Jentezen Franklin - Don't Settle, Keep Climbing
If you have your Bibles, I want you to open them with me to the book of 2 Samuel 5, 2 Samuel 5. And I wanna share with you a very historic and powerful moment in history and in scripture. Look with me in 2 Samuel 5:6. "And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, 'You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame could repel you,' thinking, 'David cannot come in here.' Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David)", which is called Jerusalem today.
"Now David said on that day, 'Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft,'", King James says the gutter, "'...and defeats the Jebusites (the lame and the blind)'", what a strange statement, "'who are hated by David's soul, he shall be chief and captain.' Therefore they say, 'The blind and the lame shall not come into this house.' Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David. David built all around the Millo and inward. And so David went on and grew great, and the Lord of hosts was with him".
This is an amazing story in the Old Testament of how the city of Jerusalem, for the first time... It's known as Jerusalem now. It was known the city of the Jebusites then. How, for the first time, it was taken by the people of God. Such a prophetic purpose for that city of Jerusalem that is there in Israel now. David is mentioned 600 times in the Old Testament, 60 times in the New Testament. He was in a certain time in history when the 12 tribes of Israel were divided.
Now, come in and listen to me very carefully. There were the Northern tribes and the Southern tribes. They were divided, and brothers and kin began to fight against each other, and Israel was split. What is phenomenal about this story, to me, is that David was king of Hebron and he could've settled. He could've said, "I've come so far; I ought to be happy, I ought to be satisfied, I ought to stay in this comfort zone. I don't have to fight anymore battles". But something in him moved, because he knew there was something greater than Hebron. There was to be the city of David. Something in him called him to higher ground. The dream was not fulfilled. "Where you are is not your final destination".
Something said that deep in his heart. It went all the way back to his youth, because when he was just a strapling of a lad, just 17 years-old, it was David who went out against Goliath. David, who was not only a king, but he was a prophet and he had prophetic movings of God. And when he slew Goliath and cut his head off with his own sword, the Bible said that he picked up the head of that giant, dripping with blood, and he took it not just back to his tent, but read the story in 1 Samuel 17, he took it back to the city of the Jebusites, or as we call it today, Jerusalem.
Even though they didn't have possession of it, and he put it outside the walls on a hill, stuck it on a spear somewhere, and set it up as if to say to those Jebusites and the stronghold that they had in their family, "There's coming a day, I don't know when, I don't know how, I don't know where, but there's coming a day, one day, when I will come back to this city and the same God who gave me the head of this giant, I'm planting it here to serve notice on you that I'm gonna take this city for God, because God has given it to me. I have faith for it".
Many years go by and now he's there in Hebron and he should be satisfied, but he remembers the stirring that he felt that day when he ran 18 miles with the head of that king and made such a strange prophetic statement by putting that head of Goliath for all the Jebusites on the fortified walls to see. He remembered and he moved out. Three times. What's interesting is there was such a stronghold. The word stronghold, by the way, means seat of authority. They had set up such a stronghold, the Jebusites, that it was the legend of ghost stories that the Israelites would tell their children. "Oh, they're so powerful".
It was something about it, there was a mystique. There was something about it that they couldn't overcome and couldn't imagine ever taking the city of the Jebusites. They had such a reputation that they would tell stories to their children, the Israelites would, of how fierce and how mighty the people were who held that fortified city. Three times, the Bible mentions the words "the blind and the lame". Three times. Why? The Jewish rabbis teach that this was a phrase that was used to rub salt into the wounds of the Israelites. The blind and the lame was a reference.
Now, listen and imagine in your mind for a moment, high walls. And the Jebusites took caricatures or mannequins, we would say, or dummies basically, large oversized, and they put them on pulleys. And at night, they would light torches on those walls and they would raise them up and it would look like maybe a puppet on a string, huge, large, oversized puppets on pulleys, and one of them was a caricature of an individual who was blind. And on the other side was someone who looked like they were lame and stumbling. And they would move them on the wall and light it up at night so that all the Jewish people would look up at those walls and they were reminding them, according to Jewish rabbis, they were taunting the weaknesses of two of the heroes of faith in the family of the Israelites.
The blind man represented Isaac; because you remember when he was on his deathbed he had totally lost his vision. And that's how Jacob stole the birthright, because he put goats' hair on his arm and the father couldn't see; but he reached up and felt and he said, "You sound like Jacob, but you feel like Esau, and I'm gonna give you the birthright," because the father was blind. And so they had a blind puppet basically on a huge pulley. And at night, they would mock the Israelites. "Your forefather, Isaac, was a blind man". And on the other side, where the Northern tribes were, "You can't take this city. Your relative was Jacob, and he was a lame man".
Remember how he got in a wrestling match with an angel and the angel pulled his leg out of socket? And the Bible said that he limped for the rest of his life, and he had a lameness to him. And they would mock and they would show these... weaknesses of their leaders to those Hebrews. Every young Hebrew soldier would look up and in mockery they would see Isaac and they would see Jacob. They would see the blind weakness and the blind lameness of the forefathers that they'd had before.
Jacob, limping along, and Isaac staggering along. And all they were saying, it's psychological warfare, they were saying to those Hebrew soldiers, "You're just a bunch of blind and lame folks. You should settle where you are and be content. You don't belong up here. You're not powerful enough. You come from the lame and the blind. And you might as well give up on the ultimate high place that you're dreaming of. Just settle for Hebron. Settle for Samaria. You've done okay, but you're not going up any higher".
And they would remind them every night with the lame and the blind that, "You're nobody, that you're not good enough," that, "You're not strong enough". Isn't the enemy great at flaunting the weakness in our face? Isn't he great at showing us and highlighting all of the weaknesses of our heroes and the people that we have followed? The leaders? He points out the weakness. "You don't have what you think you have". And he reminded them with psychological warfare the brilliance of the Jebusites, defeating them in their mind, telling them, "Nobody in your family... Look. Look. Isaac couldn't do it. His generation couldn't take this city. And Jacob, the next generation, he couldn't take this city. They were lame and they were blind. There's no way your generation will take this city. Nobody in your family has ever conquered this stronghold".
"Your granddaddy was an alcoholic, your daddy was an alcoholic, and you're no different". And the enemy loves to raise up things that cause us to be deflated in our faith and in our belief that God has greater things for us. "I have their hides on the wall," just taunting you and telling you you're never gonna take the stronghold of Zion. Sometimes we look at our forefathers and people who are super and powerful and spiritual in our families. I've heard people say, "If I had half the prayer life and faith that my mother had," or "Half the power and spirituality that my father..." or someone in their family had, "Oh, I would be so happy". But that is a false humility prayer. God never intends for you to have half of what somebody great in your family had.
Really, the biblical prayer you ought to pray is the prayer that Elisha prayed. "But I've never done nothing for God and they've done so many great things for God". Elisha had never done anything for God but pour water. He was a water boy and he poured water on the hands of Elijah, the old prophet. But when Elijah went up, he said, "God, I want not half of what he's got; I want double. I wanna do double of..." That's a biblical prayer. Don't ask for half. "I hope I can do half what my daddy or my mama did". I wanna do double what they did. That's God's mentality. That's God's mentality.
God gave David such a vision that he united Israel and he was not intimidated by those who had gone before him. You know, I doubt when Goliath and his wife had babies, that he looked in the crib and saw a dwarf. Giants don't produce dwarfs. If he would've looked and saw a dwarf, he would've had a talk with Mrs. Goliath and said, "What have you been up to when I've been out fighting these Israelites"? Because giants begat giants. Saint Bernards don't give birth to Chihuahuas. They give birth to gigantic dogs just like themselves. A generation of giants should not produce dwarfs, afraid to do mighty things for God.
If anybody in your family did something great for God, you're not supposed to do less. You have the DNA faith, the genetic faith that your father and your mother had and God is calling you to do even greater things than they did, maybe in a different field, in a different way, but you're going higher not lower. And you need to believe that as you go up, the strongholds are coming down in Jesus' name. Give God a shout if you believe for that. I wonder how many of you are settling for the Uganda Plan in your life? You're settling for some guy who's not even a Christian, or some girl who's not even serving the Lord. You're settling for something that's not God's best. God has an A-Plan, not a B-Plan. There's the good, and the acceptable, and there's the perfect will of God.
Don't settle for the Uganda Plan when God said, "You're headed up to Jerusalem. I'm gonna give you the place of my glory". David and his men look at this mountain, and then on top of the mountain there was a 40 mile area up top that had been flattened. And there were the huge walls of Jerusalem all around it. Impregnable. No way in. And David's eyes fall on one weakness. It's a gutter. It's a water shaft. A gutter. And David says, "It's 20 inches high". You can still go there today, by the way. It's 20 inches high. "And to the first man who gets up the gutter..."
Have you ever cleaned out the gutter? Have you ever cleaned out your gutters at your house? I've watched Cherise do it many times. It's an awful job. You need rubber gloves. She puts 'em on. I have to go study about that time. But you know what a gutter... What's in a gutter? Slime and sludge and twigs and critters and birds and bird nests and bird nests and just nasty. I love it though. David said, "I don't care how I get there, if I have to go through the gutter..." I'd love to just say to the next generation, "We're just gonna hand you over," but the only way for a new generation to get where God has for you is you have to go through the gutter, too.
And there's slime and there's sludge and you see these soldiers... You ever seen soldiers when they have their pictures made? They gotta beautiful flag behind them. They're in their full beautiful blues and brass buttons and shiny shoes. But you should've saw those soldiers after they went through. They didn't have on shiny buttons and shoes. They looked like filth. They had been through mud and sludge and slime. They had taken three steps and... you ever tried to climb up a mossy mess and you slide back down and climb up four and slide back down. But God said, "Take the city".
And I'm here to preach to somebody, don't you settle for Hebron when God has promised you Jerusalem. Don't you settle for Plan B when God says, "I am going to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you can..." "Hebron is what you can do, but Jerusalem is what only I can do, and I want you to get up. And it's gonna get ugly and it's gonna get dirty and it's not gonna be easy. If it were, anybody could go up the gutter".
And you'd think the young guns were ones who went up the gutter. Guess who the first one was? An old dude by the name of Joab. He said, "Wait a minute. I've waited for this all of my life. Get behind me, you little young guns. I'm going up". And he went up the gutter. And this is what happened. When he popped out, don't you know he looked bad, smelled bad, been through mess, had mess all over him? But he looks around and your Bible will tell you if you read that not one Israeli casualty happened in the taking of the city of Jerusalem. Not one. It was all a big bluff.
And he runs over and grabs that caricature of the lame and throws it over the wall and grabs the one of the blind and throws it over the wall and raises up his hands in victory and says, "God has given us this city". What I'm saying to you is the enemy will put his... bluff on the wall and tell you you're not strong enough, you're not mighty enough, nobody in your family has ever done it, you need to settle where you are. But God is calling you and me to higher places, and we're not going to settle. We're not going to settle.
There're lying devils screaming from the walls, "You can't do it. Just stop. You've done more than anybody expected. Don't try to do anything greater. Just stop before... You better watch out. You might risk it all and lose it all". Not if God told you to do it. What you don't know, devil, is years ago, I took the head of Goliath and I put it on a pole outside the city.
Now, let me preach right here. Watch this. I'm almost done. Why did David drag that bloody head for 18 miles to the city of the Jebusites and plant it on a hill outside the walls of the city of what would become Jerusalem? Could it be because Genesis 3, God said to the serpent, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed," the serpent's seed, "her seed. The King James says, "You will crush his head, he'll bruise your heel". Watch now. Watch. David takes the skull of Goliath, puts it on a hill outside the walls; not inside, outside. Jesus had to be crucified outside the walls and He was crucified at Golgotha, which is translated the place of a skull.
Why was it called the place of the skull? Many believe that's where David put the skull of Goliath. And when they raised Jesus up on that cross and they nailed His feet, that was the bruising of the heel. But when the thud of the cross went in the earth on Golgotha, the place of the skull, He crushed the skull of Satan. Satan is crazy. He's got brain damage. He's had a massive head injury and he's never got over it since Calvary. Oh, I feel like preaching. You don't even have to help me.
I don't know what the enemy's telling you. "This stronghold of addiction, this stronghold of alcoholism, this stronghold of drugs, this stronghold of sexual perversion... you'll never bring it down in your family and in your life". But because of a cross, The cross has crushed the head and the skull of the serpent and his seed and there's victory in Jesus and there's power in the cross and there's power in the blood of Jesus. You can be free. You can be delivered. Strongholds will come down and God will raise you up. Victory comes in strange places. And the dirtiest battles of your life will produce the greatest victories.
The city of the Jebusites became the city of David. When Jesus showed up 1.500 years later, every time He healed somebody, they would cry out, "Have mercy". What did they call Him? The Son of David. "Thou Son of David, have mercy". And He would heal them. "What are you saying"? The reason that it became the city of David was because 1.500 years later, Jesus would be crucified outside the walls, but they would take His dead body inside the walls, in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. But on the third day, even though He had to go through the gutter, even though He had to go all the way down to hell and He took on my sin and your sin and my iniquity and your iniquity, He rose from the dead in Jerusalem, the city of David, on the third day.
And I wanna finish this sermon by telling you one day Jesus is coming back on a white horse. He's gonna touch down on the Mount of Olives. He's gonna ride across with the army of the Lord. He's gonna burst through the Eastern Gate and He's going to sit on His throne in the city that David conquered by going through the gutter.
Let's stand up on our feet and let's give God a great, great shout of praise. Because the place of your dirtiest battle, will be the place of your greatest victory. I don't know what you're goin' through, I don't know what you're facin', I don't know how dirty the battle has gotten. That's the very place where God will be glorified the most, in your life. That's where the anointing will come through the greatest. You'll look back and say, "That was the dirtiest battle, but that's what produced the greatest anointing in my life".