Jentezen Franklin - The Hiding Place
If you have your Bibles, I'd like for you to open them with me to the book of 2 Kings. I'm going to go to the book of 2 Kings 11 and there's a great story in the Old Testament that I want you to see that is a job description, really, for every parent in 2 Kings 11. Verse one of 2 Kings 11, "When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs. But Jehosheba, the daughter of the King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son... the king's sons and she hid him, his nurse in the bedroom, from Athaliah, so that he was not killed.
So he was hidden with her in the house of the Lord for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land". If you read the rest of the story, the seventh year, he was brought out of hiding and he became a mighty king, so much so that the next 40 years of Israel became some of the most prosperous and powerful and victorious years that they had ever had. This is an amazing story in the Old Testament of a grandmother who had a son who became king of Israel, and when the son died prematurely, rather than wait on the grandchildren to come up and take the throne, she usurped herself. She wanted to reign on the throne and she began to slaughter her own grandchildren. And she killed them all. She slew all of her own seed except for one, one child that was hid by the mother in the bedroom in a secret compartment, hid while she was searching with assassins, trying to find him and kill him.
And you know, when we were young, all of us, with our children, played... When my kids were younger, we played hide and seek. We all know the game hide and seek. And what's taking place in this story is the story of hide and seek, but it's not a fun game. It's life or death. If the parent does not hide the child successfully from Athaliah, this wicked, incredibly wicked woman, then the child will die. The child will be destroyed, wiped off the face of the earth.
And I want to talk to you about that hiding that has to take place of our children and how that parents and grandparents and mentors in people's lives are to hide the next generation. And sometimes, as parents, you may be thinking, "Is it worth it"? Is it worth it to pay the price? Is it worth it to raise your children in truth? Is it worth it to keep coming to church and is it worth it sometimes to keep arguing with your kids, especially as they get up older and they want to run with certain kids that you know and you feel like they don't need to be with? Is it worth the tug of war? Is it worth the fight to say, "No, you can't do that. You're not going to that party because they're drinking and getting high and they're going to be doing... I'm not going to let you. I don't feel good about you going there and doing this". Is it worth it?
Sometimes, as parents, we get weary in well-doing. Why are you doing this? I'm sure the enemy has come to many parents and said, "Why are you doing this? Just let 'em do like all the other kids. Let 'em be like all the other kids. They're young. They'll live. They'll grow". We cannot do that as parents. We cannot leave our children up to chance and hope they turn out all right. You have to be deliberate in providing a hiding place for your family in the 21st century. One day they'll come back and they'll say, "Thank you for your convictions. Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for taking me to church. Thank you for the disciplines that you kept enforcing. I know I didn't appreciate it then. I know I was mad and ugly then. But thank you". Because we must take seriously the need to hide our children; and even if it seems like it's not working, it's working when you're providing a spiritual hiding place.
And I'm saying to you that it's our responsibility, in our home, to provide a hiding place. Let me be brutally honest this morning. I want to get this point across if I don't get anything else across to you. There is an enemy named Satan that has his sights on our children. He does not give our children a free pass. He does not have a code of ethics. He is morally bankrupt. He is just as delighted if not more so to destroy the soul of a child or a teenager as he is to destroy the soul of an adult. He has his sights set on that little boy you tuck in as a toddler. He has his sights set on that little sweet, cute, cuddly baby that you have. He plans to confuse. He plans to deceive. He plans to destroy and defile that little life in every way that he can.
When Satan looks at our children, he sees future broken people; alcoholics, addicts... He sees it and he dreams of it and he lusts for it. And we're called to hide our children. They've got to be hidden from wickedness. They've got to be hidden from worldliness. They've got to be hidden from temptation. They've got to live in a hidden... Someone said, "Well, you can't raise children in a greenhouse. You can seedlings". You know, a little seedling, when you first do a plant, you need it in a greenhouse because it doesn't have roots. And when... It has to stay in a guarded environment. And then when it grows and it gets some roots, you can transplant it out to college or somewhere else. But while you have them, you have them and you are to provide a hiding place for them.
The lie that the enemy loves to tell parents, especially Christian parents who are doing everything they can to raise their children in truth is, "You're a bad parent because your children are underprivileged children. They're not getting to do what all the other kids are doing. You won't let 'em do this and you won't let 'em run with that and you won't let 'em go with that one. You won't let 'em date that one. And you're just a bad parent". You're not mistreating your kids - I want to preach to you a minute - keeping your kids in church. You're not mistreating your children, telling them that the house of God is a priority.
You're not mistreating your children, telling them they're not going to the party that everybody else goes to and gets drunk and gets high and slips off to a bedroom. You're not mistreating your children, saying "Who are you dating? Who are these people? I want to know who they are. Where do they come from? Who are their parents"? You're not a bad parent for doing that. You're providing a hiding place and they don't need you to be their buddy; they need you to be their parent. Do it and God'll stand with you. That's why He gave 'em to you. You're not mistreating your kids. You're not short-changing them and causing them to miss those wonderful years. Of what? "Well, you know, my kids, they just can't do... "
There's a lot of things they can't do. They can't have an abortion if you put 'em in a hiding place. They can't get addicted to drugs. They can't go to jail. They can't be in the streets. They can't do a lot of things if you'll be a parent and provide a hiding place. It's amazing. The devil's trying to make you feel bad for planting your children in the word of God, and it's time to recommit our families to God and say, "You know what? I'm going to double down". As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Don't care what culture says, we're going to serve the Lord. Everybody, take a praise break and run the devil out of your house right now. Hallelujah.
It's the truth. Some things are worth fighting for. My opinions are not worth fighting for. My wishes for my children are not worth fighting for. But the word of God in the Bible is worth fighting for, and that's where I draw the line. I want my kids to love the church and love worship, love the ministry. We serve a mighty God, but we have a ruthless enemy that is after our children. We can't negotiate with that spirit that's coming after our children. It's not coming to play with them. It's coming to slit their throat. It's coming to kill, steal, and destroy. And if you give hell a little, he'll take more and he'll take more and he'll take more. And you have to understand that it's our children's potential that makes them a target.
Notice that Athaliah wasn't after just any children, but she was after those that had been, that she picked that she knew were kids that had a special purpose attached to their life. She said, "I've got to hide this child" - the mother did - "because of his potential. He has the potential to be king. He has the potential to do mighty things. He has the potential to be a great leader". And the enemy knew that. And she wasn't just threatened because he was a baby. She was threatened by what he could be.
Our children are not problems; they are potential. And you need to understand that what we're guarding is so much more than their innocence. We're guarding the potential that God has inside of them because if they reach their place of potential, they'll tear the kingdoms of this world down. They'll tear the kingdoms of hell down and they'll fulfill the call of God on their life. Before the church can hide your children, the home must hide your children. You've got to hide them and shield their eyes at home. Shield those little ears and guard their ears at home. Give them protection of their hearts at home. Don't let 'em hear just anything. Don't let 'em see just anything. Don't let 'em be exposed to just anything.
Hide the children. Don't let 'em lose their innocence. I'll do my best when you get your kids to church and we'll hide 'em in those services and we'll hide 'em... That's why we work so hard to keep this a generational church. And I know some of you don't like all this wild, loud music and lights, but if you're 30, 40, 50, church isn't about you anymore. We've got to reach your children and your children's children. We've got to win this generation. So help us hide 'em. That's what we're doing. But hiding, ladies and gentlemen, starts at home. It starts at home.
One of the most enjoyable experiences that I've ever had with my family was in South Africa. I had the opportunity, because of a pastor and his generosity. He said, "We love your ministry so much", and after I preached a conference, he said, "I want you to come with your family and go on a safari, and it's on us". And I was humbled by it and we had an amazing trip with our family. We went out into Kruger National Park in South Africa. And you know, it's like a zoo in reverse. You know, you go to the zoo and you are on this side and the animals are out there. Well, then you go to safari and you're in a little jeep and it has no doors and you're in their world. And you roll right up, and they can get you if they want to.
As long as you stay in that jeep, you'll be okay, but - they see it as a unit - but it's an uncanny thing when you get out there and you see that pride of lions and you see them attack, you see things... It's the most amazing feeling, the most enjoyable thing I think I've ever done in my life with my family. But you see out there these main prey of lions is the impalas. And they are brown. They are so brown that they fit in the high grass. The grass is brown, and they can blend in and you can come up on 'em and not even see 'em. It's amazing how they have blended to their environment. But when they walk away, the guide said, "Notice the black spots on the ears". And when they would walk away, you would see on the parents the black spots, on their ears, nowhere else.
And he said, "Do you know why they have those black spots on their ears"? And you know, first thought, they don't wash the back of their ears like a lot of people. But no, that's not the reason. They said the reason is because they so blend into their environment, the rest of their body, that there has to be some marks of distinction on the parent so that the next generation of impala that are coming up, if they stop, if they're so imblended in their environment, they won't see that they stopped and they the next, the youngster will walk right into the jaws of death. But because there's marks of distinction on those parents, it causes the next generation to be careful how they walk when they see... because they're not so blended into the environment.
I guess what I'm trying to say is if we as parents don't have some marks of, that distinguish us from the rest of the world... There ought to be a difference between us and the rest of the world. There ought to be a difference in our home and other people's homes that don't profess Christ. There ought to be a difference and there ought to be marks that distinguish our life and there ought to be standards and there ought to be morals. And if we don't have those marks, then the next generation will go right into it and it could cost them their life. And that's where, you know, these things, these issues...
Somebody said, "Well, prove to me that I can't do this". If you want to be just like the world, it's not just about you. It's the next generation coming behind you. And there are some things I don't do and I distinguish myself as not being like the environment that I live in simply because I know my children are watching me. Well, prove to me that it's sin. Here's the greater question. Prove to me that if I do it, it'll help my children get to heaven and won't hinder them from going to heaven. And if it will help my children get to heaven for me to distinguish and say, "I won't be what everybody else says is okay, I'm willing to do it" because this thing is real and I've got to provide a hiding place.
Because here's the deal: every generation lets up just a little bit, so be careful when you start losing your distinguish, the things that distinguish your family. "Well, we used to have convictions about that, but now we're going to do it. We used to... You know, when I first got saved, I really had strong convictions about that, but now I'm going back to it 'cause everybody's doing it. And some of my friends go to church, they're doing it, so we're going to go there and we're going to do that. We're going to be a part of that". And before you know it, you look just like the world.
There's nothing different about your family. Church, hear me. We've got to provide the hiding place. Here's the deal. The next generation will walk into that thing and maybe you can handle it, but what if they can't. I say I don't care if it's sin, black and white sin, if it's not going to help carry my family to heaven and I see it taking other families to hell, I don't want it in my house. If adults blend in completely with the world, their children won't know where the walk safe is.
I'm saying to you today, 1 Samuel 8 said, "We want a king". And then they said, "All right. We want to be like everybody else". They had never had a king before. "We want to be like everybody else". Listen to this. And they said, "Okay, we'll give you a king, but you've got to give a tenth of your grain, a tenth of your olives, a tenth of your grapes, and he will take your sons and your daughters". Because they demanded to be like the world, the next generation had to pay the price. Hide them in your home. What I'm saying to you is, parents, you get those children to Little League and you get 'em to karate practice and you get 'em to soccer practice and... I mean, you're religious about it. I mean, you're not late and you're on it and that's great.
Nothing wrong with that. But we ought to be the same way about the house of God. We ought to be the same way about spiritual things. I see us getting just like the world and there's no difference; and then we just come to church and say, "Save my family". It starts at home. And you've got to be just as deliberate as you are about kung fu and as you are about soccer and as you are about baseball. Where is that commitment to get your family in church and serve God? Get 'em in youth group. Get 'em in small groups. Where is that commitment? That stuff will pass away, but he who does the will of God will provide, will abide forever, the scripture said. Hide 'em in the house, first. And then she took him to the temple, lastly.
As a church, we have to hide our children. The church has to be the safe haven. That's why we pray, that's why we sing, that's why we fast, that's why we preach, because there's a place that you can come and it's a place of safety. And I'm saying to you today simply this: you can't keep 'em in the greenhouse forever. But I'll tell you one thing. If you'll provide that safe place in the home and you'll keep 'em exposed to the church on a regular basis, train up a child in the way that he should go, when he is older, he will not depart from it. You have that promise. You have that assurance. Provide the hiding place.
That's my prayer for our families and for our young people, for parents. For God's sake, provide a hiding place in your home. Provide a hiding place as a church. Let's raise up a generation who doesn't know about God but knows Him in a personal and powerful way. Is that the cry of your heart? Is that what you long for God to do in your family? I know it is. I want everybody in this room and in Gwinnet to stand to your feet, all over this room now. How many of you know that there's a foundation of faith that can be passed down to the next generation if you provide the hiding place?
Mom, I want you to come up here with me. I want to do something different today, here and in Gwinnet. Mom's going to pray for you and your family. But if you're with your family, and even if you're not, you want to see the blessing of the Lord on your family. I know there's a lot of people here and that building's packed there, but I want you to get out of your seat, as close as you can get, and get in the aisles for this prayer. I believe in this stuff. I believe in the power of impartation. I want you to come as families. Lift your hands high all over this room and say:
Lord, here's my family. I give You my kids. I give You my family. I need Your help. I need You to make me wise. I need You to make me strong. I need You to give me the help, especially in my home. I've got to hide these children. I've got to hide these grandchildren. Now, I've got grandchildren I'm feeling now. I can't let up now. I've got these... They're watching me.
They're watching you. They see those marks of distinction, of whether or not you're holding and living what you're saying. Are you loving your wife? Are you kind? Are you living this thing at home? I've got to provide that hiding place. Receive it today. Receive it today. Receive... The enemy may have attacked your home and done everything he could to try to destroy, but the miracle is in what you've got left. God can get glory even out of the tragedies and heartbreaks that hit our home. If we've got Him in the hiding place, it all will work together somehow, by God's grace. Blessing will be passed and not curse. Mom's going to pray now. Praise God.
Lord, we just pray today for our children, for our families, Lord. Thank You, Lord, for the scripture that says in Isaiah 18:8 that: "the children, my sons and daughters, are for signs, wonders, and miracles". In this last day, they are. We take a bold stand this morning against Satan and every, everything, every evil of this culture, Lord. It's an uphill climb for every parent in this day and time, and every young person, all the children. But Lord, help us to be brave in the Holy Ghost and to intercede as never before, Lord, for our children. And You said if we trust in You that great shall be the peace of our children and our children's children. Thank You that You're a generational God and we pray for everyone this morning. We bless 'em in the name of the Lord, and we put the name of the Lord over 'em. We put that covering of Psalms 91 on 'em today. Lord, You said, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty". We are under Your hand, Lord, and I pray this next week the Holy Ghost and fire will be on every home, on every prayer. Lord, let us intercede until that fire so burns that we'll be faithful witnesses unto all the world. And help us, Lord, to do Your will at all times, to speak blessing and not cursing. In the name of Jesus we pray, and amen. Amen.