Jentezen Franklin - Celebrating The Little Victories
I wanna talk to you about celebrating the little victories. The little victories. Because it's the little hinges, that big doors swing on. And I want you to see in 1 Samuel 14, an Old Testament story. I'll begin reading with verse 24. "The men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, 'Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.' So none of the people tasted food. Now all the people of the land came to a forest; and there was honey on the ground". They didn't even have to prepare it. They didn't have to get stung for it. It just fell out of the trees. There was honey on the ground. Sounds like God had supplied.
"And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand out to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance was brightened". He received strength. "Then one of the people said, 'Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, "Cursed is the man who eats food".'" And the people were faint. And Jonathan said, "My father troubles the land". He's basically saying, "Dad don't know what he's talking about". 'Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted,' notice this, "a little of this honey". He didn't take a lot, it's just a little.
I think this is an amazing story because it teaches a powerful, powerful principle. Here's what was taking place, Saul and his army were asleep, I didn't have time to read you the whole story, but just follow me a minute. King Saul and the army of Israel are asleep, and they have tremendous enemies, the Philistines are all around them and they're asleep, resting. But Jonathon, Saul's son and his armor bearer had one sword and when they saw the Philistines over the Bible gives the measurement. A 20 acres of land they ran right through it with their sword after they put a little fleece out. They ran right through the Philistine camp with one sword and slew dozens of men on every acre of that land, fighting all the way, taking the land.
There was such a commotion that was made that Saul, the sleeper and all of his army woke up and there was Jonathan and his armor bearer with dead Philistines all around them. The other Philistines had taken flight and were running away in fear and in that moment Saul stands up and instead of celebrating, a victory, it was an incomplete victory, it was an unfinished victory, but it was a tremendous victory. They went from sleeping to one man with one sword, and his armor bearer running with him, taking 20 acres of land and Saul didn't even wanna celebrate. As a matter a fact, he put a oath and a curse on anyone who celebrated by eating some of the honey that was falling from the trees. He said, "No one celebrates until the victory of all my enemies is complete".
A lot of people take on that Saul attitude, that, "Until my victory is Ultimate, until I have complete and, everything is just like I want it I really can't celebrate life, I really can't be happy right now because I've had a little victory, I've had some good things that have happened, but they're not major things, they're just little victories". And I love Jonathan because Jonathan said, "I don't care what he says, I'mmo taste a little honey cause I just and a little victory, and God's been good. And no, the battle is not over, and we got a lot of Philistines to defeat but you know what, I need some energy and some strength and so I'm gonna praise God for this little 20 acre victory right here, because God had done something great and I don't need to ignore the little waiting on the big. I don't need to ignore the incomplete... Or just wait on the incomplete and ignore what God has started right here in this field".
A lot of people get indigestion over the incomplete, a lot of people become undone by what is still undone and that's why they sit and they don't ever get excited because they're waiting for the final conclusion and victory that they been longing and praying for. But you have to learn to get excited over the partial. You have to learn to get excited over the little victories that God brings in your life. And don't make a little deal about them, make a big deal about them. He tasted a little bit, he didn't have all the honey but he said, "I'm gonna get happy over a little bit of honey". God says, "My ways are not your ways", in Isaiah 55.
See, the way that the world celebrates is when the victory is complete. You go to a ball game and you don't normally see a team at half time who's ahead turning summersaults and going crazy, "We're winning, we're winning". They wait until the game is over tonight and then they'll celebrate. But that's not what God said, "I do and it's not what I want you to do, I want you to recognize the little victories, the little improvements, the little breakthroughs, the little changes, the little phone calls, the little bit. It's not everything but I want you to praise me for the partial little victories that I'm giving you already in a new year".
I thought about how that in the Book of Numbers the Bible said that God told Moses to go out into the desert and they were thirsting to death and God told him, He said, "Now I want you to tell Israel to start singing. I want them to sing to sand. I know you're thirsty, I know you need something to drink". And they began to say, "Spring up, O well". And when they were saying, "Spring up, O well". They had staffs and they were poking the ground and when they did they're singing, "And all of you sing to it". 'Sing to what?' "Sing to the sand". Sing to the sand. "We're out here and we need something to drink and God said, 'if you want it to produce sing to it.'" "Sing unto it", the King James says. Sing your way to it. Get to it through praise. "Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it:" Sing to the place where the promise is supposed to happen. Sing to that place. Sing and lift your voice.
And the princes and the nobles did it and all-of-the-sudden water started gushing up in the middle of the desert. You don't wait until things change to praise God. But before the sand became a liquid pouring out blessing, enough to feed the animals and keep the animals alive and millions of people alive in the desert they had to sing and praise God ahead of time. Not at the conclusion, not when out was complete, but the way that it happens is when you start praising him for what He's doing right now. Maybe a little but there's power in that little. Isaiah 54:1 puts it this way. "Sing, O barren one". He didn't say, "Sing you super productive, sing you successful and blessed ones". No. "Sing the one who nobody thinks has anything to praise for. 'Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, if you haven't had a child and you're wanting a child! For more are the children of the desolate the children of the married woman,' says the LORD". God says, "I want somebody who's barren to sing an praise me, I want somebody who's disappointed, I want somebody who's empty, I want somebody who's unproductive, I want somebody who is not giving birth to what they thought God said He would do".
You are the very one. Let the barren sing, sing to the sand in the dry place and sing if you're barren and unproductive and disappointed. You don't get frustrated over the unfinished you break forth into singing. You're not giving birth to what you want, but just because you haven't done it doesn't mean you have a right to be silent. Sing when you don't feel like it. Praise when you don't feel like it. I've got a promise, And the way that you get pregnant with the promise is when you begin to praise the Lord.
You see, He goes on to say in that same chapter, "Enlarge the place of your tent". He said that, "I want you to praise me and get some chairs because you gonna need more room". And He said, "If you're praying for rain you ought to be carrying an umbrella. Enlarge your tent". 'It hasn't happened, I don't even have the one.' Enlarge your tent when you start singing and praising God even when you're barren. "Stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: Stretch forth and strengthen your stakes. For you shall you break forth on the right hand and on the left". The break forth doesn't come until the barren begin to sing. And thank God for the little victories, the partial victories, the incomplete victories, the unfinished victories.
God says, "You magnify before I manifest". God says, "You praise before I produce". Jehoshaphat blessed God in the face of his enemies, he put praise and worship out on the battle field in the face of the obstacles that were coming against him. Have you praised the Lord for the little victories that He started in a brand new year? I wish that it, "You know, I see little improvements, I see little great breakthroughs, I see a little". If you'll praise Him for a little He'll give you a lot! We get frustrated over the unfinished, but God said, "Let the barren sing". God said, "Sing to the sand, take inventory".
Have you made any progress? Thank Him. Alright, so I'mmo give you a chance to put into practice what I'm preaching. Have you seen any progress at all in the situations you've been dealing with? Don't wait until it's finished and over and complete, but praise Him right... C'mon, lose that Saul Spirit! "I'm not gon' get happy until... I appreciate that, that's good, you got a little victory, but it's no big deal until all my enemies are gone". That's a Saul Spirit! We need a Jonathan Spirit that says, "I'm gonna taste the honey because God has been good to me"! Clap your hands and thank Him for the little victories, the little change, the little phone call, the little open door, the little new opportunity that came your way. It's coming bigger if you'll praise Him while it's little! After the pandemic... After the pandemic I used to come in here every week, y'all sit down.
I used to come in here every week and preach to 3000... We have 3000 seats in this room. We put our services online, and I didn't, I was so used to this place being filled and then I'm suddenly standing in here and some camera people and the praise team would sing, and I'd walk out and no hand clapping, nobody getting up and going to the bathroom while I'm preaching, none of that! And it's still coming back. But I had to watch it because when people started coming back you started coming back slow, and some of you have never come back. But I'm praising God for the partial. At least you're watching online! But you know, the Lord really spoke to me, and I'd walk out and all I would see was the empty seats. And the Lord said, "What about the seats that have people in it? You're so worried about the empty seats you're missing the ones that are filled".
I wonder how any of you are waiting till the seats are filled before you can give yourself permission to have a good day? Turn to somebody and say, "I don't need nothing else, God has been good to me and I wanna praise Him for the little things. I don't have to have anything else to praise Him for, the little things matter". Learn to say, "It's good," after minor blessing and God will send you major blessings! The very good is coming when you start saying good after the minor blessings and you don't allow the minor things to hold you hostage until it's a great thing. God, was not held hostage in His praise by the incompletion of the totality of the whole plan of creation. Why are you? Why are you being held hostage? He took time after the partial to praise Himself.
Too many times we will not give honor and praise to God until it's very good. And most of life is good. We get so hung up on the completion, listen to this, Jesus said in the Book of Luke 15. He said, "There is joy in the presence of God and the angels over one sinner that repents". All the angels in Heaven put on their party hat when one sinner, "But what about the whole world"? The goal, the major plan is to reach the whole world. "God so loved the Whole world". So there are billions of people that are lost and undone. But God doesn't wait until the billions get saved. He says, "When there is one sinner Heaven goes into an eruption and has a party and rejoices over one sinner who repents and comes home".
"Well, I brought them to church, Pastor Franklin, and they didn't go to the alter." But they came to church and they're now, just the fact that somebody is here, you don't understand God's already won the victory. Begin to praise Him for the partial and watch Him to do the great and mighty thing! Heaven gets happy over the incomplete operation. How many things are you waiting, waiting, waiting, even emotionally not allowing yourself to even enjoy a day because everything's not perfect? Most of your life is gon' be a sad, sad story, cause most of life everything won't be perfect. So when you start getting my age you start getting an attitude about it. It's a Holy Ghost, so what. So what? So what? So what? Hallelujah. Y'all, I'll finish.
See, the Bible said that Saul rebuked them and said, "Nobody celebrate this victory". You know what our problem is? We're trying to go too far off one tank of gas. Because what God intends for us to do is not just fight battle after battle, after battle, after battle, but, that's not what life is about and that's not what being a Christian is about. Burden and burden and battle and battle. No. No. No! It's you battle and then you stop after you've won and you praise the Lord and you taste a little honey, then you get the strength to go at it again. And then you fight a little while and you persevere and you don't give up and you keep pushing and standing and fighting. And them God will give you a few more Philistines and another acre and you stop and you take a little bit of the honey and you praise God because He's still good.
If you don't praise over the partial and rejoice over the incomplete and sing over the barren and sing to sand you can't experience the best. And suddenly, when Saul woke up and rebuked the praise of everybody because the victory wasn't completely won, Jonathan looked at him and said, "You're wrong". In so many words. "God provided this honey on the ground! I didn't even have to get stung for it! God provided this moment of peace and sweetness in the middle of a battle field! I feel alright today"! Hallelujah. "I feel good today! I'm okay today! And I'm going to take a little bit of this honey and I'm gonna taste it. I know you think that I ought not to get happy and joyful but"... See, this is what I'm trying to preach to you. God's people live by faith, and in the faith world it in done. In the faith world we don't wait till the game is over, we start praising the Lord before the thing is ever complete because God said, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"!
Tell somebody, "I got some more battles to fight, but it's time to take a taste of the honey". Every now and then you need to stop and see how far you've come. "Well, I'm still struggling, Pastor, I'm still struggling". Well, you used to smoke three packs and now you down to one, so you doing good! Can you thank Him that you don't have to have three packs today? "Pastor, I still fall off the wagon every once in a while". Well, yeah but at least you're on the wagon and when you fall off something in you says, "Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up". You used to not to have that get up in you. but look what the Lord has done. I promise you, if you'll just begin to praise Him for what you see Him doing in little victories! Quit beating yourself up. Little victories.