Jentezen Franklin - Open My Eyes
I wanna talk to you today about what happens when God opens your eyes. This phrase is found four times in the scripture. And each time, it has to do with what God can do when our eyes become opened. In this particular text in Genesis 21, God had promised Abraham and Sarah in their old age that they would have a child. It was not happening. They had waited for 20 years, and the promise of God was not being fulfilled, seemingly, in their lives.
And so, in a moment of haste and in a moment of just really tired of waiting on God to do it, Sarah took things in her own hands. She said to her husband Abraham, "I want you to go into my handmaiden," her name is Hagar, "and produce a child with her. That's the only way we're gonna ever have the little pitty-pat of little feet running around this house. It's not gonna happen with us. We're too old to have children". And Abraham went in and united with this woman. And her name was Hagar, and they had a child. And the child's name was Ishmael. He was a boy child named Ishmael. And as women tend to do, she changed her mind, Sarah did.
After the baby was born, after she got pregnant herself, she gave Abraham an ultimatum. She said, "Throw the bondwoman and the baby out of our household. We have our own baby, and I'm not interested in having two wives for you. I'm your one and only. Do you understand"? And the Bible said that, "Abraham harkened unto the voice of his wife". I always thought that was a funny verse. I think they're skipping a lotta things in there, but he harkened unto the voice of his wife.
Now watch this. This is a real story that happened. You know that Abraham and Sarah had a son named Isaac. But Abraham had a child with Hagar named Ishmael. And so he gives them a little bit of food, he gives them a canteen, or a skin, animal skin, filled with water. And he says, I'm putting you out of the house. You're on your own. Go away. And they're left in the desert. And there they are in the desert, wondering. And after a while, the water runs out. The food runs out.
If you could go to the Judean Desert that we're referring to here, you won't last long there without water. It is a dire situation that you can get into very, very quickly, and they were in it. And when they had run out of water, and when they had run out of food, and it was very evident to Hagar that her son Ishmael was going to die, being so heartbroken, she places him up under a shrub. And then she walks away. The distance... The way she measured it was as far as a bow can shoot. A bow and arrow. And she finds herself far away from him because she can't bear to see her child die of thirst. It's a cruel death. A horrible death. She can't bear to watch what's going to happen to him.
She was actually saying what moms, and dads, and parents find themselves, from time to time, saying because of the condition of their children. I can't bear to watch this happen. When you see a child going deeper and deeper into addiction. When you see someone messing their life up more, and more, and more. Destroying their own potential. And it became so powerful or so painful for this mother that she said, I can't just sit here and let him die in my arms. In order to maintain my sanity, I've got to distance myself because I can't bear to see it. She puts him under a shrub, and she puts distance between her and her child because she didn't wanna see it. She didn't wanna know it. She didn't want to be there. She was better off not knowing. She almost is going into denial now of what's happening to her child.
She lifted her voice, and she wept. And this is one of the most tender stories, in my opinion, in the Old Testament. And God heard the voice of the lad, and an angel of the Lord came to them in the desert. It does not say that the angel, or the Lord heard the voice of the mother. It said that He heard the voice of the child. And the angel said to the mother, "Fear not. God has heard the voice of the lad where he is". You're separated from him. You think that God can only hear your prayers where you are, but God heard the prayer where he is. "Fear not. Arise, lift up the lad, for I will make him," listen to this, "a great nation".
Ismael's not cursed. I don't care how bad he looks right now. I'm gonna make something great outta that kid. I have my hand on that kid. I don't care what you're seeing. I don't care what you're looking at. Something great's gonna come outta Ishmael, and don't you let anybody tell you anything different. "Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water". It was there all the time, but she didn't see it until God opened her eyes. She had given up on him. She didn't wanna see what would happen to him. But God was listening to the cry of that child. God heard his voice.
And here's my point. When God opens your eyes, you'll see something. And I wanna say to parents whose children have gone astray that are listening to me. Parents who have wept. Parents who have cried. Parents who can't bear to watch that child becoming an alcoholic. Or that child off living with someone they're not married to. Or that child whose gone off to college, and they won't come to church anymore, and they don't believe in God anymore. And you've had to put distance between you and them, maybe, even to keep your sanity because the addiction is so strong in their life.
What you don't realize is when the child was a baby, and you prayed for that child, and you taught that child Bible stories, and you prayed littler prayers when you tucked them in, now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. When you sung songs in the car, and when you taught them the Word of God. The point that I want you to see is that there was something that had been put in that child. That when that child was separated from his mother, and in a terrible, terrible, place, there was something in that child that was crying out for help. And God heard the cry of the lad's voice.
What you put in those children, when you train them up, when you teach them the Bible, when you read little stories from the Word, and have those devotions, and pray. What you put in them will still cry out, even when they're gone and doing their own thing. Just like God told Cain. He said, "Cain, your brother's blood is crying out from the dirt". I wanna say that if the blood of a man can cry out from the dirt, and God can hear that cry, how much more those children that we have pleaded the blood of Jesus over, and gotten the Spirit of God to touch them; How much more will God hear the voice of that child, even when the dirt of the world has covered them up.
Even when they're filthy with the sins of this world, there is something in them that God can hear that says, "Don't leave me here. I don't belong here. I wasn't raised like this. I'm better than this". And even though they don't even know that they're crying out, there's something mom and dad put in them that keeps crying out to God. And they can never get out of the grasp and the grip of God's grace. If you believe it, give the Lord a praise for that. God is hearing the voice of the lad where he is. God can hear them today where they are. "Fear not," he says to the parents. Fear not. "The Lord opened her eyes, and she saw a well..."
She saw provision. She saw living water. And she saw what was invisible when the Lord opened her eyes. And not only that. What blessed me about the story is then the angel said, I will make a great nation out of this child. In other words, God is saying concerning the children that you're worried about, if you've raised em right, you've got a covenant with God. And even when they aren't living right, something is crying out. And God says, "I've got a great plan for your children even when you can't see it".
God saw a well all the time she was weeping. The eyes of the Lord are on your children, church. The eyes of the Lord are upon your family. His ears are tuned in to a voice that they don't even know has been put in them. It's like you've got one of those secret...
When our girls would get their car and their driver's license, we'd put a little secret thing up in the fender somewhere that would track em, and we'd know exactly where they were. I don't play fair. The devil doesn't play fair. I don't play fair either. And the Lord has got a tracker on your crazy children. I feel like preaching. And if they're in prison, He can hear em. And if they're in trouble, He can hear em. And if they're in sin, He can hear em. And He can find em, and He's got a great plan for em. If you believe it, give the Lord a praise like you believe in the power of the covenant that we have for our families. Amen. Amen. Amen.
I'm preaching myself happy today. Numbers 22 gives us the second time the Bible says somebody's eyes were opened. It's one of the most remarkable stories in all of the Bible. There was a great prophet by the name of Balaam, and he was a real prophet. Whoever he blessed was blessed. But toward the latter part of his life, he became corrupted. And he was bribed to take money and to curse the people of God. So he got the money from a wicked king to go curse Israel. And he got on his donkey, and he started down the road to go curse what God had blessed. And the Bible said while he was riding the donkey, right in the middle of the road, an angel from the Lord manifests.
Now the donkey could see it, but the prophet couldn't. And the donkey, when he saw the angel with a drawn sword standing in the middle of the road, took off trotting out into an open field and started trying to turn around. And I could see that old prophet grabbing the reins and trying to make that donkey go back on the narrow path. But he wouldn't go. He was fighting it cause he saw the angel that the prophet couldn't see. And the Bible said the old prophet got mad, and Balaam took his staff and started beating that donkey and hitting it as hard as he could. And then finally he got the donkey to go on down the narrow road.
And the Bible said the further they went, listen to how, this is how you know you're going the wrong direction. The further they went, the more narrow the road got. And there was a wall on one side and a wall on the other. See, when you first start going in the wrong direction, God's so good that He'll give you an open field to turn around in and go right. But the deeper you go into sin, and the further you try to make success outta sin, maybe it's a bad relationship, and you're going in the wrong direction with the wrong person. It's not God's will. And you're saying, why don't God give me what I want? Cause He's protecting you from disaster.
There was an angel with a drawn sword, saying I'm gonna kill anybody that keeps coming down this road. And the donkey got so desperate that he shifted and crushed the prophet's foot. And if you think he was mad before in the field, now he's really mad. And he gets off of that donkey, and he beats the living daylights outta that donkey with his staff. And God opened the mouth of the donkey, and the donkey started talking to the preacher. And the donkey said, "Why are you beating me? Have I not always been obedient to you? Have I not always done what you told me to do? Have I not always gone in the direction that you wanted me to take you in? There must be a reason why I'm trying to turn around. Can you not see the angel"?
And the crazy thing is when the donkey talked to him, he starts talking back to the donkey. And he says, listen to this conversation, he says, "I'd like to kill you". He said, "I'm beating you with my staff, but if I had a sword, I'd kill you. The only reason I hadn't killed you is all I got is a staff. I don't have a sword". And he's carrying on a conversation with a donkey. If you understand donkey talk, you maybe a donkey yourself.
Watch this. And the Bible said, and the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and he spoke. And the Lord opened they eyes of the prophet. And as he was beating that donkey, trying to make it go on down the road, he saw. Suddenly he saw that he was going in the wrong direction when he saw that angel with a drawn sword, ready to kill him. God was keeping him from a death angel. God opened his eyes. Hagar had her eyes opened, and she saw the provision of a well of water in the middle of a desert for her family. But Balaam had his eyes opened, and he saw the direction was wrong that he was going. And he knew that he was going in the wrong direction.
And I'm saying to you today that it's not the devil who's fighting some of you. Some of you just insist on my dream, and my way, and what I wanna do with my life, and you blame the devil for fighting you. And really, it's probably God saying you need to get totally surrendered and get your eyes opened. That maybe the person you're with has nothing to do with the will of God. Maybe the situation you're trying to get into, it's the goodness of the Lord that has not allowed you to go further down that road. The donkey saved his life. God can open your eyes when you're trying to do your own thing in your own way and give you the right direction.
Let me quickly take you to the third place. It's in 2 Kings 6. And there is another man by the name of Elisha. And one day his servant walks out on the porch, and he sees that the Assyrians in the cover of night have completely surrounded the house of the prophet, and they have come to kill and assassinate him. And in panic, the servant runs into the house, and he says "Alas, master. Alas, what are we going to do? The Assyrians have surrounded us". And the prophet says something powerful. He says, "Do not fear". Listen to this. "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them".
And the servant is like, what are you talking about? We're completely surrounded. And then he prayed this prayer, powerful prayer. He said Lord, "Open the eyes of my servant". And when he opened his eyes that he might see, the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw horses and chariots of fire from the mountain. Full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. What I'm saying to you is, when God opens your eyes, you can see provision. When God opens your eyes, you can see the right direction. And when God opens your eyes, you can see protection that the unseeing eye cannot see.
Sometimes God has to open our eyes to the fact that we are protected. He said, "Open his eyes". If you could see how many enemy forces are following you around to destroy you, you would be terrified. I feel like the Lord spoke to my heart, and He said, "If you had any idea how many demons track you and follow you..." And the Bible said that God said to Cain, "If you don't wanna do right, sin lieth at the door". One translation said sin is crouched at the door. Ready to pounce. Ready to attack.
There are demon forces that follow us around, and they are waiting for the opportunity to take out the child of God. If you could see how many enemy forces, if somehow God would open your eyes, it would terrify you how many demons follow your children. I know people get uncomfortable with the word demon, but it's a Bible word. And Jesus cast em out, and they're still around. If we could see the spiritual battle that is around our souls and around our families, it would terrify us. But I love the fact that when his eyes got opened, he saw that they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
He saw angels. He saw horses and chariots of fire that were surrounding the man of God. And they smote that army, and they were blind. And Elisha took the whole army into his captivity, and took em to the king of Israel, and turned them over because they were blind. I still believe in divine protection. I still believe that the only reason that I'm standing up here today is I know demons are all around, but the angels are bigger around. And the fire of the wall of God is... I have a wall of fire around me.
Turn to somebody and say, your family is surrounded with chariots of fire. Horses of fire. If your children get covered up in dirt, something in them's gonna be crying out while they're doing wrong. God'll hear em. God'll protect them. I know the devil can see me. Every now and then, I see one in my bedroom. I do. I'm not being super-spiritual, but every now and then, I'll have a demon visit me.
Y'all are, "I invited my neighbor, and they're gonna think we're nuts". No. Welcome to spiritual warfare. I know. I know it's real. But I've learned when I do feel that presence, and wake up in the middle of the night and feel evil, and see some figure at the foot of my bed to just turn over and say the name that is above every name. In the name of Jesus, you get out of here. You are illegal on this property. This belongs to Jesus. And you'll flip back over, and they'll flee. They'll flee at the name of Jesus. Shout "my family is surrounded".