Joel Osteen — Sing To The Promise
I want to talk to you today about "Sing to the promise". All of us have things we're believing for, dreams we want to accomplish, problems we're we know God put the promise in our heart, but we don't see how it can happen. Maybe the medical report's not good, child is off course, we don't have the funds we need, it doesn't seem possible.
This is the way the Israelites felt in Numbers 21. They were in the desert, it was hot, they were tired and thirsty, but all they could see was more sand, more rocks, more barrenness, and just when they thought they were done, they came to this well. Now, I can imagine they were excited, thinking, "Finally, we're going to get some water". They rushed over to it, but the well was dry. They looked down it and could see it hadn't been used in years, filled with dirt, rocks, all kinds of debris.
It was another disappointment, but God told Moses to gather the people around and he was going to give them water. God gave them the promise, water is coming in the desert, things are about to turn around. I'm going to do something out of the ordinary. But the promise didn't automatically come to pass. It didn't happen just because God said it, there was something the Israelites had to do.
The scripture says they begin to sing this song, "Spring up, o well," right in the middle of the desert when it looked impossible. Instead of complaining, they started singing, "Spring up, o well". They were making a declaration of faith. They were saying Lord, thank you that the water is coming. Thank you that you're making streams in the desert. Thank you that you're supplying all of our needs. The verse goes on to say they sang to the well.
That's the key, you have to sing to the promise. It didn't look practical in the natural. The well was dried up. Every circumstance said water is not going to come out of this empty well. Thoughts told them you look foolish, you're wasting your time singing to a well. They could have talked themselves out of it and said Moses, we're not going to sing, we're hot, we're thirsty, we'll sing after we get some water. Instead, they kept singing this phrase over and over, "Spring up, o well," thanking of a sudden, in the middle of the desert, water began to shoot up out of that dried up, empty well.
They saw the promise fulfilled, and there are promises God has put in you. Every circumstance may say it's not going to happen, you'll never get well, you'll never meet the right person, you'll never accomplish that dream. It's been a long time, you feel like you're in a drought. You have to do like them and sing to the promise. Your praise, your thanksgiving, those declarations of faith is what causes water to flow in the desert. It doesn't take any faith to sing after the water shows up. It's easy to sing once the promise is fulfilled, but the singing, the praise is what causes healing to spring up, abundance to spring up, breakthroughs to spring up, and sometimes we're waiting on God, but God is waiting on us.
Why don't you start calling out those promises he's put in you? If you're dealing with an illness, instead of healing. "Lord, thank you that you're restoring health back into me. Thank you that the number of my days you will fulfill". You don't have the funds you need, spring up, abundance, spring up, promotion, spring up, opportunity. "Father, thank you that I will lend and not borrow. Thank you that whatever I touch prospers and succeeds". You've been single a long spring up, o good-looking husband. Through a couple adjectives in there. You're believing for children, spring up, o baby, spring up, offspring. "Father, you said my seed would be mighty in the land. You said children are a gift from the Lord, so father, thank you that my baby is on the way". That's what it means sing to the promise.
When we were trying to acquire this building, the former Compaq Center, all the odds were against us. Well-known business leaders told us that we would never get it, that we were wasting our time. We didn't really have the connections, the experience, the funding, all we had was a promise that we knew God placed in our heart. Let me encourage you, you and God are a majority. If you'll stay in faith, sing to the promise, tell it to spring forth, all the forces of darkness cannot stop you.
God has the final say, and when he hears you thanking him before the answer comes, praising him while you're his favor when the odds are against you, he'll make things happen that you could never make happen. He'll open doors that no man can shut.
Victoria and I used to come before we owned it, late at night, when nobody was around, and we would walk around the building. With every step, we would say, "Father, thank you that you're fighting our battles. Thank you that you're bigger than this opposition. Thank you that your favor surrounds us like a shield".
What were we doing? Singing to the promise, saying, in effect, spring up, o Compaq Center. Spring up, destiny, spring up, favor, spring up, breakthroughs. God supernaturally opened the door, and here we are today. But it's easy to complain about how it's not going to work out, and talk about how impossible it is, that's going to cause you to get stuck where you are, live discouraged, settle for mediocrity.
Why don't you start singing to the promise? There are goals God has put in you, dreams, healing, promotion, restoration, they're laying dormant. You may not see how it can happen, you haven't had the breaks that you need, you could easily settle there and think that it wasn't meant to be. Those promises you have to start calling them out. Healing, spring up in me. Talent, spring up in me. Good relationships, joy, peace, spring up. All through the day, Lord, thank you that my healing is coming. Thank you that good breaks are on the way. Thank you that divine connections, the right people, are in my future.
You may be sick, you can sing your way to health. You're discouraged, you can sing your way to joy. You're stuck in your career, you can sing your way to the next level. "Well, Joel, this sounds good, but you don't know my situation". I got passed over for the big promotion. The medical report says I'm not going to make it. I've had this addiction so long, I don't think I'll ever break it.
That's exactly where the Israelites were. In the desert, they were tired, discouraged, but they dared to sing to an empty, dried-up well. They dared to thank God for provision when it looked foolish. Every voice may tell you it's not going to happen, but you say spring up, healing, spring up, new levels, spring up, promotion.
Don't complain about the problem, sing to the promise. Thank God that things are thank him that blessings are chasing you down. Thank him that your children will fulfill their destiny, that as for you and your house, you will serve the Lord.
I talked to a young man, he came from a small town in Mississippi. He got a scholarship to play soccer at a major university. He's very talented, very good athlete, but his dream was to play football. His junior year in college, he talked to the coaches, and they let him switch from soccer to football. He was the kicker. He was thrilled to be on the football team, but the coaches didn't give him a chance. Because he didn't come from a football background, they for 2 years he sat the bench, never kicked one field goal. At the end of his last college season, there was a scout day when coaches from professional teams would come and look at the players and evaluate them.
He was hoping somebody would be interested in him. He was a very skilled kicker, but since he had never played a game, nobody knew who he was. He waited and waited for a phone call, but it never came. It looked like his football driving home from college, flipped on the radio, and came across our SirusXM station. He heard me talking about how a shift is coming, how you're just one phone call away from your destiny, how one touch of God's favor can catapult you to the next level. I talked about how it's going to happen faster than you think.
When he heard that, something came alive on the inside. He knew that was for him. He got his cell phone out and made a 3-minute video telling everyone that he was going to be in the NFL that year. Most of his friends thought he had lost his mind. He had never kicked a field goal in college. Had no track record, now you're going to play professional football? That doesn't make sense.
Now, instead of being discouraged, instead of expectancy. He went around saying, "Lord, thank you for opening up new doors. Thank you that your favor causes me to stand out. Thank you that you're bringing opportunity across my path. He was singing to the promise, saying, in effect, spring up, o well, looking for God's goodness.
Four hours after he made the video, he received a phone call from Cincinnati Ohio. He doesn't know anyone in Cincinnati, so he didn't answer it. They left a voice message, it said, "This is the kicking coach for the Cincinnati Bengals football team, we'd like you to come to our rookie camp and try out for the team". He thought it was a prank call, some friends playing a joke on him. He called the number back, found out it was the real thing, he tried out for the team, and he made the team.
Today he's one of a few African-American kickers in the NFL. How could someone that's never kicked a field goal in college, doesn't have the qualifications, the experience, the resume, make it to the highest level, the NFL? That's God bringing water out of an empty well. That's God making streams in the desert. That's what happens when you sing to the promise.
Not complain about the drought, complain about who treated you wrong, live discouraged because the well was dried up and empty, that doesn't do anything productive. You have to do like him, when the odds are against you, when it looks impossible, when you've had bad breaks, well. Lord, thank you that you're opening up new doors. Thank you that you're freeing me from this addiction. Thank you that you're bringing divine connections across my path. You have to do this by faith.
See, when the Israelites they couldn't see water, they couldn't taste water, they couldn't feel water, they couldn't smell water, there was no reason, logically speaking, for them to believe that water was around, and if you just go by what you see, and feel, and think, you'll talk yourself out of it. That's why the scripture says, "Walk by faith and not by sight". If the Israelites would have looked at it in the natural, instead of singing, "Spring up, o well," they would have sang, "This old well is empty, this old well is dried up," would have been a country-western song.
But in difficult times, you're going to be saying something, you're either going to be singing about the problem, or singing to the promise. Either talking about how big your challenge is, or talking about how big your God is. Either saying I'll never get out of this drought, or this drought is only temporary, I know water is on the way. Spring up, o well, spring up, victory, spring up, abundance, spring up healing, spring up favor.
The scripture says it's not going to happen by our might, by our power, but by the Spirit of the Most High God. God is not limited by the natural, he's limited by what we believe. When you start singing to the promise, believing that he can make streams in the desert, thanking him for what he's put in your heart, God will show out in your life in ways greater than you've ever imagined.
But too often we think, "I will wait until I see the water, until I see the promise, then I'll sing, then I'll have a good attitude, Joel". That's backwards, you have to sing first. "Sing, o barren woman, you who never bore a child, break forth into song". He didn't say sing because God gave you the baby, sing because you saw the promise turned around, this text was written to women who were barren.
Back in the Bible days, if a lady didn't give her husband a child, she was looked down on. They lived with a sense of shame. That's why you read about people like Hannah. She was so distressed that she couldn't have a baby, she went to the altar again and again, wept and wept, so much so that Eli the prophet thought she was drunk. But Isaiah wasn't writing to people that had their children, he was writing to people who were barren, people who were waiting for the promise, believing for their healing, hoping to meet the right person, praying that the business would turn around.
What are you supposed to do when you're barren, beg God to help you, complain about how long it's taking, live discouraged because life hasn't dealt you a fair hand? No, Isaiah said sing when you're barren, break forth into song. Here's the principle, praise is the birth position. Promises to come to pass. Complaining will keep your baby in the womb. Focusing on negative circumstances will keep you barren, but when you switch over into praise, and you say, "Lord, thank you for your goodness and favor in my life, and Lord, I know you haven't brought me this far to leave me, so thank you for new levels, thank you for I will become everything you've created me to be".
That's not just being grateful, that's getting in to the birth position. You continue to do that, living a life of praise, then you will give birth to everything God's placed in your heart. But when we're barren, it's easy to live discouraged, it's easy to go around feeling sorry for ourselves, but when you start thanking God that things are changing in your favor, I can imagine God saying to the angels, "What's that sound I'm hearing? Most people would be negative, worried, complaining, but listen to what they're saying. They're thanking me that the answer's on the way. They're singing about the victory before they see the victory. Angels, go to work. Restore their health, open up new doors, bring that dream to pass".
The Psalmist said, "God inhabits the praises of his people". If you want God to show up, don't complain, don't talk about the problem, sing to the promise, thank him that it's on the way!
That's what a young lady I know did. For years, she and her husband had been trying to have a baby. She went through all the fertility treatments, they spent a lot of money with no success. They were finally told that they weren't able to have children, but she didn't get discouraged. She didn't start complaining, every day, she would say, "Lord, thank you that my baby is on the way". She did this year after year.
The promise God put in you is like a seed. It has to be watered, and the way you water that seed is through your praise, by thanking God that it's coming, by living with expectancy, and the reason some people stay barren, they don't see the promise fulfilled, is they've stopped watering their seed. They were excited at first, they believed they were going to reach their dreams, break the addiction, meet the right person, but over time, when they didn't see it happening, they got discouraged.
If you plant an apple seed and don't water it, it's not going to grow. There's nothing wrong with the seed, the seed is still full of life, full of potential, it just needs to be watered. In the same way, the seed God put in you may not have come to pass yet, but the good news is, it's still alive. You may have to water it for another month, a year, or 20 years, but if you'll keep watering that seed, thanking God for the promise, at the appointed time it will come to pass.
That's what this couple did for many years. Recently, they stopped me in the lobby and told how after 9 years, they were able to get pregnant. They have a 2-year-old son, and now their second child is on the way. This is after all the medical reports said they couldn't have any children. Their doctor was puzzled. He said, "I've never seen anything like this, something happened and your womb just working". She's in her 40s, he said, "You're like a 20 year old, you can probably have 5 more children". She said, "No thanks, I don't want to be that blessed".
No more singing to that promise, but what am I saying? God can bring water out of an empty well. He can make streams in the desert. Learn to sing to the promise, thank him that it's on the way. Under your breath, make declarations of faith, healing, spring up, baby, spring up, promotion, spring up. If you'll live with this expectancy, always watering your praise, God will make things happen that looked impossible.
2 Kings chapter 3, the people of Judah had been traveling through the desert for 7 days, on their way to battle an enemy army, when they too ran out of water. They didn't realize the streams along the way were dried up. Now they didn't have water for themselves or their animals, and they camped in a valley where it never rains. It was hot, they were thirsty, the worst place to run out of water. Looked like they would be an easy target for the enemy they sent word to the prophet Elisha, asking them what they should do. He told them to dig ditches in the valley to prepare for the water that was coming.
I'm sure they said, "Elisha, you must not realize we're in a valley where it never rains. They haven't had water here for years. We're not going to waste our time digging ditches, if we see some clouds starting to form, if we hear a little thunder, maybe then we'll dig a few ditches". He said, "No, it doesn't work that way. If you want water, you have to dig the ditches first". He went on to say, "You will see neither wind nor rain, but this valley will be filled with water".
He was saying it's not going to happen a natural, ordinary way, it's going to happen supernaturally. They dug the ditches, the next morning, it didn't rain, there wasn't a storm, but out of nowhere, water began flooding into that valley, and they went on to defeat the enemy army.
Every time you thank God that the promise is coming, you're digging a ditch. The medical report may say you'll never get well, but you go around saying, "Father, thank you. With long life you satisfy me. Thank you that I will live and not die". Thoughts will tell you, "Why are you digging that ditch? Don't you know there are no clouds in the sky, it doesn't rain in this valley"?
Don't worry, it's not going to happen a natural way, it's going to be supernatural. Out of nowhere, your health shows up, you meet the right person, your business takes off. Suddenly, you're out of debt. When you sing to the promise, you're digging ditches, you're making preparations for God to do what you cannot do. He said he would give you water without rain.
That means God can promote you like that football kicker, even though you don't have the qualifications, you don't have the experience. God can heal you like my mother, without the treatment, even though, medically speaking, it said it was over. God can promote you beyond your salary, beyond your education, he's not limited to your job, to your income, he owns it all, and when you say, "Father, thank you that my children make good decisions. Thank you that they will fulfill their destinies".
There may be no sign of it at the time. If somebody heard you, they could say, "What are you talking about? Your children don't make good decisions, they're off course, they're always in trouble". That's what they said to the people back then, "Why are you digging a ditch here? It never rains in this valley".
Don't be moved by what you see, be moved by what you know, and we know, because we're praisers, because we sing to the promise, because our declaration is spring up, salvation, in our children, it's just a matter of time before the water shows up.
We know the breakthrough is on the way. God is saying if you'll do your part and dig the ditches, I'll do my part and bring the water. I'll show you favor, I'll open new doors, I'll help you break that addiction, and you may feel like you're in one of those valleys where it never gets water. You've been in a drought, you hadn't had good breaks, you could easily settle there.
This is not the time to get discouraged, this is the time to start declaring, "Spring up, o well," spring up, promotion, spring up, healing, spring up, favor. Don't complain about the problem, sing to the promise. Thank God that things are changing in your favor. Thank him that your best days are still out in front of you. If you'll do this, I'll believe and declare the drought is coming to an end. Dreams are about to spring up, healing is about to spring up, new opportunities, new relationships in Jesus' name.