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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Hannah - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Hannah - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Hannah - Part 2

And in in life, after life, after life, I watch these individuals allow their faith to grow by being willing to respond when they don't understand the complete picture. And I recognize in my own heart the struggle in that, because I like a plan that is fully prepared at the beginning. That's called the trip to me, otherwise you're just wandering. But I see in them this willingness to trust the Lord. So I think, okay, Lord, I'm going to have to cultivate in you a new kind of confidence. I'm going to have to let that grow in me a little bit. I can't use my logic as an excuse for being a non participant. You do things in your life all the time without knowing the outcome, you try out for athletic teams, you parent children, you got married, you have jumped, you've jumped out of the plane in lots of ways not knowing the full outcome.

Why is it when it comes to the things of the Lord, we say, "Oh, I'm not doing that if I don't understand the ending"? We've got to let our faith develop. A second thing I can identify in each of these lives is that they're, it requires on their part resistance training. In every circumstance there is resistance. They have to walk against the wind. They've got to be willing to go forward even if the weather is inclement, even if it's raining and they gotta be outside that there is resistance. Sometimes it's physical, sometimes it's spiritual, it takes different forms and different shapes, but in every case there is persistent resistance to what they're doing.

Hannah's heartache. Her, I don't think her heart healed completely the day she walked away and left Samuel the first time. I think when she visited him on his 10th birthday and his 12th birthday, I think there were challenges every time. There are powerful adversaries. David was anointed to be king. The prophet came and said, "You are the king, God's chosen you to be the king". But there's already a king on the throne, and God didn't remove him. If I'm writing this scenario and I'm the new king, I would say, "Well, if God wants me to be king, he would remove the king that's here," right? "Prophet, I don't know what you're doing. I mean, I appreciate the good word and all. I think I am better than my brothers, but what are you doing here? Shouldn't you go see Saul and tell, 'Hey dude, you're out'"? But that isn't how it played. When Samuel rolled into Jesse's house and anointed David to be king, he lit the fuse on a civil war that actually came to fruition.

Now I know the scripture says that David grew stronger and stronger. Maybe the war helped David gain strength. I can offer that explanation, but if I'm living through it, if I'm looking at that, it seems to me that God invited him into a circumstance where there was resistance. God invites Paul to city after city after city where there are riots and arrests and beatings and imprisonment. Sometimes he does it supernaturally as a dream, saying, "Come this way," and he gets to the city where he was invited and there's a riot and he's beaten and he's imprisoned. Resistance training means there's awkward, that's an awkward discussion with Paul and his strategic planning team. They're in prison. "Paul, tell me again about that vision you had. God said go where"?

That's awkward. Resistance training. Are we willing to do that? In fact, in each of these circumstances, I can identify persistent places where God led them into conflict. And I think our default position, at least my default position has been, well if there's conflict, that certainly couldn't be God because God would lead me towards peace and agreement and unity. Resistance training. There's a third characteristic, and again my labels here are still emerging, and so, but this one is about timing and the timing is probably the most problematic part of this whole discussion. And so there was one word that it seems to me has to be linked to timing and following the Lord, and that's yielding. We have to yield to the sovereignty of God. There's a God, and it's not me, and I'm serving him, I'm following him, so the timing is in his hands. But as I read all of these life stories and do all of these case studies, from my vantage point, from my preference palette.

How many of you have a preference for how you'd like life to go? You know where you want your seat on the plane to be. You know the food you'd prefer to eat. You know the time of day you'd like to get up and the time of day you'd like to be able to go to sleep. You know the responses you would like to hear from your supervisors or your subordinates. You have a preference list. From my preference list, the timing is all messed up. Now I want to make a suggestion, again trying to glean from these lives, when there's a delay in the responses that you would like from the Lord, what do you do? And there seems to me to be some common characteristics. These individuals are occupied with learning, with standing, with holding their place, and with yielding. And it's a lengthy list, I'm ahead of you in the study, we haven't done them all together, but Abraham had to wait a while.

God said, "I'm going to make a mighty nation from you," and then he went decades. In fact, he got to the point where it was biologically impossible for he and Sarah to conceive, and they got pregnant. See, I'm thinking if I'm writing that narrative and I'm the one that's being recruited, how many would rather wait until it was biologically impossible. Then you have the angelic visions and say, "Woohoo, Papa," because then it's kind of a fun celebration. You don't have all those decades of angst. Am I doing it wrong? Have I misunderstood? Did dad not really talk to me? Did I get too excited? But that's not how God did it. Abraham, Joseph, he has dreams when he's a kid, and he sees his brothers bowing down to him. He tells them, youthful exuberance, so they sell him as a slave. He's imprisoned, falsely accused, he's abused and mistreated until finally one day he does gain a position of authority.

Moses, God shows up and said, you know, the burning bush, he said, "I want you to take the people from the slave pits of Egypt to the Promised Land". Moses knew the territory, he knew the region, he knew the roads and the supply possibilities. I'm quite confident Moses did a little internal calculation, said, "Ninety days, we can do this. I got a summer project". Forty years later he's still hanging out with those people. David's anointed to be king, but it's decades before he secures the throne. Did you know even Jesus is waiting? Even Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus is waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool. It's in Hebrews 10 verse 13. Jesus's work on the cross is complete and entire and perfect, nothing can be added to it or taken away from it, but the full implications of that redemptive victory on the cross have not yet been fully realized on planet Earth. True?

In fact, the last presentation of Jesus that our world has ever seen was Jesus hanging on a Roman cross, gasping, suffocating to death in public, being mocked by his enemies with a sign over his head that said, "The King of the Jews". Oh, I know a handful of people saw him post resurrection. And we're here because we believe that he's alive today, but from the world's standpoint, their last view of Jesus was on the cross. He's waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool. He's coming back. He's not coming to Bethlehem in a manger this time. He's not making some quiet little secret entrance. This time when he comes back, he's coming back as a conquering king with a sword to bring the judgment of the King to the Earth and those who've rebelled against his Kingdom. And every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

So in Abraham and Joseph and Moses and David, and even Jesus we find this timing component and their willingness to yield. Psalm 13 is, and you know it's, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he's been good to me". You hear David wrestling with that timing issue. The New Testament says ot a little differently, it says, "No, don't grow weary in doing good. For at the proper time, you will reap a harvest if you don't give up". The implication is if you give up, you'll forfeit your benefit. Don't give up. I don't understand God's timing, I acknowledge that, but I've decided it isn't always fruitful to rail against it. I have to trust him.

Real quickly, two more pieces of this. There's a group of words that I find associated, they're not really synonyms, but they have a relationship to learn, to grow, to change, to overcome, all of these individuals have this within them. They're willing to learn, they're willing to change so that they can grow. You can change and not grow, but you can't grow without changing, and in order to grow, you've got to learn a little bit. So they're willing to learn. Again, this is the enemy of those of us who are religionists, we like to believe we've got it all figured out. There's no new growth edge, that there's really no new information, there's only subtleties that we don't understand yet. We kind of fold our arms and close our hearts and we shut down and judge the world. It's not a helpful posture.

We're put on the inactive pile, and we can't be difference makers then. No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, no matter what season of life you're in, there are things about God to be learned, there's a growth edge. The Holy Spirit will bring greater healing to us, greater freedom to us, greater renewal to us, greater deliverance to us. Not talking about your eternal destiny, I'm talking about how you can flourish. See, I think we imagine that because our physical bodies diminish with age, that our spiritual selves should, and quite the opposite is true in scripture. You should gain freedom, gain insight, gain understanding as you mature and grow in the Lord.

So this learning thing is a part of our, there again, they're not synonymous, but they are related together. So the question is what are you learning? How are you changing? See, we get this in so many arenas. You don't want to cook Sunday lunch in a 1950s kitchen. You don't want to compete in the marketplace with a 1950s office equipment or have surgery in a 1950s operating suite. But you want to sing the music in the church from 1950. And you're okay if you sit in the same chair and park in the same parking place. And we practiced this in our faith the same way we practiced it. But the truth we hold is timeless, but the delivery systems have to fit every generation.

We've got to learn, we've got to grow, that means change. I'll give you one example. We looked at Moses in one of our character studies, but we did it on a Sunday night, and a couple of you missed that. I'll just take the beginning season of his life. Moses had a very difficult early childhood. He was rejected by his parents. Now, I know there were other circumstances. The edict from Pharaoh was to kill all the male children born to the Hebrews, and his parents disobeyed that order, and they hid Moses for three months. And they could no longer hide him without putting themselves and their family system at great risk so that they couldn't hide him any longer. So what did they do? They put him in the river.

Now, I know they made a little basket, and we've kind of romanticized it, but the truth is they abandoned their child. They didn't have any way to protect him any longer. The risk was too great, and so they put him in the river. There is a spiritual component to that, folks. Now, I know the story, I know that Pharaoh's daughter found him, and that Moses's mother was recruited to care for her own child in Pharaoh's palace, but think about those circumstances now. He's growing up as a foreigner in a place of privilege. The palace knows the circumstances of his birth, that he's the son of a slave, so it's highly probable that there were those in the palace that tormented him because of his origins. And yet he has the privileges and the opportunities of the palace and his own people are enslaved. There's some inner turmoil around that.

The messaging is very difficult. You don't have the maturity or the wisdom or the strength as a child to process that. The outcome in Moses had to be inner turmoil. I'm not surprised he was an angry young man. How do we know? Well, he saw an Egyptians taskmaster beating a Hebrew slave, and what did he do? He murdered him. He didn't pull out his palace I.D. card and say, "Excuse me, sir". He didn't arrange a meeting with his supervisor and said, "We need to discuss the process for slave management". He didn't go up the power chain and try to find an intervention, he murdered him in a fit of rage, hid the body. It wasn't a well thought out, well orchestrated, it was an expression of anger, and now he's a fugitive. And God recruits him. I don't have time to do his whole life again today, but Moses learned and he changed and he grew.

You see, it doesn't know, an expression of evil in your life does not have the power to write your future unless you give it to him. My Bible says that Jesus is the author and the completer of my story. Is my story perfect? Far from it, but Jesus is writing an ending, and I trust him. So can you. You can be a difference maker no matter what expression of evil or hatred or injustice or misfortune, or maybe even something you contributed to. Jesus is writing a new ending. There's one last component I can identify in each of these difference makers, and that there's, and I don't have the right label for this one yet, but I just called it the people part.

You know, we read their stories, you talk about Moses or Abraham or David or Paul or Hannah, and you think, wow, those were rockstars for the Kingdom. And then that's a way of understanding it. It's a very incomplete understanding because there's a people component in each of these person's lives. None of them operated on an island, isolated from other people. In fact, none of them achieved what they achieved without the input and the help and the assistance of other people. David had his mighty men. Moses would have never gotten away from the burning bush if God hadn't said, "Look, take Aaron with you". Moses kept saying, "Not me, I can't do it, I don't want to do it". Aaron was the beginning of the negotiation, but he had the tribal leaders, he had Joshua and Caleb and Jethro. There's a whole component of people that helped Moses.

Paul, we like to, "Well he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament". Well, kind of, he wrote by title 2/3 of the New Testament but that's a, it's a very incomplete telling of the story. There's a whole band of people helping Paul when you read the New Testament. There's Luke and Demas and Titus and Timothy and Barnabas and Silas. And it's not one individual, they were hopscotching their way around the population centers of the Mediterranean world being advocates for Jesus, backfilling one another, helping one another, moving to where's the next need. Paul may have taken point, but there's a team of people. You and I will not become difference makers as isolated individualists, we'll do it in community. And then the outcome of that is that others's lives have new futures because difference makers are willing to follow the Lord.

Remember, this was the context of the whole invitation. God said, "I'm looking for somebody, anybody". I tell you my prayer for our generation, that there will be dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of people that will say, "Lord, here I am. I want to be one of those people". Again, it's not about doing great things or big things. It's not about the scope, it's about our willingness to be faithful, to learn, to change, to grow, to endure, to work through the opposition, to trust God's timing. Say, "Oh God, I wish I'd known this 30 years ago". You weren't ready to listen 30 years ago. God can do in a day what you and I can't do in a decade. Don't complain about the timing, celebrate it because that's not assignment is to be faithful.

Now I brought you a prayer, a little devotional for the week really. I'm not going to do it with you this morning, I want to send you away with it. I gave you a verse of scripture and then a prayer to pray. The verses from Isaiah chapter 6, it's Isaiah's commissioning. Isaiah has a vision of the throne room of God, and he hears the statement made, "We need somebody to go. Who will go and speak for us"? And Isaiah, as an observer of the throne room of God, in an inexplicable response, he said, "Here I am, send me". Some of you old enough to remember "Welcome Back, Kotter". I have this mental image of Isaiah going "Oh, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me".

If you're too young to know who that is, go ask Google. Here's my suggestion, you read that verse and you read that prayer attached to it at least once a day this week. I'm asking you to consider saying to the Lord, "Here I am. Here I am". Again, not looking for a new assignment in your classroom, in your courtroom, in your factory, in your job site, in your neighborhood, in your family system. "God, I want to be a difference maker. I want to be faithful". It starts with you and me being willing to say, "Here I am". It's Father's Day, and I didn't really forget that, but I want the dads to stand. I want to pray for you, if I may. All the dads.

If you're not sure, ask the people around you, they'll help you figure it out, okay? You know, fatherhood is God's idea, but it's not an accident, and it's not just an expression of some patriarchal control mechanism that God presents himself to us in scripture as our Father. It was a way of bringing a dignity and a role and an authority to fathers. And I, you know, I understand you had a role to play, but I don't believe parenting begins in the heart of human beings, I believe it's God's choice. He knows your children before you ever see them. He knows them when they're being fashioned in the womb, the scripture says.

And I'd like to pray for you today. I'm quite certain that there are prayers in your heart that you have lifted before the Lord that you've shared with no other person. And I would like to ask God to give attention to those. Some of you parent in less than ideal circumstances. You know, a borrowed dad is not a bad thing. Even Jesus had a borrowed dad. Before Jesus got to Bethlehem, God went and got Joseph and said, "I have an assignment for you". So please don't imagine that because your circumstances aren't ideal that you are second class. It's a lie. It's a lie. May I pray for you?

Father, I thank you for these men. I thank you for their lives, and I thank you for the sacred trust that you have given to them in their children. I pray for them today that you would give them wisdom, wisdom beyond themselves and beyond their experience. Lord, parenting is a train and release program. We do our best, but the children are truly yours. And I pray for each of these men that you would give them wisdom beyond their experience, insight, understanding, discernment, Lord, whatever season of their lives they may be in, to parent in such a way that would bring your very best to the children under their care. Give them the words to speak. May they know when to use them, may they know when to be silent.

I pray you'd bring healing to the broken places in their hearts. Lord, where the disappointment has seemed overwhelming, I pray you would bring a new joy. Give them a new vision, a new understanding, a new insight that would lift them above the hurt and the loss and the trauma. Give them the strength they need, the resources they need. Lord give them an anointing from you to parent in such a way that their children would know they are loved, that they are cared for, that they're valuable in the sight of their father, both their earthly father and their heavenly Father. I thank you for it in Jesus's name. Amen.

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