Jentezen Franklin - The Ministry Of The Moth
If you have your Bibles, I'd like for you to open them with me to Hosea. I want to turn in the Old Testament to Hosea 5. Hosea 5. And I want to share with you as we continue the series today, "Right People, Right Place, Right Plan". I'm going to share just some thoughts today, and then we'll conclude this series next Sunday. Don't miss next Sunday as we talk about the right plan for your life. We talked last week about the right people, the right place. Today I want to center in on a different theme that I talk about in the book that I hope that will speak, and I know it will, to your life.
In Hosea 5:12, He says, "I will come to my people like a moth". A moth is just a little insect. Just a little fluttering, just a little, small, insignificant, you know what a moth is. How many of you know what a moth is? You ever been outside and one just kind of, it's no big deal. It just kind of buzzes around, and you can swat it, and it will go away. It's gentle. It's tender. It's no threat. It's no danger. The worst it could do is maybe get in your hair for a second. And just do like that and it goes away. This is the only time in scripture that God said, "I'll come as a moth".
Gentle. Tender. Then He says a little later in the same book, I'll come like an eagle. There's a big difference between the wing span of an eagle and the wing span of a moth. Big difference between the potential power of a eagle, with its sharp beak and dangerous claws that can rip to pieces, and that of a moth. Just a innocent little, a little flutter here. And you look around, and you don't even know where it went. And then He said lastly, in Hosea 5, "I will come to them as a lion". So it's like there's a stronger degree of God trying to get our attention with each time we don't listen.
And I want to talk today about this amazing ability: discernment, to pick up on the voice of God so that you will know the right people, the right places, and the right plan. Because listen, folks. I'm going to tell you things today that I've learned. I don't know exactly how to say them except through concepts and ideas. But things that God has taught me concerning learning to listen to the voice of God. The leading, the gentle, tender leading of the Holy Spirit. God's number one choice, always, in dealing with us is to come like a moth.
Hosea said that He wants to come gently and tenderly. We're in a grace dispensation. God is gentle now. He's speaking gently to people all under the sound of my voice. Come to me. I love you. He'll talk, and it's just a little flutter. It's just a little impression. And in James, there's a verse that says, you have seen the end of the Lord. How He is pitiful. That's an amazing verse to me. How He's very pitiful and of tender mercy. That there's this side of God that is tender. That is gentle. That is a biblical word, God is pitiful. He's so kind. He's so tender. That He'll come, and it's almost in a pitiful way.
It's almost like; do you want to be with me? Don't you love me? Don't you want to give your life to me? I love you. And it's a pitifulness, James said, to the goodness and the mercy, and the kindness of God. That He's mighty, but there's a pitiful side. Which seems so, that word doesn't seem to fit the majesty and might of God. But there is this aspect of His grace. And then, the ministry of the moth is what he's talking about, but on the other hand, there is the judgement of God that is just as severe as the mercy of God. And here's what I'm trying to get to. If you don't hear me when I come to you with those little flutters, that gentle pressing, that kindness, and that feeling of I'm calling you to me, if you don't hear the ministry of the moth, He said, I've got an eagle over here. And he's got sharp claws. But I'm going to get your attention one way or the other.
And if that eagle doesn't get your attention, I promise you I've got a lion that I can release. And he can rip you to pieces if necessary. But I'm not going to leave you to yourself. You know, it's one thing if you opened the closet and you saw a little moth in there, and you're thinking, Eh, whatever, and you close the door. But if you came back the next day and opened that same closet and you saw a big old eagle sitting up there looking at you... And what if you came back the third day and there was a lion in there? You wouldn't open that door ever again.
But watch this, then there's one extra step if you don't hear the moth - the gentle kind voice of God when He's talking to you - He sends the eagle, a little more pressure. If you don't listen to the eagle, He sends the lion. Things start getting torn up in your life. Relationships get torn up. Things start happening. I really want your attention. But to me, the most drastic step is that last point where He said, "...and if that doesn't work, I will withdraw myself to my own place". Divine abandonment.
I'll let you have your will and your way over my will and my way. And I'll go back to my place, and I'll watch you. I'll sit back, and I'll watch you do what you wouldn't hear my voice on to do. And I'll wait until you come to an end of yourself, and you'll come find me where I am after I pursued you, and you've said, "No, no, no, no". The most dangerous thing that God can do to you. It's when He says, "I give in to your will over my will for your life".
That is the most dangerous thing that can happen to you. Some of you don't understand. God is giving you now the ministry of the moth. But if you keep saying I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it. I don't care what anybody, I don't care what the eagle says. I don't care what the lion says. God will withdraw himself, and sit in His place, and say "I didn't give you permission. I'm saying I dare you. Now I'm going to watch your train wreck until you get to a place of humility that you'll come find me. And I'll be waiting".
The will of God is to speak softly. Gentle flutters hardly noticed. Tender and sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Tender and sensitive to His voice. To guide us. But then, if that moth does not get to you, then the voice gets stronger, and He sends the eagle. And if that doesn't get to you... About the things you're doing, the people you're running with, the bad choices you're making... At some point He will release the lion. And the lion will rip, and devour, and begin to tear your life up a little bit. Not because God hates you, but because He knows what's best for your life. But His first choice is always the ministry of the moth. Just a gentle, tender speaking and fluttering of His voice.
You see, when I think of how that first it's just so tender, His word, and if we immediately respond, if we immediately tremble at His word, if we immediately say yes, Holy Spirit. I correct that attitude. I correct that step. I correct that choice. That's wrong. That wasn't you. That was my flesh. Then God is so good, and He blesses us. That's what happened to Adam and Eve. God put all the trees in the garden, and He put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and He just wrapped it in the gentleness of His word. "Don't touch that tree". There was no protection. There was no fence around it. He just put the gentle ministry of the moth. "Don't touch that. You can have all the other trees, but don't touch that".
And they did exactly what He said not to do. And then, the Bible said, there is a angel with a flaming sword. This is the lion. When you don't listen to the moth, God sends the lion. Driving them out of all that they could have had. But His first approach is the ministry of the moth. David put it like this in Psalms 16:6. He said my lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. He said God, you've drawn lines around my life. You put perimeters and barriers, and you've said you can go this far, but don't go any further. And you've said you can go this far, but don't go any further. And He's put lines on all of us.
And the scripture said they're in pleasant places. As long as you stay within His perimeters and His place for your life, He leads you beside the still waters. He gives you the greenest grass pastures that you could ever... You lay down, and He supplies your every need, and He meets your needs. But what happens is when you get discontent, and you say, I want it. I want that over there. I want that over there. I want that over there. And God finally will say, if you won't listen to me, go on. And if you don't have the lines of God kept in your life, the perimeters, the barriers, then the devil will release his lions, L, I, O, N, S, on the other side of the... I'd rather have the lines L, I, N, E, S, of God around my life in a blessed place than the lions, L, I, O, N, S, of the devil devouring and ripping my life to pieces.
Yes, I have some restrictions over my life. But it's in pleasant places. Everything on the other side will devour, and destroy, and kill, steal, and wipe out your life. You know, it's a beautiful thing to be gently checked. It's a beautiful thing to be gently led. It's a beautiful thing when you're so sensitive and tender that the Holy Spirit can just flutter about something you're doing, or looking at, or thinking. And the Holy Spirit is saying, "Now, mmm", and you get a little check in your spirit. That's a powerful thing. That's the hardest God will ever have to judge you if you'll be sensitive to that little leading right there. It's beautiful to be gently checked.
Sometimes we think we're getting away with sin. No. The Bible said that the goodness of the Lord drives men to repentance. Any time that you're doing something wrong and nothing bad is happening to you, don't ever get to thinking that God is saying it's OK, and He's winking, and saying it's alright. Now I know my Word says it's bad and all that, but you just keep on doing it because you're special. That's never God's intent. Any time you don't get judgement for doing what you know is blatant sin and wrong, it's not God saying it's OK. It's God's goodness, He's so covering you. He's holding back things that you don't even know about. He's holding back the Red Sea from caving in on you. Giving your more time.
Thinking that from the goodness of the Lord, that at some point you're going to get overwhelmed and say man, God has been so good to me. He should have wiped me out, but He hasn't. And Lord, I just want to come to you today. That's what it's supposed to do. That's what it's supposed to do. Not give you a license to keep on, and on, and on, and on. Repenting and repeating, and repenting and repeating. I'm telling you, the pattern is there. Watch this. Ahab, king of Israel, gets way out of line. Goes crazy. The Bible said that "He did more wicked than all the kings before him. No king was more wicked". That's pretty bad. That's some crazy king. And he was the worst.
And here comes the little ministry of the moth. Elijah the prophet walks in and says, thus says the Lord. Repent, sir. If you don't repent, it won't rain. Just like some of you are trying to do to my little sermon today. The prophet just left. He didn't know he was being visited by the easiest path right there. But he refused to yield to the ministry of the moth. Next thing you know, here comes the prophet again. Thus says the Lord. The dogs will lick your blood up from the chariot. Just like you slew Naboth, the same dogs who saw you slay him, they have your blood scent. Must have been bloodhounds. And they're going to lick your blood up.
And the Bible said Ahab was so stricken with fear because the eagle has flown in now. The lion is growling now. I love what the scripture said. It said he walked softly. He repented, and he walked softly. Isn't that a good verse? Tip-toeing around God. He's so tender and sensitive. Did I do alright today, God? Lord, am I living alright? I don't want that lion. Oh, Lord, I don't want no... Every time he'd hear a dog bark, "Oh, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus". But, you know, there's just something about the human heart that... the Bible said he had a false prophet.
Listen to this. A false prophet came and said, thus says the Lord. You don't have to worry anymore. Everything is good. Do your thing, king. God is with you. And the Bible said no sooner did he listen to that false prophet that he went out, and he was wounded in battle. Bled out in his own chariot. And the dogs came and drank his blood. Licked his blood off the streets of the city. But it started with a moth. It ended with a lion. That's the ministry of the moth. I thought about how that you see this pattern. The pattern is here. King Saul stood head and shoulders above all the other men. The goodliest man in all of Israel. And he did so many great things. The Bible said he slew all the witches. He got all, ran them out of the country. They were full of witchcraft, and he ran all the witches out but one. He kept one witch's phone number on his speed dial.
Just in case the Holy Spirit wasn't enough, I want the Witch of Endor. I have a mental address. I know her 1-800 psychic line, and I just need her to check the tarot card and tell me if I'm in the will of God or not. Because I'm really not sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit and His voice, so I'll search out another voice. You know, he got rid of every witch but the main witch. She was the most powerful witch, the Witch of Endor. It's like the man who kept getting up in church and testifying. And he said oh, God, every time they'd let him, They used to do public prayer. Anybody got a prayer request?
And this man would stand up, and he would say yes, "Oh, I want God to remove the cobwebs of the devil from my mind". Every day, every service. Remove the cobwebs from my mind. And finally an old senior citizen saint stood up and said, oh God, kill the spider. No need to run all the witches out if you're going to keep the main one in there. Yours. Notice false prophet for the other guy. Now he's listening to a witch. But it was the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit at first. But when the story is over, he's committing suicide and falling on his own sword. That's the lion, but he wouldn't listen to the moth.
I'm preaching such a simple message today, but I think of Judas. How gentle Jesus was with him. How kind Jesus was, knowing all things. Called him friend on the night that he came to betray Him and kiss Him on the cheek. He kissed the door of Heaven and went to hell. And He came, and He said friend, do what you do quickly. Called him friend. You still have the potential for the ministry of the moth, but when you won't listen, I'll withdraw my presence, My divine presence, and I'll let you go the way that you insist on going. And you'll trample through the roadblocks of the eagle, and the lion, and things being torn apart. And if that's not enough, the Bible said, Judas hung himself. Because that's the end of sin is death.
I'm here today, in closing, to proclaim that the ministry of the moth is among us. Every person watching me by television, it's not an accident. Every person sitting in these seats, it's not an accident. There are things that the Holy Spirit's first choice and method is to send the moth while the preacher is preaching, and just flutter. "Just hey, forgive. Hey, lay that down. Hey, you need to stop running with those people. Hey, you know what you're doing. You know what you're involved with. Hey, come back to me". But what sends chills to me, I want to read it in closing one more time.
What sends chills to me is, if all of that doesn't work, if the eagle and the lion doesn't work, I will return again to my place till they acknowledge, "I was wrong. I should have listened. I insisted on my own way and my will, and I'd rather have your way and your will. And I'm telling you, there will come an end to it. Wonder who your kissing that you ought to be kicking? Get away from me, creep". Lazy, sorry.
What do you mean? You wait here while I go to work all day. I'm talking about a man is gonna stay home while you... Okay. You ought to be kicking not kissing. Oh, I'm just gonna preach truth for a minute. I'm not talking about some situation, I'm talking 'bout a lazy-sorry, watch these little boyfriend-girlfriend. The little boy sit back, let the girl pay for the meal. You need to kick him in the fangs. That's a sorry boy. I'm sorry, I don't like that stuff. That's a bum. He ain't ready for no woman. He ain't go no job. Can't get no job, kick. "Oh, but I love him! Oh, but I love him! Y'all just don't see in him there's a good side".
Maybe there is, but you ought to wait for it to manifest before you say "I do". I'm just sayin'. I'm just sayin'. I'm just sayin'. I'm telling you. This is the ministry of the moth. Hear it? But you know better. You know better. He ain't living right. Don't care nothing about church. Don't care nothing about God. She don't care nothing about your Holy Spirit. Don't care nothing about any of that. But you know better than God. You know better. Just keep on.
What sends chills up my spine is God said, I'll just withdraw to my own place. I don't ever want the Holy Spirit to do that to me. I want to be so sensitive to the tenderness of the little flutter that, just like before I went up to preach, just that quick, everything can shift. Oh, OK, Holy Spirit. That's what you want me to do? Here I go. Now even that might have felt a little more secure. But if you're over here, I don't want to be over there, God-abandoned. I'd rather go this way. I'd rather go this way. Come on. Clap your hands.