Jentezen Franklin - Right Voices, Right Choices
1 Samuel 20:25. "Now the king sat at this seat, as at other times, on a seat by the wall. And Jonathan arose, Abner sat by Saul's side, but David's place was empty". I wanna preach for a few moments on right voices bring right choices. If you don't get the right voices in your inner-circle, there's no way you're gonna be making the right choices in life.
And this story illustrates that, the Bible said King Saul was sitting in his usual place, which has a connotation that, you almost to read in-between the lines that his usual place was he's unmovable, he thinks that he doesn't have to move any more. His back is against the wall, he's paranoid. He's in a place like never before, and we're told who's there, and we're even told who's not there, by absence. It's at this inner-circle that he's in that these people, who are in the room, are given unrestricted access to his thought life, and to his heart. Therefore, their voices are helping and heavily influencing his choices.
And that's so important for you to understand. Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future. Your friends that are close in your circle are a photograph of your future. Your friends are a photograph of your future. The Bible puts it like this, in Proverbs 11. "Where there is no counsel, the work falls, but in the multitude of counselors, there is safety". There's safety in getting wise people and wise voices inside your circle. When we make good decisions, we make them according to people who are advising us and that we're listening to.
Proverbs 24:6 said: "For by wise counsel we make war, but in the multitude of counsel", again, he says it there: "Is safety". And in other words, don't ever go to battle without wise voices speaking into your life. Don't ever just tear your life up and go to war, so-to-speak, without listening to some people who have wisdom in the very Word of God, and Spirit of God, in your life. Don't go into battle. The Bible said in Proverbs 9:10: "If you rebuke a wise man, he will love you for it". And then, it goes on to say: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom".
And so, you need these people in your life. Everybody needs people in their inner-circle who can influence you with their voice to make the right choices. Saul did not have wise people around him. I'm gonna prove that to you in just a moment. He used to have wise people, godly people, around him, but pride entered his life. And when pride entered his life, he began to isolate himself from wise counsel. When he started out, the most predominant voice in his life was the voice of God. The voice of God came to him, through the voice of Samuel the Elder, Samuel the Prophet. God used Samuel and when he spoke, the Bible said of the words of the Samuel, not one word fell to the ground.
Isn't that amazing? It says in 1 Samuel 3:19, "Not one of his words", God backed up everything that he said. And this was the kind of voice that came to him, and said, "God has chosen you to be king of Israel. The first king to ever be on the throne of Israel will be you, Saul". That was the voice that used to be at his table. He had wise counsel. The most important voice was when we're brought to 1 Samuel 20 was no longer in his inner-circle. That voice, that elder, that had razor-sharp sensitivity that could hear God's voice and speak to him, and it would move him all the way to his bones, now, he has removed that man from his life. And when you remove God's voice, you start hearing other voices.
1 Samuel 7:3, it said that as long as Samuel was there by Saul's side, that his words kept the enemy at bay. Wow. How important is it to have some elders, some people who have lived the walks, some elders may be your mother and your father, or your grandparents, and they may get on your nerves because they keep you after spiritual things, and you ought to, you just wanna hear the good things, but you don't always need everybody in your inner-circle that tells you what you wanna hear. You need some people who tell you what you need to hear, and they don't care whether you wanna hear it or not. You're wise if you do that. Right voices, right choices.
The Bible said in 1 Samuel 15, when Saul began to disobey God and he didn't do what God told him, God gave him a clear direction to smite and destroy all of the Amalekites, and God had a reason for that. And you'll see the reason in just a moment, and he said, "I'm not gonna obey that, I'm gonna keep the king and bring him back, and have a parade, and I'm gonna keep the choice sheep, and I'm gonna have a public offering, and the people will love it, and I'll look good, and we'll put on a big religious show, and it's gonna be a big deal. My way's better than God's way".
And in comes that old prophet. He comes in with the mantle, he points his bony finger in the face of the king, he's powerful, he's prestigious, he's popular. He's wealthy, he's all of that, but none of that means anything to God. And he looks at him, and he says, "When you were little in your own eyes, you had worth to the Kingdom. But now, you have lost that littleness in your own eyes. Your ego is out of control. Your pride is out of control. You're not listening to the voice of God and the Word of God". And that's when God used you powerfully, when you walked humbly, when you walked before the Lord with a certain sensitivity and fear of God.
And he said, "Do you remember when I called you, and anointed you, that they had to fetch you and pull you out from among the stuff? You were so lowly that you hid when it was time for you to take the throne. Oh, how you've changed. Now, you don't even listen to God's voice". And this prophet's just letting him have it, and he's the king. And he says these famous words, "Obedience is better than sacrifice, and rebellion is witchcraft".
In other words, when you know that God has clearly spoken to you and you keep doing what you know God has clearly spoken to you, and told you not to do, rebellion is witchcraft, and he was saying it opens up the evil side of the supernatural in your home, in your life, in your family. Simple obedience to God and His Word is always better than strenuous acts of sacrifice, and in 1 Samuel 15:27, the Bible said Samuel starts to walk out of the presence of the king after he delivers that word, and the king grabs him, and when he does, he pulls his mantle off, and the prophet whirls around and he says, "Just as the mantle has been ripped and torn off of me, so will the kingdom be torn away from you, and placed in another man's hands".
From that day forward, no longer was Samuel in Saul's inner-circle. From that day forward, the Bible said Samuel came no more. The voice of the elder, the voice that brought conviction, the voice that reminded where you came from, the voice that told you to stay humble and low, and there's a way that seems right, but the end there of is destruction. That voice was forever removed from the inner-circle of Saul's life. And I'm telling you, when you don't have God's voice in your life, you'll start hearing other voices, and the Bible said when he got in a desperate situation, and needed a word from God, he went to the Witch of Endor.
When you don't have God's voice in your life, then the enemy comes in with his voice, and he goes to a witch, and he says, "Conjure up. I need a word from God. See if you can get any word from God". Because he's so messed up, now, he thinks that God speaks through crystal balls, and he thinks God speaks through tarot cards, and when he went to this witch, he conjured up, and she said, "I see someone coming. I see something in my... oh, he's coming, I see it". And Saul said, "What do you see"? He said, "I see an old man and he's wrapped in a mantle".
And when she said mantle, his word went back to that moment when that old prophet said, "The kingdom will be ripped from you". And from that day forward, it wasn't long until he had so opened up his life to the wrong voices that your Bible said Saul tried to commit suicide, fell on his own spear. He couldn't get it to go completely through his heart. He's bleeding, he's gurgling in his own blood.
And it's sad, because his son, Jonathan, is on the same mountain, fighting for his life, and the same enemy that kills his father, and I'm gonna tell you something about that in a minute. The same enemy that kills his father is killing the son. Guess who it was? As Saul is falling on that spear, and he can't quite kill himself, and he hears somebody and he can't see, and he says, "Who are you"? And he's bleeding, he says, "Will you come finish it? Push on my back and send the spear through me".
And as the man creeps up on him, and Saul asks him, "Who are you"? You know what his answer was? It's in your Bible. He said, "I am an Amalekite". You know, the one that God told you to completely wipe out? I'm not only gonna take your life, but I'm gonna take the life of your son. I've got him over there on the ground. I'm telling you that there are things that if we don't conquer them and overcome them, when God gives us the power to do it, it'll come back in the family and try not only to take you out, but take your children out. And we need to understand spirits grow up, spirits start weak, and if you feed 'em, they grow up and they move from father to son. And we have the power through the name and the blood and the Holy Spirit to conquer those spirits when God gives us the power to do it. And it breaks the curse off of the whole family.
What voices are you bringing into your family? It cost him his life. It cost him his family's life. It cost him everything. We need the voice of people who've lived the life, elders and people who sometimes get in our business and people who sometimes preach to us and people who constantly ask us, "Why were you not in church"? And, "Where were you"? And, "I missed you". And, "Why weren't my grandbabies in church? I didn't see my grandbabies". You need that one in your, you need them to have a seat. You need them in your inner-circle, because if you don't have the right voices, you'll stray further and further and further, and you'll start going to other voices.
Notice that when he got rid of the voice of God, he got very close to the voice of a fool. Proverbs 13:20 is so powerful. "He that walks with wise men shall be wise, but the companion of fools shall be destroyed". He did not say, "The fools will be destroyed only". But he said, "You may be smart, you may know the Word of God, you may know who Jesus is, but if you start becoming the companion of fools", "And the fool has said in his heart there is no God", and if you start hanging out, listening to those voices of foolish people, the Bible said the companions of fools will be destroyed. Not just fools.
Who's in your clique? Who you listening to? Who have you put out? When's the last time you had God's voice rock you? When's the last time you had such a word from God that you trembled at His word? When's the last time you got broken and tears came in your eyes? Maybe you have removed that voice, and now, you're getting closer and closer and closer, and just getting all cozy with foolish voices. Notice what happens next, the Bible said Jonathan, his son, the rightful heir to the throne, was sitting at a distance. Gonna tell you another voice, and it's always a dead giveaway of danger, is when you start having the family voice at a distance. Move them away, and bring fools closer.
Why wasn't his son sitting next to him? Why wasn't the heir to his throne sitting next to him? I'm gonna tell you why, because he had lost the voice of God. He started listening to evil spirits. He starts listening to fools, he's making bad choices, and he gets so mad at his boy, in the same chapter, that he takes his spear, and he's sitting on the opposite side. That's how you know he's sitting on the opposite side, because the Bible said he threw his spear at him. He wants family throwing javelins at one another, and fighting, and more and more distance between you and your father, your mother, your brother, your sister. This stupid stuff, coming into our homes. But Saul attacked his own son, throwing spears. And he died on the same hill, with his son, by the same enemy. Because he started listening to the wrong voices, the voice of the fool.
The family voice is getting more and more distant. That's when you have to forgive, that's when you have to reach out. That's when you have to get on your knees. That's when you have to stand and fight demons and hell over your marriage, over your family, over your children, over your grandchildren, and you have to push those spirits of addiction, spirits of immorality, push 'em out of your house. Don't open the door. Rebellion is witchcraft, don't open the door to the evil side of the supernatural in your home, and in your family, through bitterness and unforgiveness, but shut the door, quit throwing spears at your flesh, and your blood, and pull 'em up close. Even if they're messed up, pull 'em back in. Even if they're far from God, keep pulling, keep calling, keep reaching, keep telling 'em you love 'em. Keep praying for 'em. Keep inviting 'em. You keep pulling 'em, don't you let fools replace them. Pull your family close.
And then, it's interesting that it gives one more detail. There's another missing voice at the inner-circle. You know who it is? David's seat was empty. You know, David, the worshiper. David, the prophet, who could prophesy. David was spiritual. Let me tell you, you wanna check on how you're doing spiritually? Do you have any really spiritual people in your life? Close? Do you have anybody who sends you a prophetic word every now and then, or prayer for you, or a scripture? A text? Do you have anybody?
I used to have Brother T.F. Tenney, before he died, I was almost scared when I'd get a phone call from him. I didn't know if it was gonna be good or bad. Oh, how blessed you are, when you got some people in your life that are more spiritual than you are. Thing about David is he was spiritual. Now, David wasn't a perfect man, but he was a passionate man. And God said he's a man after My own heart. And I don't have to have you perfect to be a man after My own heart, but I do need some passion in you. You know, I need you to be spiritual. What's wrong with being spiritual? We've become so carnal that we don't want anything spiritual in our week, all week long, and we just wanna come to church and feel a little bit of God and go home, but you need some people in your life that are more spiritual than you are. They provoke you to jealousy because they worship all the time, they get words from God all the time.
You got any friends like that? You got anybody, we almost like, well, you know, they're too spiritual. What's wrong with spirituality? You need somebody telling you, "You need to pray. Have you read your Bible? You need to seek God. You need to fast. You need to go after God". I dare say that the last step to getting the wrong choices in your life is when the worshiper is dismissed, and you think that you don't have to worship, but when you were little in your own eyes, you had your hands up. When you didn't have much, you were worshiping with all of your heart.
I think it's interesting that King Saul rarely had the Ark of the Covenant. It was gone for almost 40 years of his reign, somewhere, taken. Because he didn't treasure the presence of God. But David was sworn in to be king, and within five minutes, he calls an emergency board meeting, staff meeting, bring all my team in. If I'm gonna take over this nation, I wanna know where the Ark of the Covenant is. Well, it's down at Obed-Edom's house. He said, "Well, get the singers, get the band, get the soldiers, get the cart. We're going down to get the Ark. I can't do this without the anointing. I can't do this without the presence of God. I can't do what God's called me to do". It's not enough to be smart, it's not enough to be intellectual, it's not enough to be cute. It's not enough to look fancy. I need the anointing.
And he said, "Bring the Ark". And the Bible said that he went and fetched the Ark, I like that word, fetched it, and brought it back, and every six steps, they would stop and have a praise break. And David would take his priestly robe off, and he would dance before the Lord with all of his might. Every now and then, you need some super-spiritual people to get in your life, to say, "I've noticed you're a dead-head. I've noticed you were dry. I've noticed you rarely say, 'Praise the Lord,' or, 'Jesus,' all week long". And if you got some people in your inner-circle like that, you're blessed. You're blessed.
I need the prophetic. I need God to speak to me. I need the Lord to lay me on somebody's heart every now and then. I don't need it every day. But, boy, every once in awhile, somebody out of the blue will send me a text or call me, and it's like, whoa. What voices? You got any spiritual voices in your life? "Well, I'm a professional businessman, and I take care of my business very much, and", good. I respect that. But man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds, and if you don't have one, you got one in front of you with a microphone. I'm sitting at your table, I'm in your business, I'm in your head, I'm in your heart. I'm telling you something's missing, you've put the wrong voices out. You need to get the right voices: the voice of the Holy Spirit is booming in your ear right now. All you gotta do is say "yes" to God and "NO" to the world.