John Gray - The Moment Before The Moment
If you'll do me a favor and go to 1st Samuel 24, 1st Samuel 24 and this is a story all about how life got flipped, turned upside down, no it's not. This is, this is a story about opportunity. It's a story about choice. It's a story about the possibility of revenge. It's the story of a moment. It's the story of David and Saul. And it is a most unique story because it does not get as much attention as some of the other stories that we have read about David. We know about David and Goliath. We know about his mighty exploits, we know about all of these other areas, but we don't focus on this particular story. But you and I both know that life is not just comprised of living day after day after day. We can't remember every day that we've lived. We don't remember every conversation that we've had, but we do remember moments.
Life is best compartmentalized and digested in moments. We remember key moments of our lives. We remember the birth of our children, we remember graduating from high school, we remember our first date. How many people remember their first date? This is an interactive service, stop sitting there like we're in college and I'm a professor come on and tell the truth. How many people remember your first day? Some of you all don't, it means you dated too many people. Let me see was it Lisa? No, who was it, Rebecca? No, who was it? Mavis? No, I don't, I don't even remember man. I don't even know man. Its been so many I don't know. Who remembers their first kiss? Somebody out of messed up your relationship, I thought I was your first kiss.
Life is best remembered by these great moments and we surround that moment with applause and feelings and emotions are attached to moments. And even in the Bible, there are moments that we can remember. What I want to highlight and what I want to talk about. I want to share from the subject the moment before the moment, the moment before the moment. 1st Samuel 24 starting at the first verse. Now it happened when Saul returned from following the Philistines that it was told him saying, "Take note, David is in the wilderness of En Gedi". Then Saul took 3000 chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men on the rocks of the wild goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road where there was a cave and Saul went in to attend to his needs.
David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave. Then the men said, then the men of David said to him, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, "Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand that you may do to him as it seems good to you". And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul's robe. Now, what happened afterward, that David's heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe. And he said to his men, "The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master. The Lord's anointed to stretch out my hand against him. Seeing he is the anointed of the Lord". So David restrained his servants with these words and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way. Excuse me, I want to talk from the subject, the moment before the moment.
Now on the surface, this scripture is it's not one that you can immediately see a correlation between the title I just gave you and the actions in this cave. But you know David as a king, you know David as the man after God's own heart. But none of that would have been possible had he done the wrong thing in this cave. Many of us as believers and many of us in our lives, whether it's our professional lives or our personal lives or relationships, we always look for the moment. We are always getting to the moment. Why do we work? We work so we can pay bills 'cause that Friday you got to pay bills when you get that money, you know whatchu got to do with it. Why do we work so hard? Because we're going to get two weeks vacation and we're going to go somewhere with the kids and we're going to drive in the car and it's going to be hot and they're going and then we're going to want to pull over in the rest stop and leave him there, but we're not going to do that, because then we will go to jail.
And so, we live our life based on moments. But in the kingdom economy we see the moment but God actually is not trying to get us to the moment. He's trying to deal with us in the moment before the moment because it's in that place where God deals with your character. It's there where he deals with your integrity. It's there he deals with the posture of your heart. And here this is a story unlike any other because Saul clearly did not like David. That's a very mild way of putting it. When a man tries to kill you twice by throwing a spear at you to nail you to a wall. Your relationship is bad. It's just bad and not only that, David had such a broken relationship with his own father that even after being almost killed twice, he still calls this man master, father, the Lord's anointed. Because David's heart would not change because of Saul's actions. For you and I God wants to make sure that we don't treat people based on how they treat us, but on how God sees them.
I know we won't get a lot of applauds that means that I got my boss that gets on my nerves. Yes, right now God wants you to honor not because they are worthy of it, but because God is training your heart not to become like them, when it's your turn. Somebody say the moment before the moment. Help me Holy Ghost, I prophetically believed that many people here are in the moment before the moment. I know you want the promotion. I know you want the raise. I know that there are opportunities in front of you. But God is saying, I want to get those things to you, but I'm going to deal with some things before I take you there. Because I cannot have another person on a platform until I have dealt with the inner workings of their heart. The Bible is filled with instances of people who were in a moment and because of their actions ended up missing a moment. You know you can miss your moment if you don't handle the moment properly. You can miss your moment if you say the wrong thing and do the wrong thing.
David, if there was anybody that had the right to do something in this cave, it was David. Because David's life was made up of moments. David's life really took off in 1st Samuel 16, you can read it for yourself. He was sitting in the field writing songs by himself, singing to God, covering sheep, killing lions, and bear, nobody knew who he was, his brothers didn't like him, he had seven brothers who didn't care for him. Many theologians believe that David's mother was a concubine of Jesse or an affair or the child of an affair. So the seven brothers didn't care for him. His father didn't even recognize him as a potential candidate when the prophet Samuel showed up to anoint a king, they didn't even invite him in the house. Just the seven that Jesse saw value in.
There are people that can't see you, but it doesn't mean God doesn't have his hand on. Now I know it's 8:30 and you guys are the cerebral crowd and you're the professors and the bankers and the brilliant people and the business owners. But you know what? Every now and then we need to lay down our title and pick up some praise because somebody in here needs to know, that if people never see you properly, it doesn't change who God made you, and if they never celebrate you, it doesn't mean God doesn't love you. And if you never get recognized for your gift and your talent and the things that you bring to the table, it doesn't change that God has his hand on your life. So be faithful where you are because God knows where he's taking you. There's a moment before the moment. I feel like a five second praise break right there.
In 1st Samuel 16, David was out in the field minding his business and all of a sudden his dad calls his name and he says, "David", daddy says, and David says, "Yes sir". Jesse says, "Come on in the house". "Okay". And as he's walking, he has no clue that this is the last time he'll walk as a regular man, a regular boy. He didn't know that as he was walking, he was stepping in to an anointing that he didn't even know he was being prepared for in a field. Some of us are looking for the anointing, but we forsake the field. If you want the anointing stay in the field. Stay faithful in the field, sing in the field, pray in the field, worship in the field.
Let me tell you something, I'm not, Dayja is not a worship leader, because she sings on the platform. She's a worship leader 'cause she sings at her house and she sings over her kids and she sings in the car and I bet you she prays in the car and I tell you something else. I'm not a preacher because I'm standing up here. I was preaching when none of you all knew who I was, in churches that none of you all would ever go to. Not because you think you're better than it, but you didn't know me, you're too small. And it was a little small place over in the corner and nobody saw me there, there were no cameras there, there was no internet there and I was preaching like this then and that's why God trusts me now. Don't wait for the moment, you need to be faithful in the moment before the moment. I'm not a preacher because you see me, I'm a preacher 'cause he called me. She's not a worship leader 'cause she's sings, she's a worship leader 'cause she's got relationship with God.
Help me Holy Ghost. Is there anybody in here that doesn't need a crowd to be who you are? Ten second praise break, I say 10. If you got legs, you might want to use them, you might want to use them. God we blessing you in here this morning. We bless you right now, all glory. Platforms don't make you, they can only expose you. David was worshiping when nobody was looking. And as he's walking, he walks in the house with the dirt from the field and the dust from covering sheep and the oil begins to flow. And the oil float on top of the dirt so stop trying to clean yourself up. God anointed you in your dirt. I feel like preaching, I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it. David was anointed and people say, "Oh man, that was the moment". No, it was a moment. He killed Goliath, that was the moment. No, it was a moment. Man he was a king, he was anointed king. He was anointed king coming out of a field, but he was coronations in a cave.
See men celebrate other people in front of people. We make big old grant pomp and circumstance when you know, when the king of England had or the prince had a baby, it was a big old deal. When he got married, it was a big old deal. And he had on this military jacket with all of this stuff that he borrowed from Michael Jackson and sorry Peter. And we celebrate it because he was royalty, because we do coronations in front of people. That's how we coronate our leaders. But God coronations his leaders in caves. He develops you in anonymous places where no one can see you. And if you can be faithful in the cave, he can trust you in the palace. David had an opportunity to take out his enemy in the cave. And I don't know about you all, if you ever watch scary movies and stuff like that, and you're yelling at it, run, do something, the man is right behind you, he going to get you.
So David's men ran up and said, "Yo, you ain't going to believe who's in the cave using the bathroom, your boy Saul this is the moment". That God said, "I'm going to deliver your to see what you will do". This was the moment that God was testing David's character. Are you going to try to take matters into your own hands? Are you going to put your hands on the situation and manipulate it so that you can take the throne or are you going to trust me to finish what I started in you? Stop plotting against people, stop angling for their position. Just relax and be faithful where God's planted you. Stop worrying about what's going on in somebody else's garden and be faithful with the garden you got. If you got enough water for your garden, that's all you need. Stop worrying about how somebody else's garden is growing somebody else's job, someone else's relationship. Stop living your life based on comparison, you can't compare your anointing to someone else's because you don't know their challenges, you don't know their tears, you don't know their process so relax and be faithful where you are.
David said, "I got him right where I want him, and then his heart dad gone integrity. I've been worshiping in the field and it affected me with compassion. All this worship has messed me up, now I have grace for this broken man who's been trying to kill me, because I know how it feels to be on the outside. I should take him out, I'm sitting here reading kill him". Stab him, he tried to kill you, eye for an eye. Instead of taking his revenge on his enemy, he had mercy on him and cut a piece of his robe off. Not knowing that if he just touched the hem of his garment, what he ended up doing is healing a part of himself because in that moment what he did, is he forgave Saul for trying to kill him.
You all missed this, because it's in the text it's hidden because often the moments that make you are hidden. You're waiting for some big explosion and God's over here in the whisper. He cut off a corner of his rope, and he says, "Fellows, I can't do this. Not only is he my master, he's still submitted to him, the man trying to kill me, but I'm going to submit because God has me here for a reason and so I'm going to still honor him". Do you know the kind of character it takes to honor people who are trying to hurt you to attack you? Who talk about you, who hurt and whisper against? Do you know that that's the kind of stuff that had been applauds? Look at that, that's the kind of character I can trust in leadership. David says, "I got to let him go. Fellas, don't do anything". I know some of his men like, "Man, you crazy. This don't make no sense, we got him right here". And it was in that moment that God said, "Now that's a man I can put on the throne".
Do you know had David messed up in that moment? He could have hijacked what God wanted to do in his life. What area of process are you in? Are you in the moment before the moment? Is God testing and checking your character to make sure you have the right heart for where he's taking you? Or are you content to be who you are and where you are? I certainly hope not because if you're alive, you need to be progressing. You need to be moving forward. Don't get complacent, we have too many casual Christians come in and go out. Get ready to leave five minutes before the service is over because we want to miss traffic. And let me tell you something, there's something more important than missing traffic and I don't want you to miss the moment. We can interrupt God's plan with our attempt to take matters into our own hands. And what God knew and what he was developing in David is that a king is not just the one who was anointed in front of his brothers.
A king isn't the title, it's your character. Leadership is about your character, it's about how you treat people. You haven't seen somebody with a little bit of power that treats people bad? Can speak to people mean, looking down on them ain't that terrible? Those people have amnesia they forget when they were the one on the low end of the totem pole. A lot of times you catch people like that, who are still insecure, got issues on the inside, never healed, never grew up properly from that place and so they treat people bad and makes them feel better about themselves. You all pray for me because I don't deal with people like that too well, I'm like, let me tell you something. When you do this, when you put your hand out like that, you mean let me tell you something. You don't treat people any kind of way, and especially in the body of Christ. If you're a Christian business owner, treat your employees better than the world. If you're a believer, and you're in education or banking, you need to have grace for people ask the Lord, give me the spirit of discernment that I don't just look at what's on the paper, but I look at what's in the heart.
You want to be used by God, then you have to have a heart for people. It's your wisdom in warfare. It's a heart for holiness. It's the awareness of the limitations of your flesh. These are the things that God deals with in the moment before the moment. Tell somebody I'm in a moment. I don't know if you believe it, say it again, tell somebody or say I'm in a moment. Character is not something that's acquired overnight. Character is developed moment by moment, choice by choice. And in that case, David had an option to take out his enemy. But when you eliminate all your other options, now you're in the moment. When you eliminate the options to do wrong, when you eliminate the options to sin, when you eliminate all the other choices, now you're in the moment, now God can begin to bless you, now God can begin to prosper you. When you say God, I'm not going to let anything derail what you're doing in me. Now you're in the moment and many of us have been in an opportunity to sin against God and maybe some of us made mistakes.
I know I have, but let me tell you what changed when I turned. See, the Bible says Jesus came saying "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". And we don't say it enough, but repent means to turn from your sin, to turn from your sin life, to turn from your wicked ways of things that you know are wrong. And God says many of you all, you want the blessing and the favor, but you won't turn. I want to get a lot of shouting on that because we don't talk about that. In the body of Christ globally enough. Jesus didn't die for us to have a nice time on earth. He died for us to be a holy representation of what it means to live one way and then the blood change you. And then you go the other way, somebody needs something God that the blood can turn you around. The blood can put you in the moment.
Tell somebody don't miss your moment. You know, these big moments because David was the king. He was coroneted king after soul died, but he didn't have anything to do with his death. And that's a very important thing to know. Because there are people who will attack you, they don't like you. There are people that don't like you now, and it's because you're anointed. It has nothing to do with you. You've been nice to them, you treat them right. They just don't like you. And that's got to be okay with you. Let me be their friend. If got two or three good friends in your life, you're doing real well, walk it out with them. Big moments are often preceded by a number of smaller but no less critical, defining moments. Make sure that your character is in line with the will of God. Be careful that you don't let a little moment mess up the big moments. It's just one line. That's just a couple drinks, is nothing. I only slept with her once. Let me tell you, one small thing can derail everything God wants to do.
Let me give you an example. I was preaching this past Thursday, in Tennessee and I was on the plane. And we had just left the jet way, and we're taxiing towards the runway, and then the plane stopped. And the captain came on. And he said, I apologize, but we have an indicator light. And even though it's something small, we're going to have to address it before we take off. Now, we don't think it's anything but we're going to cycle this thing through to see where in the system the issue is. And if it is what we think it is, then we'll have no problem we'll take off. If not , we're going to have to get a mechanic on it.
Now, I don't like delays, especially in confined spaces. It wasn't a big plane, it was a tiny plane, a tiny plane, I'm a big dude, I'm just in there. Just on the window and just scrunched up and just like, oh, I want to get out of here. Then he came back on a few minutes later and says, we're going to have to return to the gate. The issue is bigger than we thought. It started with a small indicator light. And it had us return the whole plane and everybody in it to the gate. Do you know one bad decision by you doesn't just affect you? It affects your family, it affects your children. It affects your legacy , it affects your future. I got back to the to the jet bridge and they said, everyone take your things get off the plane, this plane is not able to be flown. They caught it because one little indicator said there's a problem. And it was an indication of bigger problems because often one little sin is an indicator of some other stuff that has not been dealt with beneath the surface. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spirit.
So me I'm like I'm ready for my purpose, I'm ready for my destiny, I'm ready for my moment. Guys, like, are you ready? We're on the runway, and we're getting ready to speed up. Hold on, I see an indicator light in your character. You're not treating people right? We're going to need to return you to the gate for some maintenance, and there's only one mechanic that can help you, his name is the Holy Ghost. And the Holy Ghost doesn't deal with the outside. He wouldn't deal with paint jobs. That's what religion does hit you with the surface stuff. Put some makeup on a pig, the Holy Ghost gets underneath the hood, starts dealing with the internal stuff, starts dealing with what happened in your childhood, he starts dealing with that bitterness towards your sister, who's that anger towards your brother, that drama with your mama, that problem with your father.
God allows the Holy Spirit to begin to deal with the stuff on the inside, that we don't want people to know about. But you're not going to be able to take off until you let the Holy Spirit in on the inside. I wish the church will get excited about the Holy Ghost. We get excited about Jesus. Jesus said it's better than our goal, so the comforter can come. It's the Holy Spirit that empowers us to live the life the father intended. We need the Holy Spirit on the inside of us to be the church, because the church is not the church, without the Holy Ghost. Somebody gave God a great praise if you believe it. Sometimes you and I have been grounded out of God's love. It's not punishment. It wasn't punishment, that caused you to be grounded. It was his love says I can't let you take off. And then the indicator lights go. Now we got a real problem, because they know mechanics can be flying next to the plane at 500 miles an hour. Looks like you got to fuel leak, you all take care. We going ahead and get out of your way. No, it's better to deal with those types of things on the ground. So somebody I want to go to the next level, but you haven't dealt with your issues on your ground level. That's why you're grounded.
And even Jesus Christ himself had a moment before the moment. We know about good Friday. We know about Sunday, and we rightfully worship our risen Savior and he is alive. I don't care who you are, and I make no apologies for it. He is alive, Jesus is alive. He's not a myth, I don't care what the news story is trying to say. Is he alive or dead? Was he real or not? Why are you worried about it? If you don't want to believe that's your choice, but I believe he hit on faith. I know it to be true. Jesus is any believers in here. I'm tired of apologizing for Jesus. I'm tired of apologizing to a world that don't believe. I'm sorry, does my unbelief offend you? Does their unbelief offend me? Yes, but they get to do what they want to, I will talk about Jesus all I want. I love Jesus, I don't make any apologies about it.
Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He's the only way to the Father. He's the only one that can forgive sin and turn it around. He's a healer, a way maker, he's a restorer, he's the one that gets us to our moment. Without Jesus, we are nothing. I watched the final four last night and all these people sitting up cheering for their team, and then come to church and we keep our hands folded. You don't have more passion for a basketball game than the guy but he let his son die on a cross, never got a fake you, I'm not worthy, but you made me worthy. Bless you, I'm not better than anybody else, if it wasn't for you, I'd have no hope.
Jesus had his moment, before the moment. It was in Matthew 26. The Garden of Gethsemane, the place of pressing, the place of crushing. We know about good Friday, but there is no good Friday without a late Thursday. Thursday when there were no cameras, there was no internet, no Facebook, no Snapchat, no Instagram, there was nobody there. Nobody was checking their watch to see what time the preacher was going to finish. So when the prayers start, they can start tipping out the side. No, it was a moment before the moment. And Jesus said sit here while I go pray over there. And as he walked, just like David walked, this was the last walk that he would walk before everything changed. And he said, "Father, let this cup pass but nevertheless, not my will, your will be done".
And in that moment he said, everything in my life has led me to this moment, I lay down my life for the sake of the sheep. Jesus did the right thing in the anonymous moment, in the hidden moment, which is why he had power on good Friday. Oh, hallelujah, when he was on the cross, there was one sign above his head. "This is Jesus, the king of the Jews". Good Friday, we know he died. Saturday, we know there was silence. But Sunday early. We know something shook. The stone was rolled away. The angels sat there and said, why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here but he is risen, just as he said. Go and see for yourself where they lay him. You're in the moment, Mary Magdalene you're in the moment. Peter you're in the moment. But because Jesus was faithful in the moment before the moment, now all of us get to have our moment.
I have enough credibility in this church to say what I'm about to say. The next three minutes are probably some of the most sacred time for you and I. And I ask that you will pray with me, because people are getting ready to make an eternal decision for Jesus. Kindly, respectfully, if you do not have to leave, because I know there are some who have to get in position for your ministries after the service. But if you don't have to go please stay. Cause I'm getting ready to pray because we're in the moment. It does my heart good to know that I'm not just in a moment with people that look like me but I'm in a moment with the nations of the world.
Look around, this is a miracle you all. With everything going on in the world and in politics, we all in here, all of these colors, all these generations, all these races, and we all lifting up Jesus, this is a moment. Don't rush past this moment. Because everybody sees the end result, but they don't see the process. How in the world is Cindy, have a song, on a soundtrack for a movie that's going did she just get ready? No, she was faithful for years serving, and God says now I don't know who this is for, but God says now, oh, help me God. Let me go with the Holy Ghost. Somebody, you're in your now. Today is your now moment. We're going into palm Sunday and resurrection but you're in your now moment. Man, that's fine, I'm going to take mine too, you're in your now where everything you prayed for is going to show up, each step you've been waiting on for 25 years is going to show up.
Now, how in the world did Daedra have a song off an album on billboard chart? And the song is now on radio, when everybody that does that lives in Nashville, why wouldn't you go to Nashville? Didn't used to live in Nashville. But I'm planted John, I'm planted, and I'm where I'm supposed to be. So whatever God wants to do is fine. But I'm not moving from where I'm planted. And God says, because you were faithful, where you're planted, now is the time. I mean, somebody didn't get this in your spirit. You're in your moment of now. You had more options than this. But you came here God says, now, you're where you're supposed to be. Now, you're exactly what God wants. Now, you're in the moment of, this is God. It's a now moment. Somebody gave me my now praise for now moment. Let me pray for you. No music. You can be seated for a moment, I'm praying. Heads bowed, eyes closed.
Father in the name of Jesus, help us to discern the moment. Many of us want the one thing but you want the thing before the thing. So God we give that to you. If there's something in our character, something in our soul, something in our emotions or there's something in our will, that can hijack and interrupt destiny, take it now. So that we can be effectively used for your service. We are in a moment. May this be the moment that everything changes for us. Dreams unlocked, visions unveiled, hope renewed, salvation for the soul. And we are new. Jesus in this sacred holy moment, heal us from our past hurts, and deliver us from the things that have held us hostage. We will not let Saul keep us from becoming David. And we won't let Judas keep us from embracing our own cross. For if we are going to be disciples, we must first deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.