Jentezen Franklin - Raise Your Voice - Part 1
I wanna go to the Old Testament, Book of Deuteronomy for a few moments this morning. Deuteronomy 22, and I wanna kind of set this verse up in these verses because they're some of the most unusual verses, and they can be easily misunderstood. You're talking about the world 2,000 years ago plus, very much different from now. Women were in no way appreciated, valued, and had freedom like women have now and a voice, a voice, and the Scripture that I'm gonna read is a little bit uncomfortable, to be honest, because I don't anybody to misunderstand what I'm going to preach today because we know that if someone is a woman is ever abused by a man, it is evil, wrong, and she is the victim always. There's no woman that does anything that gives a right to a man to ever hurt or abuse them. Can I get a big amen on that?
But now, this text is going to show you and give you an insight into what the world was like before Christ and before the freedoms that women now enjoy, but there is a vital lesson that I wanna share that is so relevant to all of us that I believe you'll understand when you leave this place. Look with me in Deuteronomy 22. There are laws of sexual morality, and there were things that God's word began to forbid, and it's dealing with one of those things in Verse 23. "If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed", that word betrothed means engaged, "if she is engaged to a husband", they're not married yet, but they're going to get married, "and a man finds her in the city and lies with her", some translations say forces himself upon her, "then you shall bring them both out to the gate of the city, and you shall you stone them to death with stones", listen, "the young woman because she did not cry out in the city", which implies that if she would've just spoke up it could've been stopped.
Now, again, remember what I just told you. But there's a real lesson in this spiritually. You gotta see this through the spiritual eyes to understand the insight that I want you to get. "And the young woman because she did not cry out in the city and the man because he humbled his neighbor's wife, so you shall put away this evil from among you". Verse 25, "But if a man finds a betrothed, engaged, young woman in the field, and the man forces her to lie with him", he's forcing her, "then only the man who lies with her shall die, but you shall do nothing to the young woman. There is in the young woman no sin deserving of death. For just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him even so is this matter", listen, "and he found her in the field, and the engaged, young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her".
I wanna talk to you about, "The Power of Raising Your Voice". Silence can be a sin in the times in which we live, and in this text, it deals with two young women. One of them lived in the country and one of them lived in the city. They both were engaged to a young man. They both were preparing for their wedding day, but then the woman in the city, we don't know if she took a back alley or wherever it was, but somewhere in the city, she was assaulted by a man. A man overtook her. A man abused her. A man forced himself on her. And she, according to the text, her silence was worthy, and this is hard for us to understand, but this is the word of God, and it's there for a reason.
There's a lesson that I want you to see. Her silence was a sin in this case also. In that when she did not cry out in the city for her attacker that was attacking her, I don't know why she didn't cry out. We're not told. Maybe it was fear. Maybe it was intimidation. Maybe it was trauma. Maybe she was so traumatized she could not believe it was happening. She wasn't guilty because she was attacked, but she was guilty because of her silence according to the Old Testament law. Thank God we're not under the Old Testament law. Something happened to this woman in the city and when she was silent, and the reason that it was considered grievous is because in the city there was help. In the city all she had to do was cry out and part of that culture was men would come running. In the city I'm sure her fiance was there, and he would never allow someone to abuse his to-be bride if she would have just raised her voice and cried out.
And then it draws another picture. It talks about if a woman is in a field. She's out in the country. She has nobody surrounding her. She's working in the field all by herself and some evil person with evil intent, a man, forces himself on her and attacks her and abuses her in the field. If she cries out, the Scripture said, that she is not to be stoned. She has done nothing. The man is to be stoned. It's kind of confusing unless you understand the spiritual implication, and here it is. You're gonna get it. I promise. In Matthew 13:38, Jesus said in one of His parables, that the field is the world and in Hebrews 12:22 it says, "But you have come to Mount Zion. You're in the city of the living God".
So, the point is simply this that once you come into the city or the Kingdom of God, once you enter into Christ, we're in the city of the living God. We're not out in the field because Jesus said the field represents the world, but the city represents the city of the living God. Once you're in the church, notice that the same attack came on the woman that was in the city that came upon the same attack happened to the woman that was in the field or the world. Just because you're in church and just because you're serving God does not mean that we don't have an enemy who hates us and who attacks us and who wants to destroy us. The same attack comes on you in the church and it happens to people in the field which really is an important lesson.
Just because you're attacked in the city doesn't mean if you leave the church and give up on your faith that the enemy is gonna let up on you, and you go out into the devil's territory and into his field and you forget God and forget religion, don't think that the attacker is going to leave you alone. He's not gonna leave you alone. You're going to be attacked either way. The devil is not good to his own. It's a matter of time. You may have fun in the field. You may have excitement in the field for a season, but there will come that moment when Satan will attack you in the field, and the Bible says the tragedy of the person in the field is when they are attacked and they cry out there is no one there to hear them.
But in the city if you cry out if you're not too embarrassed, if you're not too ashamed to say I need help, if you're not too much of a person who refuses to acknowledge, you just wanna pretend like you're okay, but you're really hurting, you're really struggling, if you can ever get to the place that once you're in the city, once you're in the church, once you're in the Kingdom, you're willing to cry out and say, "Help! I'm struggling. I'm losing ground. I'm falling away. Help"! All you gotta do is cry out, and the rescuer will come running.
So important to understand that because when you begin to understand that if you're defeated in your mind, if you are attacked, mentally, physically, spiritually, nothing's going on with you that's not going on out there in the world. This is so important. What burdens me is if I'm going through it and you're going through it in the middle of this pandemic, we're all fighting battles. We can pretend, and we can wear an outward mask, but I'm afraid sometimes we're wearing spiritual masks all the time playing like everything's beautiful in our life, and we can be silent when we're dying. And if it's like that in the church, what is it like out there if you don't know the Lord? What is it like out there if you're dying in an addiction to alcoholism or drug addiction or some other vice that's destroying your life, and you're crying out, but you don't know who to cry, and there's nobody to rescue you? I wanna say, first of all, I'm thankful I'm in the city. I'm thankful I'm in the church. I'm thankful that I have Jesus that I can call on.
You see, John 10:10 said, "The thief comes to steal, kill, and to destroy". And that's not just people in the church. That's people out there. He's coming. I don't care how much fun you're having in sin. He's coming to kill, steal, and destroy. It's a matter of time, and I hope you're not so far out there that nobody can hear your cry. When you go serve the devil in his field, he doesn't give you a peace that you didn't have in church. You're not gonna solve your problems by backsliding, by leaving the church. You're not gonna find peace out there that you couldn't find in here. When you understand what I'm preaching today, you understand that the devil cannot give you joy. He cannot give you hope for eternity. He cannot give you purpose for living. He cannot put your home back together. He cannot put your life back together. He cannot give you the dream and the purpose for which you are here.
Understand that if you go serve the devil, he's not going to stop tormenting you. As a matter of fact, he will take his hate out on you in ways you cannot imagine, and the sad thing is you're crying, but nobody's hearing you. I wanna say to some of you who are being tempted to leave the church and go to the field you know too much. You felt too much to ever be happy out there because you know what is in here. And don't think that if you go out there that you're not going to be ambushed and you're not going to be attacked. In a moment when you feel like everything is beautiful and wonderful, I promise you, I've been doing this a long time, and I've seen people who thought, "I can play with it, I can live in the devil's field and do anything I wanna do and get by".
It's a matter of time before that sorry devil who seduced you out is going to ambush you and attack you in a way you never saw coming. Boy, people don't like this kind of preaching, but here we go. Oh, I've got something for you today. The girl was attacked in the field just like the damsel was attacked in the city, but there is a huge difference. If you're in the city, and you don't uplift your voice, if you don't lift your voice in the city, then death comes. There's hope for you in the city. There's help for you in the city of the living God. And we put our mask on and we come to church spiritually, not just the physical mask that we're wearing, but the spiritual mask, I'm afraid, that people come to church, and they put their best foot forward. They want everybody to think that everything is beautiful, and they don't want anybody to know: "I'm struggling, I'm being tempted, I feel like quitting, I don't know how much more of this I can take".
At a time when you're supposed to act like everything is alright when you feel the attack of the adversary, that is not the time to pretend like it's all okay. But when you're being attacked, and I really sense this is a word in season, because all of us are under attacks we never dreamed or saw in this year, and only those who learn how to cry out when they're under attack are gonna make it. And when you feel the attack of the adversary, it's time to cry out. It's time to lift up your voice. It's time to say, "God, help me. God rescue me". There's hope in the city of God if you will cry out. Too many are backsliding silently, drifting, and their voice is never heard in prayer. Their voice is never heard in the midst of their trouble in intercessory prayer and in praise to God.
If you stay silent when you're under attack, you could lose it all but when you learn to open up your mouth, when I open up my mouth and when I begin to proclaim, just sometimes you're so weak all you can say is, "Jesus, I don't know how to fix it, but Jesus. I don't know how to turn it around, but Jesus. I can't do this. It's a job for Jesus. But Lord, have mercy and help us". He says, "I've been waiting, and I'll rescue you. I'm waiting on you to call my name". I believe today that if you would get your voice uplifted, you would be rescued. If you would get your voice uplifted, you could be healed. If you would get your voice uplifted, God could intervene into your circumstances because we are engaged to Jesus Christ. We are that woman in the story that is engaged in the city, and our fiance is bad to the bone. He can fight like you wouldn't believe and if some old sorry man touches us, he's touching the apple of His eye. He's touching, and that lover gets furious. He gets angry. He's insanely jealous, and He will rip your head off. "Touch not my anointed and do my prophet".
And I'm telling you, you're the anointed, and you're God's property, and you're engaged to Jesus Christ, and He takes it personal when someone attacks you. When the enemy, Satan, attacks you, He says, "That's my fight. Call on me. I'll fight your battles". Everybody, take a praise break and lift up your voice and say, "Jesus, I need you, I need you". I think that when we understand that we're engaged to Jesus Christ, in the Old Testament if a woman was engaged to a man and another man put his hands on that woman, that man had the legal right to take that guy out. I kind of like that. Forgive me. As a daddy, I like that. Sometimes we need to say to Satan, "Get your hands off my family". We need to raise our voice and say, "Get your filthy hands off my children". "Get your filthy hands off my wife", or "off my husband".
"You foul devil, get your hands off the property, this home, this family, this marriage, these children. They belong to His Majesty, the Lord Jesus Christ, and you get your filthy hands off. I will not be silent. I will not shut up. The more you attack me, the more I'll cry out, Lord, have mercy and heal my life and heal my need". Scream it if you have to. I'll never forget.
I preached many times at the Great Lakewood Church for Joel Osteen, and one of my favorite things about going there is I get to go backstage with Dodie Osteen, his mother, and boy, she is a godly woman. She can quote half the Bible, and she's a prayer warrior. Little bitty thing, but boy, she's full of the Word of God, and she told me one time. She said, "Jentezen, when they told me I had cancer and that I wouldn't live", she said, "the Lord told me, 'You talk back to that disease. Don't let it trash talk you. You trash talk it.'" And she said that John, her husband, at that time, he's dead and gone on to be with the Lord, but she said the children, Joel and all of them, they would hear her in the back bedroom, and they would say, "Let's get out of the house. Mom's going into one of her fits". And she would close the door, and she would take out Scriptures, and she would walk the floor and say, "The Word of God says that by His stripes I am healed. The Word of God says".
You can't let the devil do all the talking. You have to learn how to lift your voice and cry out with the praise and cry out with the prayer. Instead of panic, praise. Instead of worry, worship. Because you're in the city. Tell somebody, "You're in the city. There's hope for you. There's help for you. You're not out in the country where nobody can hear you. You're in the city". If you're thinking crazy thoughts, you're not alone. It's not a time to be silent. If you've been saying I'm thinking about quitting, you're not alone. But it's time to talk to that quit and say, "He who has begun a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. And I don't understand everything, but here I go. I trust the Lord, and I believe His word".
We need a revival of the uplifted voice. We need the people of God to realize that the power of death and life are in their tongue, and we've gotta start speaking life and talking life and speaking the power of God into our homes and into our lives. There are some moms and some dads and some grandmas and some grandpas who are listening to me at all of our campuses and all over on television, and you are feeling the attack of the enemy like you have never felt in your life.
In this year of this pandemic I have been under more attacks in every way than I have ever been in my 58 years of living. And now, I'm almost getting happy about it. I'm almost realizing that God, even our Nation, come on, we've never faced times like these, and it's not a time for us to be quiet in the cities when there's rioting, when they're burning, when we're seeing division and violence and hatred. If ever there was a time for the church to lift up their voice and cry aloud and spare not to shout unto God with a voice of triumph, the Blood of Jesus, the name of Jesus, and the cross, it's in this hour. I need somebody to say I will not be silent. Many people were in the presence of Jesus. The people who got the miracles when they were in the presence of Jesus were people who cried out.