Jentezen Franklin - When God Declares War
In Judges 5, the Bible has a profound verse. God is about to declare war upon His enemies, the people who have attacked and harassed Israel. Sisera, the king, and his fierce army of 600 chariots of iron and God says, "I'm declaring war against the enemies of My people". When God declares war, verse two said, "The people willingly offered themselves". Nobody had to beg them. Nobody had to plead with them. They willingly offered themselves to join the battle and march in to the field and fight the battle, the fight of the Lord. Verse four said that when God went to war, that the earth noticed it, the earth that God made. And the earth began to tremble.
The earth said, "If God, my Creator, is going to war with someone, I'm not going to sit idly by and watch", and it began to shake and it began... can you imagine trying to fight and under you, the ground, you're in an earthquake? Not only that, but then the heavens dropped. That's a reference to the dew and to the fog. God doesn't play fair, and when He decides to fight, He's got the ground under His enemies shaking and it's like creation knows who their Creator is and when they saw God fighting the enemies of God's people and God's kingdom, then the scripture said that the heavens came low, fog set in. They can't even see hardly in front of themselves.
And then, the clouds and the sky said, "Well, if God's going to fight, then I want to get in the fight. I don't know what I can do. I can't preach. I can't sing. I can't swing an ax; but you know what I can do"? this is a cloud up in heaven. "I can rain and I'll pour down rain and get those chariot wheels to spinning in mud holes. I'll do my part. I'm going to participate 'cause God's going to war". And the rain, the clouds dropped water.
And then the mountains laid low. If they tried to hide and run and get in a cave, the mountains said, "I'm going to lay low and they ain't going to be able to use me for cover". Everything's cooperating with God fighting His enemies. And Deborah said, "I'll sing my song and assist God in His battle. I'm a woman. I'm a female in a male-dominated society", back then; but she said, "I've got a song and it may not be much but I'm going to put my song in assistance with God fighting His enemies". Then verse 19, it says that the stars fight from heaven.
How do the stars fight? Stars were moving, are not moving. They're fixed. And that's how people back then directed. They got directions from the stars. The way the Magi knew where to go was to follow the star. And so they use the stars that are fixed in position. But this day, the stars said, "Oh, my Creator, the One who named me, hung me and named me by name", 'cause the Bible said He named every star. And the star says, "Well, if my Creator is fighting a battle, I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to hide behind something and I'm going to turn the light little deal down on my little star and they're going to lose their direction down there on the battlefield 'cause the fog's on 'em and the earth's shaking under 'em and it's raining. They're just in a mess and I'm not going to help 'em a bit".
Aren't you glad we have God on our side? And then, verse 21 said that the river said, "Well, if God's in a battle, bless God, His enemies are my enemies and I'm going to make the river really get to running wild. I'm going to get the undercurrent really going strong. And all you've got to do is if you see one of those enemies, just shove 'em into the river and I'll take 'em under, and they're not coming back up. I'll fight with God". The river even got in on it.
Heaven has declared war. And when heaven has declared war, all of the creation gets in agreement and in the battle, fighting. They're not sitting by, watching the battle. And I want to tell you today that heaven has declared war on demonism. Heaven has declared war on carnality and sin and sorrow and guilt and condemnation. Heaven has declared war on addiction and alcoholism and depression and fear. Heaven has declared war on abortion and on sins that are sexual, that are destroying people's lives. Heaven has declared war on carnality and lukewarmness. And the call of the Spirit is "All hands on deck". Everybody needs to enlist, involve, and invest. Not one of us must stand by with our hands in our pockets, watching the battle, and doing nothing; idly standing by.
What I'm saying to you is when all of this happens, suddenly the Bible said an angel notices that everything God created is fighting the battle, every person willingly gave themselves to fight the battle. But there was one tribe called the tribe of Meroz, and the scripture said in verse 23 an angel noticed them standing idle with their hands in their pockets during a time when God had decided to go to war. And they're standing there doing nothing but watching.
And the angel, under the inspiration of God, says, "I curse you Meroz, the tribe of Meroz. I curse you, this people of Meroz. I curse you bitterly. I place a curse upon you". Why? Why would God bitterly curse these people? Were they committing some horrible sin? Were they doing something awful? You know what they were doing? They were standing by, inactive. He cursed them bitterly because God said, "I'm in a battle and you're not going to help the Lord". The scripture said that God was in a battle and "you came not to help the Lord against His enemies".
When God declares war, and He has, it's time for the people of God to willingly give themselves. And this scripture teaches that if we don't get involved in the battle, a curse comes upon us that is a bitter curse. No one can stand by in a time like this and not be involved in the warfare. Matthew 12 puts it like this. Jesus said, "He that is not with Me is against Me. He that does not gather with Me scatters abroad". In other words, Jesus is saying there is no neutrality in a time like this. If heaven has declared war on sin, on shame, on guilt, on the powers of Satan destroying people's lives, there is no place of neutrality for any of us.
There is no middle ground. It has vanished. You're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem. You've got to get in or get out, but you cannot sit on the sidelines without a curse coming on you. This is strong, isn't it? Come on and clap if you're going to clap. The greatest battle that we have is not with sin, Satan, or society. It is with boredom. Masses of people who profess Christ come to church when they feel like it and they serve God out of boredom. They're not involved. They sit on the sidelines and they watch the war but never get into the battle. Who's on the Lord's side? Who in this hour will rise to their feet and say, "I willingly offer myself unto the Lord"?
If the stars will fight, if the horses will tramp, if the earth shakes, if the clouds rain, why in the world would I, if I've been washed in the blood, filled with the Holy Spirit, I have gifts and talents and abilities. God can use me. I need to get in the fight. There's no retirement from this battle. There's no place where you reach where you're finally safe. As long as you're in the flesh, you're in a battle. And we will suffer the curse of Meroz if we do not fight. You're either fighting or you're falling, but you're not doing nothing and getting by with it. All you have to do to go to hell is nothing. And I'll prove it.
The servant was given two talents in Matthew 25, and the Bible called him wicked, not because of immorality. He was wicked because he was slothful, he was unprofitable; he was wicked because he did not use what God had given him. He didn't ever put what he had into the fight. Don't tell me that God has not given you something. He has given you something. And when He goes to war and His kingdom goes to war to save souls and to bring our King back, we are not to have an attitude that is laid back, sitting back, unused talents that we hold back and never offer to the kingdom of God. The Bible said because he did nothing with what he was given, the Bible called him a wicked, unprofitable, slothful servant.
There's something you can do. There's a gift you have. There's a talent you have. There's an ability that you have. There is a high unemployment rate in the church today. We must get involved with the work of the Lord. There is a huge invisible sign in front of every church, and it reads, "Help Wanted: Apply Inside". "The harvest is plenteous", Jesus said, "but the laborers are few". There's not a few sitters; there's a few laborers. We need preachers. We need worship leaders. We need prayer warriors. We need musicians. We need volunteers. We need people to run cameras and minister to our children and do all the works of the ministry that happen day in and day out. It only happens when the people offer themselves willingly.
God is going to war. Who's on the Lord's side? "Well, I don't have a job right now". Yes, you do. If you don't have a job, why are you not praying? You ought to be coming to church and praying three or four hours a day. If you'd do that instead of sit around waiting on somebody to call you, you would be amazed at the opportunities that would come your way. "Well, I think I'm going to retire". It's fine to retire from your job, but you can never retire from this army I'm talking about. If you don't have a job and you're a senior citizen, I deputize you to become a prayer warrior and start praying and volunteering and doing something in the army. Whatever you can do, Jesus, use me and, oh, Lord don't refuse me.
Let God have your gift free of charge. If you can paint, paint. If you can run a vacuum cleaner... this is how they used to preach when I was coming up. We didn't hire all of these people to do all this stuff. They assigned families. In the way that we came up, they assigned families and the family had to cut the grass that week. I can't get no amens. I said the family, the family had to cut the grass that week. The family had to vacuum clean the church that Sunday. Somebody had to do something. It wasn't this free, cheap salvation that gives me everything and costs me nothing.
Well, I don't care. I'm just a preacher. I've got a license to do what I'm doing, so I'll do it whether you like it or you don't. I'm preaching about what we are to do when God is going to war. Some people can drive a van. Some people can drive a shuttle. We don't pay these people. They get here at six o'clock, get some coffee on, get on the bus, have a prayer, go pick you up. And they do it because somebody's got to do it. It's just that simple. I wrote this one down. We need some people to go to work and get rich and bless the church. I don't want everybody passing out bulletins. I want some of you to go to work and get real successful and abundantly rich and bless the church 'cause we can't do what we do unless you do what you do. I'm preaching good.
Turn to somebody and say, "Get a job and get rich and bless the church". Need me to make it plainer than that? Matthew 20:6 says they were standing around, they said, "Why stand you here all the day idle"? The next part of the verse says why. And they said to Him, "Because no one hired us". "Nobody hired me. I'd do it for the Lord, but I got to get paid". Everybody, pretty much, on our staff, almost without exception, everybody, including me, by the way, 'cause I was a volunteer in my daddy's churches all my life. If I would have said to my daddy, "I cleaned the church and I cut the grass". Our family, we did it all. I was a children's pastor. I was the drummer. I was the piano player. I was the singer. And daddy was cheap, and didn't pay me one cent. And said, "I'll whip you, if you don't do it good".
And that's the way I was raised. That's just the way I was raised. But pretty much everybody that we hire, we don't hire 'em until they have offered themselves willingly in some area of volunteerism in this ministry and they, like cream, rise to the top and they can't be held back anymore and it becomes obvious to me and to others that person has offered themselves willingly and they're not doing it for the money or the fame or nothing. They're doing it for the glory of God. Come on and shout amen, somebody. God has come to hire you today, and His wages are eternal. And you may not have a lot here, but if you do it as unto the Lord, when you get to heaven, your reward will be great. Come on and praise God for every time you've given yourself willingly. God has seen it.
Mark 14:8 says that the woman broke open the expensive alabaster box and began to pour it on the feet of Jesus. And Jesus immortalized her with these profound words. He said, "Wherever the gospel is preached, she'll be remembered because she has done what she could". That's so strong. She has done what she could. She has not tried to do what she couldn't do. She has done what she could. I had a woman in the first service. Her name, I call her Sister Jordan. She's been in this church for decades and through every building program that we've ever been through. When we bought the land at the old sanctuary down the street and were building it, she's on a limited income, you know, elderly, so on, but Lord have mercy, Sister Jordan can cook the best cake you have ever, listen to me, you have ever put in your mouth. She makes me one as soon as the fast is over, every year. And I'm telling you, it is the most delicious cake I've ever put in my mouth, hands down.
And so, when we would go into building programs, she has done what she could. She doesn't sing. She doesn't preach. She doesn't need a microphone. She's an elderly widow type. But boy, she can cook some cake. She can bake some cake. She can do what she can. And she would bake cakes all day and sell 'em for the building program. And she'd get $100 a cake 'cause they're that good. And people would buy 'em like hotcakes. And she made thousands and thousands of dollars in her little kitchen with the flour and the eggs and the sugar and whatever else it is, the magic ingredient. She don't have no measuring cups. She just throws stuff in there and it just comes out right.
There's always something that we can do for the Lord. Do what you can do. Do what you can do. Naaman refused to get in the Jordan River and dip seven times, and his servant had to take him to the school of the supernatural when he told him, "If he asked you to do something, if the prophet had asked you to do something grand and big, you would have done it". Too many resist involvement with the small. But if you're too great to do small things, you're too small to ever do great things. If we love the people nobody wants, God will give us the people everybody wants. We don't care if you drove up on a bicycle, a moped, or a Mercedes, we want you here. And if we will want the people nobody else wants, God'll give us the people everybody wants. That's a testimony of this church. Hallelujah.
God can use you. If you're a young person, let no man despise your youth. God wants to use you. You don't have a license, 'cause you're young, to sit back when the battle's... God's declared war on the power of Satan ravishing lives, and He says, "I need all hands on deck, including the young people". Am I preaching the truth? God's asking us to do what we can do so that we will not be under the curse of Meroz. God's saying, "I've called you. If you want to be used by Me, I can use you. I can use you where you are. And as you use what you've got, I'll trust you with more. I'll give you more. I'll waken more of the calling in you". But it starts with the little things. And as you're faithful with the little things...
How do you know you're called to preach? The biggest thing that I knew about being called to preach is I had a burden. And if you don't want God to use you, it's because you're not saved, because when you get saved, something in you cries out, "God, use me". The first thing the apostle Paul said when he got saved was, "Lord, what would You have me to do". So if you got saved and then you just went back to what you were in, you didn't get saved, because when you get saved, the first thing that comes up in your spirit, "For all that You have done for me, what would You have me to do". That's true conversion.
Young people, as I close, listen to me. Salvation is not about getting you to heaven only. It's about your eternal purpose being realized here and now. And there's something about connecting your life to the kingdom of God and getting involved in the kingdom of God that releases the destiny that God has for your life. When you think of what He did and what He put on the cross for you, this is a reasonable, reasonable thing, to present your body a living sacrifice.