jacob had already lost Joseph,
              2. did not want to lose Benjamin too.
    7. The 9 brothers returned home,
      1. telling their father how this man in Egypt had treated them, and
      2. that if they intended on buying more food,
        1. they had to bring Benjamin to Egypt.
    8. That would mean
      1. that Jacob had lost Joseph, Simeon, and he would lose Benjamin too.
      2. When it was time to go back,
        1. Jacob told them to go, but
        2. they would not, unless he let Benjamin go with them.
    9. He agreed very reluctantly to let Benjamin go, but
      1. he urged them to take some fruit with them for the man in Egypt, and
      2. to bring some balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts, almonds, and
        1. extra money.
        2. then Jacob said:

          13 “Take your brother also, and arise, go back to the man. And may God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved, I am bereaved!” (Genesis 43.13–14).

          1. No longer the schemer,
          2. no longer the supplanter,
            1. he was ready to accept his losses and
            2. to suffer in his heart.
              1. It was all beyond his wits.
              2. He saw no other option.
      3. He just did not know what to do.
      4. He was out of answers.
  2. Exodus 14
    1. As Israel journeyed East after leaving Egypt,
      1. the Lord purposely led them to a place where they were trapped:

        2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in’” (Exodus 14.2–3).
      2. Even Pharaoh could see that the place where Israel stopped
        1. closed them in and
        2. made them easy targets.
    2. They had the Red Sea before them.
      1. Mountains behind them to the right and to the left.
      2. And the Egyptian army coming through the valley
        1. through which Israel had just traveled,
        2. cutting Israel’s escape route.
    3. The children of Israel did not know what to do.
      1. v. 10 – They feared and cried out to the Lord.
      2. v. 11 – They accused Moses of leading them out there to kill them.
      3. v. 12 – They wished that they had stayed in Egypt.
    4. Then Moses made this mighty declaration:

      13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14.13–14).

      1. And you know the rest of the story.
      2. The Lord parted the Red Sea,
        1. Israel passed through it,
        2. the Egyptian army tried to follow, but
          1. the Lord collapsed the waters on them,
          2. killing the entire army.
            1. Israel eventually made it to the Land of Canaan and
            2. while there made numerous prophecies about the Christ, and
              1. then delivered Him to the world and
              2. we are saved from sin and hell because of it.
  3. Esther 4
    1. While Esther, a Jew secretly, had become queen of Persia,
      1. her older cousin, Mordecai,
      2. discovered a plot to wipe out all the Jews.
        1. He urged her to approach the king to stop the evil plan.
        2. However, she objected, because
          1. going to a Persian king without an invite from him
          2. meant death for her.
            1. He had not seen her in a month.
            2. Therefore, she believed she would lose her life.
    2. Mordecai reasoned with her
      1. that she would not escape the genocide, for
      2. the man who put together the plan,
        1. would search diligently for all the Jews living in the empire and
        2. she would then die just like the rest of the Jews in Persia.
          1. He made her think about why she had become queen of Persia:

            13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4.13–14).

            1. Had she been put into that position
            2. for this very moment and reason?
    3. She then realized
      1. that she had to give up any hope of self-survival,
      2. that she had to give herself for her people,
      3. that she was put into place for a cause greater than herself.
    4. She then made this amazing statement to her cousin Mordecai:

      16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4.16).

      1. She did not know what else to do.
      2. She was ready to do what her cousin told her to do,
        1. although she did not seem persuaded that it would work.
        2. She was ready to die.
          1. She emptied herself of herself.
          2. She saw that it was not about her.
            1. It was about something far greater:
            2. Her people.
  4. Second Chronicles 20
    1. A huge army,
      1. much more powerful than Judah’s army,
      2. marched toward Judah and Jerusalem.
    2. When King Jehoshaphat heard of it,

      3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah (2 Chronicles 20.3).
    3. Then all the cities of Judah gathered before the temple in Jerusalem.
      1. Jehoshaphat, the king, led the nation in prayer:

        4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. 5 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 6 and said: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” (2 Chronicles 20.4–6).
      2. He continued praying,
        1. remembering how the Lord had driven out the Canaanites in the land,
        2. remembering how He had said that He would help them, and
          1. he named Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir
          2. as the armies heading for the land of Judah.

            10 “And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— 11 here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit” (2 Chronicles 20.10–11).
    4. Then King Jehoshaphat ended his prayer with a magnificent confession:

      12 “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20.12).

      1. He could not come up with a plan to defeat the enemy.
      2. The situation went beyond his ability to know what to do.
        1. This man led a nation.
        2. His people depended upon him.
          1. Yet, he did not know what to do,
          2. except to put his eyes upon the Lord.
    5. Then the Lord spoke to Judah, Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat
      1. through the prophet Jahaziel,
        1. telling them not to fear,
        2. giving them instructions on what to do, and said:

          17 “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you” (2 Chronicles 20.17).

          1. Kind of sounded like Moses at the Red Sea.
      2. Jehoshaphat and Judah kept their eyes on the Lord.
        1. v. 18 – They bowed before the Lord and worshiped.
        2. v. 19 – The Levites praised the Lord.
        3. v. 20 – Jehoshaphat pointed the people to the word:

          20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper” (2 Chronicles 20.20).
        4. v. 21 – They sang to the Lord.
        5. Here is how the Lord responded:

          22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another (2 Chronicles 20.22–23).

          1. Did you follow what happened?
          2. Jahaziel the prophet had said that they would not have to fight.
            1. The Lord caused the advancing army to fight themselves.
            2. They defeated themselves and Judah did not have to fight.
      3. So Judah took the spoil from the defeated armies, and
        1. v. 26 – they blessed the Lord,
        2. v. 27 – they rejoiced back in Jerusalem,
        3. v. 28 – they worshiped the Lord with song,
        4. v. 29 – fear fell upon the rest of the nations, and
        5. v. 30 – Judah had quiet and rest.
  5. John 21
    1. The amazing ministry of Jesus Christ had come to a halt
      1. with His death,
      2. which traumatized the disciples.
    2. Then Jesus arose from the dead and
      1. started appearing to His disciples.
      2. They did not know what to do.
    3. What do men do when they do not know what to do?

      2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing (John 21.2–3).

      1. When men do not know what to do,
      2. they go fishing!
        1. Think of the miracles they had seen in the past 3 ½ years.
        2. Think of the words they had heard during that time.
          1. And they did not know what to do!
          2. Why did they not go out and start telling everyone of those days?


  1. Jacob did not know what to do, but
    1. he put everything in God’s hand, and
    2. Jacob saw his family restored.
  2. Israel did not know what to do at the Red Sea.
    1. Then the Lord did something
    2. that Israel never expected.
  3. Esther thought that she would die.
    1. She fasted, which would mean that she also sought the Lord.
    2. When she looked beyond herself she saved her people.
  4. King Jehoshaphat saw a mega army headed his way.
    1. He had no idea what to do.
    2. He put it in God’s hands and God took care of it.
  5. The disciples witnessed
    1. miraculous power in works and
    2. miraculous power in words.
      1. Yet, they did not know what to do.
      2. Then they let the Lord mold them into something that they had never been before.
        1. And the world has never been the same.
        2. Including you?
  6. Hebrews 4 shows
    1. what to do
    2. when you do not know what to do:

      16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4.16).

      1. Do not forget
      2. that there is a God in heaven,
        1. who knows about all your life.
        2. He waits for you to approach about the issues of your life.