John Gray - Don't Leave Me Hanging
Go to Judges, the book of Judges. And I want you to go to the 16th chapter. And I wanna talk to you and I wanna share from the scripture, probably one of the most profound scriptures that I have ever read. And I would love to tell you that I can memorize, I've memorized the Bible all the way through, I haven't. I'm not that spiritual. But this scripture is one that resonates with me for a number of reasons. And it's a very frightening scripture on the surface. But I wanna dive into it and I believe that there are some treasures in this scripture that will help us to grow and develop. Are you guys willing to take this walk with me this evening?
Judges, chapter 16, and I want you to go to the 18th verse. This is the story, a part of the story of a man named Samson, and Samson was a judge in Israel. This is before the days of the kings. God used judges to deal with the issues and the affairs of his people. And at this particular point, Samson was nearing the end of his reign for a number of reasons. And here in this scripture, we are privy to an encounter that he had with a woman named Delilah. And in this scripture, we find some principles that I believe the body of Christ needs to grab right now.
Judges, chapter 16, starting at the 18th verse. It says this. When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the Lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart". So the Lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and have him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson". So he awoke from his sleep and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free". But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, brought him down to Gaza, they bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven.
I wanna talk to you tonight from the subject, don't leave me alone. When dealing with issues of faith, when dealing with issues of spirituality, we must deal with the concept of eternity invading time. When you look at the circumstances of your life, it is very easy to get discouraged by what you see in front of you, which is why you need a different that you are currently occupying. Because the life that you are living is not the only life you have. And the circumstances that you are walking through actually are temporary. For every particular assignment, an attack of the enemy, as I've said a number of times, has an expiration date. And so do not be moved and do not be consumed by the current circumstances that you face because it's a very, very, very tragic thing to make permanent decisions because of temporary discomfort.
In this scripture, we see a man who is making a bad decision. If you only look at this decision, it'd be like, how in the world? Why would you even allow yourself to get caught up in something like that? But before we judge Samson, can you do me a favor and take a look at your life? Have you ever been caught up in something and woke up and said, how in the world? Did I get here? Nine of us, I'll be number 10. I know, sometimes we don't wanna say amen to certain things 'cause it's like, we got visitors, I don't need them to know all my business. It's very easy to look at Samson and say, why would you tell somebody your, the key to your strength? Why would you tell somebody your heart? Has it ever happened to you?
You thought a person was one thing, you shared certain things, you thought there was an intimate exchange, you thought there was a face-to-face, a only to find out that that individual or those people did not have your best interest at heart, and they didn't wanna know your heart in order to cover your heart, they wanted to know your heart in an effort to expose your heart.
This woman, Delilah, represents playing with the wrong thing too long. We have Romanticized sin in popular culture. On TV, people mess around, sleep around, do what they want, and they just get up and move on with their lives, and you know, I've seen different TV shows where people broke up with this one and then got with that one, then the other one end up getting with somebody else, and they were all friends, and then they all go to dinner, and they're just talking like nothing ever happened. Like, hey, how are you. Good, good to see you. I can't believe you're with my ex, that's amazing, you guys want some pizza? But real life, it doesn't happen that way.
I'm married and if I see anybody that she used to talk to, if it was elementary school he better not speak to her. Hey, av, hey aventer? What? I'm aventer, now what? What? Dude, it was 6th grade. I don't care when it was, you better, you better, you better back up. I only been saved 30 years, I ain't all the way there. I'm for real. Samson was caught up with the wrong one. And let me just speak to you that in this season, I believe prophetically that God has been speaking to many of us, and maybe you're even watching or listening, that there are certain relationships that are just not honoring God, and it's not, I'm not just talking about Romantic relationships.
Some platonic friendship are not producing spiritual fruit, and God has been speaking to you, and you've been saying, uh, I'll just, they're fine, it's just that's who they are. And you need to understand that who they are is impacting where you're called to go. But the Word of God says bad company corrupts good character. Who are you hanging with? What are you guys talking about? What's the goal? Samson was caught up. Caught up, it happens. It happens to the best of us. And he was caught, but he wasn't just caught, he was caught sleeping. Wake up, body of Christ, the enemy is trying whatever he can to lull you to sleep, to get you anesthetized to the attack and to the tactics of the enemy so he can take out your marriage and take out your family and bring division between you and your children. He wants you to have a distorted view of God's plan for your life so that you make unwise decisions at critical moments.
Wake up, ask the Holy Spirit to refresh your heart and to strengthen your vision so that you can see the plot of the enemy before you make a decision that you cannot recover from. Somebody say, don't leave me alone. We see Samson in Judges 16, but in order to understand what really is taking place, you've gotta go back to Judges 13 where the angel of the Lord encounters the wife of a man named Manoah, who was of the tribe of dan, which is one of the 12 tribes of Israel. And Manoah and his wife were good people, but apparently, Manoah's wife was barren. And in this culture, to be barren was like saying you were cursed by God.
And so apparently, it doesn't reference it, but I'm sure that somewhere, Manoah being a good man, and his wife being a good woman, they prayed to God saying, God, remove this reproach, remove this curse, just give me a seed in the earth. Give me something that will perpetuate my legacy. And the angel of the Lord shows up and speaks to Manoah's wife and says, "You're gonna have a son, and he's going to do," this, this, this, this, and this. And then Manoah's wife runs and tells her husband and says, "I got a visitation from an angel, and the angel said," this, this, this, and this. And Manoah, 'cause some of us be like, girl, you crazy, you been out in that desert too long. I don't know what's wrong with you, but apparently his faith was stirred up.
And so there was another moment where the angel came back. He said, "Well, let's pray, let's ask the angel to come back because I need to make sure that this is the Word of God". And so the angel shows up and Manoah sees the angel. And he says, "Are you the one who spoke to this woman"? He says, "I am". He says, "Well, be it unto her, let everything you said come to pass". In this season, let me just freeze right here and tell you, find people who will get in agreement with the promise of God over your life. You don't need any naysayers, any people saying, well, that sounds farfetched, I'm not sure if that can happen. Anything is possible. If God speaks it, it's as good as done. Is there anybody that has enough faith to believe that the Word of God that he has declared over your life is active and it is coming to pass. The Word of God is heading your way.
So Samson didn't just show up out of the will of man, Samson was an answer to prayer, this is very important. Stay with me for a second. Samson was an answer to prayer. He was a solution to an issue in the earth. He showed up because mama and daddy prayed. Now, I don't know who this is for, but there are certain things that you have tried to get yourself into, things that you've tried to do, and somehow, by the grace of God, he kept you from it, or it didn't work out, or things that the enemy tried and somehow God blocked that thing. And let me help you to understand why. Because you are not here of your own volition. You are not here of your own will. You are the answer to a prayer that was prayed before you got here, and you need to understand that God made a promise to somebody else, and that's why you're here. Oh, if we could understand that we are living in the grace of somebody else's prayer.
See, Samson was a word made flesh because the angel of the Lord spoke who he was gonna be, and then he showed up. I know this might sound crazy, but you are exactly what God spoke. Now, I know there have been some commas in your sentence and there have been some pauses and some hyphens and some other expletives and things in your sentence, but I promise you, the sentence will be fulfilled. The word will be fulfilled over your life. Whoever you are, whether you're watching or listening or here live, I want you to be encouraged in your spirit that whatever God has said about you has to come to pass. And I firmly believe that we're in the season of breaking, where the things that have held us hostage, God is gonna break us free from those things so that we can function in the fullness of what we are called to be. It's a deep spiritual truth, but the actual you predates the you you're aware of.
See, you're here right now with your premium clothes on and you're sitting here and you made a decision to come to church. But God had already spoken this. Because every single detail of your life was already written out. God never speaks a thing without finishing it. God didn't just say, it'd be nice to have somebody named John Gray born in Cincinnati in 1973 on june 26th. I don't know what I'ma do with him, but that sure would be nice. God actually finished me and worked backwards. Some of us are so troubled with what we see going forward that we've forgotten to give him a rewind praise. Because truth be told, you shouldn't even be here anyway.
Many of us know some of the things that we've done and things that we have tried to touch, and somehow, God just kept us and covered us and forgave us and healed us and cleansed us and washed us, and some of us should maybe give him a rewind praise. Just looking back over your life is enough to give him a praise. If he doesn't do another thing going forward, he's still worthy of a rewind praise. Lemme get this outta the way. The enemy is a liar. He will lie to you and tell you there's no value in living holy. That there's no value in doing right and serving people. He'll tell you and he'll remind you of the pleasures of sin. Oh, isn't it hard to serve God and the folk are out there, people you know and both of y'all seem to be doing the exact same, it's like, God, they sinnin'. And it looks like they're also winnin'. And I'm still at my beginning.
The Bible says in Hebrews 11:25 that there is pleasure in sin for a moment. Whoo. But don't let a moment mess up your ministry. There have been times in my life because I have one of them mothers that just wouldn't stop praying, ugh, just praying. I brought somebody home, ma, this one right here. Oh, she the one. My mom say, oh, praise God. We'll go to the prayer room. I was like, no, don't, please! You gon' mess up everything I was trying to do later. Why, why, don't pray, just gimme a couple of hours, at least slow dance with her. Mm-mm, just, I'll be right back. I don't know what Alice Gray had going on with God. But whatever I thought I saw, by the time she got finished praying, I was like, er? You don't look as fly as you did yesterday. You're not talking the same. Your words aren't coming out the same and your spirit just, something about your spirit. Mama, what did. Mm. It's him, it's him.
Anybody grateful for the prayers of a mother? Anybody grateful for the prayers of a grandmother? Anybody grateful that somebody was praying for you when you were about to make an unwise decision? Anybody other than me wanna just say, God, thank you that somebody loved me enough to pray me out of a foolish. Somebody just say, don't leave me alone. Samson was a judge in Israel. He was an answer to prayer, but even in an early stage of his life, we could tell that his particular weakness was women.
And so in the 14th chapter, he goes to his parents, and he says, "Look, there's this woman, I like her. I want you to get her to be my wife, hook it up". It's a different version than the version you read. And the father said, "No, son, what about one of the people who believes like you? What about somebody who loves God like you"? No. I want her, she got the pla-dat pla-kow, pla-dat bow! Look at her. Look at her. Yeah, I am looking at her, you don't see what I see. You see curves, I see a curve ball. She looks good on the surface. But she doesn't have what it takes to carry your destiny.
I don't know who this is for. Ask the Lord to show you that person again. If you're single, ask the Lord, give me vision. I know they look good on the surface, but God, if they cannot help me to get to destiny, then remove 'em, no matter how bad I don't wanna be alone, I would rather be alone in this season than broken in the next season. Please show me! Trying to help somebody on this evening. But let's be honest, sometimes it's hard serving God. Because you see other people who aren't serving God and it looks so fun.
To some of us, now, mama Dodie's like, no, I've been walking with him too long. I know the truth. But as you grow in this thing, there are times when you almost have flesh envy. Dag, I wish I could do that, man. They're not, they're not getting in trouble. And as soon as you try it. Pag, I couldn't even, even get the thought all the way outta my mind, Jesus, before you showed up with a scripture. My mind's telling me no but my body body's telling me yes Holy Ghost be over there like, don't do it.
Samson kept Messing around, but God kept giving him victory. You can be victorious in your spirit and be failing in your flesh, but what God wants for mature believers to lay down those things that have held us hostage and say I don't want to be a public success and a private failure. God, I want to be one man. I want to be one woman. I want to be the same thing everywhere I go. What you see is what you get. I'm not putting on a mask to please anybody. If you like me, great. If you don't like me, great. But this is who I am and this is who God has made me and this is how he's processing me.
We try to project to people something that we're really not because sometimes religion will kind of coax you or force you into saying things that make other people feel comfortable. Very rarely do we tell the truth of our condition. You know, how are you doing? Oh, I'm blessed. Honey, I'm blessed. Okay? That's what I am. How are you? Because I'm highly favored. That's what I am. I got the blood of Jesus. It's all over me. I don't know what you got, but I have the blood. Hallelujah. Because most people when they ask, how you doing, don't really want to know because if you told them the truth they may not have enough word to help you walk through that thing.
How, are you doing? I'm struggling right now. I'm battling in my flesh. Somebody walked passed me and they looked good, and I didn't look once. I looked three times. Dang, dang, dang. My wife is getting on my nerves. My kids won't go to sleep, and I feel like pulling my hair out, but I don't have hair, so instead of drinking because I'm too scared to go to the liquor store I'm gonna go ahead and eat every sandwich in this whole city because, oh, well. I'll pray for you. See, because truth makes people afraid. That's why you gotta be careful who you tell your heart to.
The Bible says that David got caught up with a woman named Delilah. Delilah. Delilah. Just sounds like some mess. I'm sorry. People are like, I just came for the first time and my name is Delilah. We're not talking about you. We're talking about her. This was 6.000 years ago. We love you. We know you love Jesus. She was sent to disrupt the anointing. Now, this is not just about a physical relationship. I need you to be encouraged and hear me by the spirit.
There are people that the enemy will send to disrupt destiny on your life. Their only job is to get you off track. They're not here to stop you. They're just here to get you off just slightly because if you get off track just slightly, that's all it takes, and before you know it you end up in some other place that you didn't have a clue how you got there. God, wake up every individual that's listening tonight and whose watching tonight that you will give them eyes for the spirit of Delilah that comes and whispers as a good thing but is an enemy to their soul. It is designed to disrupt their destiny. God, give them supernatural favor to say Delilah, that spirit I bind you in the name of Jesus, and you have no authority because I am anointed of God. And I'm not going to test the visit of God by Messing with you.
Now, there's something people you gotta watch out for. Judases they'll come kiss you and smile at you. Delilah she let him know straight up. She's like, tell met secret to your strength. Just because what could I do to put you in bondage? These are the questions she asked. You gotta read it. And Samson would lie to her. He'd tell her one thing. She was like, that's crazy. Go to sleep. He would go to sleep and wake up, and whatever he had just said that's what he was in bondage to. Be careful what you're saying in this season. Finally, she got tired of his lies and said, now, tell me the truth, what can I do to kill you? Please just tell me.
Now, I don't know who she is. She must have been fine! How fine do you have to be, I'm going to tell you what kills me. Promise you won't do it even though you've already tried six times to kill me. Promise you won't because I'm not even kidding. The Bible says he told her all his heart, and she said, I got it. Next thing you know she tells the Philistines to come on, and she brings a barber, and they cut off the 7 locks of his hair. And I want to give you 7 locks over your life. Write these down. See, because the enemy will take you out if you are not aware of these 7 locks.
1. Who do I worship?
2. What do I believe.
3. What is my purpose?
4. Who do I walk with?
5. Who am I at my core?
6. What's my destination?
7. What's my name?
I'm gonna say them again because this is your assignment. They're like, I can't even type that fast. You're doing too much. I'm just here as a visitor. I didn't know we were gonna get 7 locks. Once again, who do I worship? What do I believe? What is my purpose? Who do I walk with? Who am I at my core? What's my destination? What's my name? Somehow Samson lost sight of who he was. He started making decisions as if he wasn't an answer to prayer. He began worshipping at the altar of his flesh instead of worshipping at the altar of the living God. And many of us need to make a decision on who we are going to worship. Why do you think the first commandment was thou shall not have any other Gods before me? Why? Because that was paramount on God's mind because we are worshippers by nature. Idol worship. We'll worship at the altar of relationship and at the altar of things and at the altar of our emotions.
And I need you to understand there's only one throne, and only one can sit on the throne at any given point in time. Make sure God is on that throne. Not your will, not your appetite, not your emotions, not your fears. Make sure that you are worshipping the living God because if you are focused and your affection is on the living God, then you will make decisions based on not wanting to hurt him. Kind of quiet. Y'all all right?
Number 2, what do I believe? Let me tell you what I believe. I believe Jesus Christ is the son of the living God. I believe he's the only way to the father. I believe he's the first begotten of the dead. I believe his blood is enough to pay for all the sins of all the men and women at any time and will ever live at any time. And his grace is sufficient for me. I believe that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. I believe that, and I live my life from that truth, and even though there are many who do not believe what I believe, it is their right not to believe and I will not force or try to force them to believe what I believe, but you are not going to talk me down from what I believe. What do you believe?
Number 3, what is my purpose? What is my purpose? The Bible says you're a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. God wants you to understand that you are purposed to bring him glory. Here's the question I want you to ask yourself all week. For the next 7 days ask yourself this question in every area of your life, can God get glory out of this? If your faithful to ask that question, you will find out there's some things in your life that are superfluous. You do not need them because they are not producing glory for God.
If you have already said I worship God and I believe Jesus is Lord, then when it comes to purpose you know that your purpose is to bring glory to God, and if something is not bringing him glory, if a relationship is not bringing him glory, if a certain business practice is not bringing him glory, if there are laces that you're hanging out that do not bring him glory, then I kindly ask you to challenge yourself, if this isn't bringing him glory, then I need to step away from that. I need to remove myself from that, and I need to trust that his plan for me is better than my plan for me. Ask yourself, is what I'm doing bringing him glory?
Here's one, who do I walk with? I'm almost done. Who do I walk with? Translation, whose your crew? Whose your crew? Who do you call in times of crisis? There are a couple people that I call when I'm struggling, and their names are I'm not going to tell you because that's my inner court. That's my crew. I call them my lions. I put up this on Instagram week ago of thee lions running towards the camera like, what? And that's how I feel when I call my dudes, and I call and I tell them the truth. I don't give them church answers. I say I'm battling right now. I'm battling in my emotions. I'm feeling lonely right now. I'm feeling like I can't make it. I'm feeling like an inadequate as a husband or father. Help me. Help me. Pray for me. And they will pray me back into the right position. They will fight for me when I'm too weak to fight for myself. Who do I have around you that will tell you the truth of God when the lie of the enemy looks more real? Who do you have in your world that will fight for you. Who is your crew?
I got point number five, but now all the sudden my little book wants to act wrong so I'm going to have to preach off my brain. Membership me, Holy Ghost. I'll come back to the points, but here's something that happened. Y'all know what happened to Samson. They cut his hair off and put him in prison. It looked like it was over. The scripture, the one that scared me is the one that says he thought he could break free, but he didn't know that the Lord had left him. Let me tell you something, God wouldn't leave you. You'd have to leave him. The point of the scripture is that there was so many opportunities for Samson to make a wise decision that as he continued to make the wrong decision after he continued to not respond to the whisper of the Holy Spirit, the Bible says in Romans 1:28 that after a certain time the Lord will turn you over to a reprobate mind.
The word reprobate means you fade the test. It literally means you've unproven. You've proved yourself that you don't want God. Reprobation doesn't mean that God leaves you. Reprobation means you've left God. Very important. It's real quiet, and that's all right because we need to ask ourselves, is there any place in our lives that because of the fact that we have free will we've told God I don't want you dealing with that? I don't want you in that area. I'll take care of that myself. God is saying, trust me. I've got a better plan than you do in that area. I don't want to hear about your plan. I have a plan. Okay. God, leave me alone. I'll give you this, but I'm keeping that. You can handle that, but leave this alone. This one belongs to me.
Let me help you to understand something. You don't want God to leave you alone. See, there's the context of your life, and then there's the sub text. The context of your life is the circumstance. The sub text of your life is the underlying purpose. What is the theme of your life? What is the calling of God on your life? And filter every decision you make not through the context or the lens of your circumstance but through the sub text or the undercurrent of the Word of God over your life. This is a season for you to get serious about the things of God. You look on the news and you could be discouraged that God, are you even real? With everything that's going on. He says, I'm very real, and I'm going to use you to produce glory. Oh, oh yes, he is. Who do I walk with? Next few and then we can go.
Who am I at my core? Who am I at my core? Ask yourself these questions, ma'am, sir, this week. Identify who you are. Well, I'm a pastor. No, that's not who I am. That's what I do. I'm a preacher. No, that's what I do. Who am i? A Son of God designed to bring him glory through every gift that he's given me, and I will not take my last breath until I have completed the assignment on my life. Let me help you. Mama, how long have you been going here? How long? 49 years. 39 years. 39 years, so we got mama on the front row, 39 years, and she's been praying for people, prophesying over people, speaking life to people for 39 years. I'm sure in that 39 years the enemy has come against you. He's tried to probably take you out in any number of ways, but God let the devil know that the answer was no. You can't have her. Here's why. Because I already spoke what it was going to be.
See, some of us have asked God to leave us alone, and God's love said, I can't leave you alone because your mama prayed about you. I can't leave you alone because I made a promise to your grandmother. I can't leave you alone because your grandfather was praying to me out in the field when he was working and didn't even have a full education. He had a third grade education and said, God, somebody in my family has got to make it and finish college. I won't, but God, send somebody.
And you need to know the reason why God won't leave you alone is because somebody else prayed, and you're the answer to that prayer. I don't know who this is for, but you've been asking God to leave you alone, but your great-great great grandmother was somewhere praying and asking God tore somebody in the family to rise up and serve God, and now look at you walking in authority. Look at you, you're a boss. You better walk that thing out. You better hold your head up because this is the power of God, that he loves you too much to leave you alone. You can give him a praise if you're grateful that he's never left you alone.
Who am I at my core? What's my destination? Tonight you're going to go to your car. You remember where your car is. Most of you. Ask the Lord if you're not sure of the destination. Ask him to give you clarity on where you're going because if you don't know where you're going, you're just going to keep going in circles making bad relationship decisions. When you know where you're going, certain people, for my single folk, they're already off the list. When you know where you're going, then you realize that one with the three teeth, nice! Nice person, just not for where you're going. But if you don't know where you're going, three teeth, okay, yeah, we can go to waffle house. Sure! There's nothing wrong with three teeth. My point is this. You can buy new teeth. My point though is we often settle for less than the Word of God because of the will of our flesh and the fear of being alone. But God says if you'll trust me and walk with me, I won't leave you alone.
Last point, what's my name? What's my name? Ask yourself this and declare your name. I know it might sound crazy but when you get up tomorrow morning after you brushed your teeth, look in the mirror and say your name and with your name understand there was a purpose attached, and as you speak your name that name carries weight. You need to know you have authority with God and you have authority with man, and you don't have to apologize for what God has given you or who God has made you. He gave you a name, and with that name came a purpose, and with that purpose came a destiny, and with that destiny came authority. God, no matter what you do don't leave me alone.
Samson said I'm going to get up and get free from this thing. The Bible says God left him alone. He didn't know that God had left him. But at the end it says but his hair began to grow up. I don't know if you felt like you've made too many decisions that could cost you your future, but I'm just prophetically declaring your hair is growing back. I don't know who you are or what you're walking through, but hair is symbolic of glory. I want you to know the glory is coming back. Don't shed anymore tears of shame for the bad decisions you've made. Your hair is growing back.
I want you to know if even God takes his hand off for a moment, he loves you too much to leave you that way. He's coming back to he see about you. And the days of your deliverance are at hand. God, don't leave me alone. You ask yourself 7 questions, those 7 locks lock in the clarity of your future. Also this week read Psalm 51. And as I close, there's a difference between David and Samson. They both struggled in relationships with women. The difference is that Samson struggled alone. David struggled among his friends. And when you have people around you and you're struggling, they will fight for you.
Samson was by himself, but David had friends. Make sure that if you're struggling you don't struggle alone. We are the body of Christ. There are people here who will walk with you no matter what you've struggled with or are currently struggling with. You are not alone. Jesus said this in John 16, he said to the disciples, a time is coming when you're going to leave me all alone, but I am not alone. For my Father is with me. And if everybody else leaves you know that your Heavenly Father is not going to leave you or forsake you. I declare right now that you will feel the presence of God and the power of God manifest in your life in the most significant way in the next 7 days. You will feel the touch of God, the love of God, and the favor of God like never before.