Beth Moore - My Feet Almost Slipped - Part 2
Listen, when it talks about the arrogant, I want you to go there with him 'cause you can picture this in 9 and 10 when it says, "They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues strut across the earth". So literally this is the word picture in the Hebrew; that their tongue is just walking, it's just strutting through the earth. And it says, "Therefore his people," and now we're talking about God's people, "turn to them and drink in their overflowing words". They're like lapping it up, lapping it up.
This is what you would call sycophant, and it is a word that means a self-seeking flatterer. And the picture that it would be, because this is the perfect picture of it, is when we're just like, when we have celebrities in our lives that we just like adore and they can absolutely say no wrong, I mean, none. We're just going to lap up everything they say and everything they do. This is the picture being painted here. It's just like we're just drunk over them. In our celebrity culture, like whatever they say, whatever they do, oh, we like it, we like it, we like it, we like it. Anybody? Anybody? Because I mean, they are our person. Those are our celebrities. It's sort of that same picture.
I think so often about a passage in James, and I memorized James out of the NET. And in chapter 2 of James, he says something. It was a time, James wrote his letter at a time of extreme poverty for brand new believers that were Jewish. He headed up the Jerusalem church of the new believers in Christ, those who had accepted Christ as Messiah; and, man, they were dealing with devastation, desolation, and poverty, poverty. You'll even see a time in Acts, and he refers to it a couple of times. Paul does in his letters, where a collection was taken up and taken to the believers in Jerusalem. Same idea. Just poverty-stricken.
So we're as, we would not think necessarily of...that rich people were all bad and poor people were all good. Those are not the ways that we would divide it up in our thinking, but in this day and in this time these poor people were being persecuted for their faith and there was very much a delineation between those who were the oppressors and the oppressed. So keeping that in mind, James says this. He says, "But you have dishonored the poor. Are not the rich oppressing you and dragging you into the courts"? This is the part I wanted you to hear. "Do they not blaspheme the good name of the one you belong to"? In this celebrity culture, we have such adoration for people that blaspheme the name of Christ, and I think it's important, the psalmist in Psalm 73 is having us reckon with the world out there and how arrogant it is and how much strutting around there is with the tongue.
I mean, we are living in a day of absolutely unrestrained tongues. There's lots and lots of strutting going on all over the place, all different voices, and everybody's mouth is wide open. But some of these heroes that we have, some of these people that we just like can't follow closely enough blaspheme the name of Christ, and it's convicting because it makes us sit back a little bit and go, "You know what"? I just here recently I just, I love music of all kinds. My favorite, of course, I love worship music, that's my favorite, that's my go-to over and over again, but, man, I also have some country western music on there. I also have regular just like all sorts of music. I just love music, but here lately I'm just like, "I'm stripping some of this off of here" because I just became so aware of just blasphemy. I was like, "You know what, that's not for me. I'm not going to idolize someone who scorns the name of Christ. That's across the line to me. That's when you're off of my music list".
And maybe that's not really speaking big things to you, but it's a little of what is being struggled with here, is that, like, we're just lapping up stuff, God's people lapping up stuff that is just, it's just wrong. It's not of our value system. Is that making sense to anybody in the house? And one of the things that's happened to us, I just, I mean, truly we live in a culture that is built on thin ice. We do. We do. This is a crazy culture we live in. And so what is very easy for any of us to do? Because we live here, we're indoctrinated. If you think, say, for instance, that you even spent or I even spent 30 minutes in the scriptures in the morning with God, has a little, some prayer time and then went about our business. Praise God, praise God, that is so profound and so important, and God's not calling us to never leave the house and just to sit there with our face in the scripture.
That's not what he's calling us to do. He has called us to the world. But I'm simply saying I want you to think how much indoctrination we're getting from the world. I mean, we are being indoctrinated by it constantly, constantly. We may not realize along the way how much sliding there is, just sliding there is into it. What's very easy to do, I know that I have done it numerous times and had to sort of get a grip and look back on it. What's so easy to do is that we can embrace the culture's reward policy. You know what I'm talking about? Just a reward system. How is it that our culture rewards you for good behavior? Well, this world and how it rewards, it rewards for clicks. It rewards for notoriety, for celebrity, for drama. It rewards for sex. It rewards for exploitation. It rewards for outrage. It rewards for abusive speech. Anybody seen that with me? I mean, this is the reward system of the world.
This is what you get rewarded for. And listen, though it can have you pump you up one day and take you down to the ground the next, still this is the reward system of our culture. And here's the thing, we live to be liked. This is what this culture is training us to do, is that somehow we could live to be liked, and we think...now I'm just talking Twitter here for a second. It's different on different social medias. We think those little red hearts really do mean they love us. Yes. But they don't because you can't believe what someone can do that hearted you one day, what they can do the very next. And, you know, for some of us, a lot of us, probably most of us, that really do interact with the world and feel like we have a certain measure of calling on us to do exactly that, that we weren't called to go hide in monasteries together. He said, "Go therefore into the world". But he said make disciples, but the world is making disciples out of us. Would anybody admit to that besides me? It's teaching me how to follow it.
And so these are things very important for us to look at because every now and then when we're interacting with the whole thing, it might be really, really wise for us to hear that voice of the Holy Spirit inside of us. I'm sure he wouldn't say it quite this way, but let me just put it this way, "Girlfriend, you are skating on some thin ice". And every now and then I felt like I just got this little thing, this little thing, this little conviction jumping up in me that goes, "You have stepped across the line. You are now flirting with the world". And then we back up, reckoning with everything indoctrinating us. You know how this goes. I tell you, Instagram, of all the social medias, is the one I get the biggest kick out of because, I'll tell you why. Because we who are Christians, every, all of us, we still like our selfies, but because we are also people of God, we will take a selfie and we have to think of a scripture to go under it. Anybody? Anybody know what I'm talking about?
So I'm, I mean, here, this is here. What we really want to do is post a picture of ourselves, but we need a spiritual emphasis to make it okay. Am I lying to anybody or am I telling the truth? I mean, it'll be all sorts of things. Jeremiah 29:11. I mean, it'll just be, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you," see? Or it'll be like, "All things work together for good. Like, he's even using this picture right now". Anybody? "He's using my new boots right now on the Instagram. People are coming to Jesus over my new top". Anybody?
If I really want on there, then, you know, get one of the pets in the picture. If your hair color is really great, really great but you just don't want to directly take a selfie and go, "Isn't my hair color really great"? Get one of the pets. Get them in the picture. Talk about the pet even though the pet's head is this big and our head is this big. Have you ever noticed when people take a picture of somebody for their birthday, only their little head is way back here and the person who's posting it, their head is way up here because this is just the way we're being indoctrinated right now.
And so there comes a point, you know, this would be, "He must increase, but I, the big one in the picture, I must decrease". You know, it's just like, "What are we doing"? And I mean, you know, I love it, I love it, I love it, but every now and then I'm just going like, "Beth, what are you doing"? And please understand me, I'm not getting off tomorrow. I mean, I would if God just went, "Get off tomorrow". But I mean, I'm hanging in there. I love, I'm very social, I love all this stuff, but I'm just saying, man, we got to be awake to what we're doing because there are times when we look so much like the world that they can't even tell the difference because sometimes it just feels like they're doing better than us. My feet almost slipped.
One of the tenderest things that has happened to me in my years of ministry, because I came out very early on with the fact that I come from a background of childhood sexual abuse. I was told early on not to tell it, and I was so afraid that if I didn't tell it quickly after I was told not to that I would buy into that. I don't know if that makes any sense to anybody. But I knew as soon as I was told never to tell it, and I never have identified who, but I knew to tell it immediately so that there is no going back because I knew that one of the most poisonous things that could ever happen to me is if I got trapped behind it and felt like I never could tell it. And it was so much a part of my story because it shaped so much of my childhood and then it shaped so many of my disastrous decisions. Can anybody relate with what I'm saying?
I thought, "Oh my gosh, you know". You take away the gritty part of my story and then I don't know how to tell you how I even came to love him like I did. I don't know how to tell you that gray was not an option for me. I couldn't stand close to the pit where the mud was because my foot was going to go in the hole. It just was. It was what it was trained to do. I just cycled in and out of self-destructive behavior, and I know somebody can relate in here, in and out of addictive sin, and I thought, "Man, you trap me where I can't tell my story and you will force me into a life of pretense, and I'm just going to say no to you. I know you are thinking about my best, but I cannot imagine that pretending is best for a woman who has given her life to ministry". Can anybody relate?
So one of the dearest things in all of these years that has happened to me is I can't even tell you how many women I have hugged, whether it was at a church where I was speaking, whether it was an event. It could be at the grocery store. It could be at an airport. A number of times at an airport, a number of times. Sometimes solid gray hair. I cannot tell you how many women I've hugged who have whispered in my ear, "I was abused too and I have never told anyone". And, man, I always just pull them out like this, look them straight in the face so they are not ashamed, go, "I'm so proud of you for telling me. You got to get out of that, where you're trapped inside of it, where the enemy just keeps telling you that it was your fault, and it wasn't, where he keeps telling you you deserved abuses that happened to you, and you didn't".
Just gets trapped in our head and we can't get out. Welcome to Psalm 73, a song of lament. I wonder who in this room is treating God like he's fragile. And I'm even seeing it in your prayer time. You're real, real protective that you don't, like, damage his ego. There is absolutely no possible way to make God feel less God than he already is. It just, nothing we can say or do has any impact on God's godness. He's going to stay God no matter what we pour out, but we'll treat him like he's fragile, and it's interrupting our intimacy. Lament is not irreverence. When we have these questions and go like, "Lord, I'm just telling you I know I've got to be out of my mind here, but it looks like everybody I know in the faith is blessed but me".
I will tell you something. When I come into a place of lament, about a year ago, one of the reasons why this is an important subject to me is because about a year ago I sought some good counsel from a very, very wonderful pastor and friend of mine, somebody I'd known that has just walked with integrity all of these years and knew about the challenge that I had, and he said something to me I'll never forget. He said, "Beth, you need to take a season of lament". He said, "This has gone on for so long. You need a concentrated season. Get this all up and get it out there". So I'm just wondering, I'm just wondering if anybody knows that lament is not irreverence. It's a form of intimacy. It turns toward God, not away from God. Lament is evidence of faith, not faithlessness. It's when you take your sorrow, I looked at a definition of lament.
It's in Merriam-Webster's, and it simply said mourning out loud. That it is a way to bring your mourning, imagine somebody grieving, to bring it before the Lord. Imagine that God would be the kind of God that would shame you for bringing your grief to him out loud. The psalmist said in Psalm 62, "Pour out your heart before him. He is a refuge to you". Remember what he says about Job at the very end of the book of Job? When he says in verse 42:7, he says, "I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has". Do you see what Job had done? Job had worked it out through those chapters. I mean, worked it out, poured it out, said, "Lord, sometimes I wish I'd never been born". I mean, just getting it all out because it would be trapped in his head, and he brought it exactly where he needed to.
Abraham the friend of God in Genesis 18: 25 when he knows what is about to happen in Sodom and Gomorrah and he says to him because he's so afraid the righteous are going to be swallowed up with the unrighteous, and he says, "Will not the judge of all the earth do right"? And of course he will. Of course he will. But Abraham was called a friend of God to bring the questions, the honest wrestlings of the heart. In his magnificent book, "Sacred Sorrow," author Michael Card writes this, and I'm quoting him now, "Depending on which commentary you pick up, you'll read that from one-third to over one-half of the Psalms are laments. With the exception of one Psalm," and it's 88, "each lament eventually turns to praise, revealing an important truth that has been lost. Lament is one of the most direct paths to the true praise we know we have lost. In fact, lament is not a path to worship, it is a path of worship".
It is worship. It's coming and bringing your earnest state before the Lord and sometimes we cry ourselves back to laughter before the Lord, lament what has really been painful, and then we've had a safe place to put it, a God we can trust who knew anyway. And we come in our honest state, and that very lament that we were afraid to do brings us back to a place of praise and joy. But it is very important that we let this sit for just a little while, and that we know we have a God who is safe for us to pour out our hearts to and sometimes even say, "My feelings are hurt over this". This is the crux of the matter. Remember when the psalmist start Psalm 73, verse 1, God is indeed good. Here is where we get tripped up because it is always true. He cannot be anything else but good, but here's the thing, there's this wonderful passage, he says, right in the center of when he's saying, "My peace I give to you".
I want you to jot down. This is a quote from Jesus to us. It's right out of John chapter 14, verse 27, and I want you to write, just like you would write down a quote from someone else where you have that little dash right there, I want you to write this down somewhere in your notes. It says this: "I do not give to you as the world gives". We look out at the world and we think we define, "This is what blessing looks like, that it always looks like this. This is what prosperity would look like. This is what living in the goodness of God in the land of the living would look like. This is it, this is it, this is it". He goes, "Oh, but you don't get it. I do not give as the world gives".