John Hagee - Joy in the Day of Trouble
To all of our friends and partners across America and around the world, our topic today is "Joy in the day of trouble". Let me read from Psalm 63:1-4. "O God, you are my God. Early will I seek you. My soul thirsts for you. My flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I looked for you in the sanctuary to see your power and to see your glory. Because your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you. Thus will I bless you while I live: I will lift up my hands in your name".
America, today, and the world, are in a horrific day of unspeakable trouble. In a matter of 30 days, the U.S. economy has been shut down. Businesses are closed. Many of you have lost your jobs. There's massive unemployment. Churches are empty. Schools and universities are closed. Social distancing is now the law of survival. People are wearing gloves. They're wearing masks. I've washed my hands so much: they're raw. Hospitals are flooded with people who are sick, and those who are passing. Doctors and nurses are on the front lines, courageously fighting this invisible foe. If there was ever a time to pray for America, it's now.
When a day of trouble arises, personally and nationally, our first instinct is to ask God to take it away. Take away the pain and the suffering. Take away the broken hearts. Take away the black night of shattered dreams. Let there be a glorious sunrise of new beginnings for our families and for this nation. And I want to tell you, I believe if we meet God's conditions, we are going to have a glorious sunrise.
Consider the history of Christianity. Jesus asked the same thing of God Almighty the night before he was to be crucified by Rome. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed while his disciples slept. In agony, he lifted his face toward God and said, "Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from me". God sent him a FedEx, and said, "From the foundations of the earth, you have been destined to die on the cross for the redemption of mankind". Jesus said, "Not my will, but thine be done".
All great Christian living begins the day you crucify your will and start doing the will of God. God had a plan for the storm that Jesus was going through. And that plan included you and me in the plan of salvation for the world. I believe the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has a plan that will bring America through this storm, which is now raging in every home in America and the world. It will bring us together, not tear us apart.
Consider the day of trouble for the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul asked God three times to remove the thorn in his flesh that was causing him so much physical suffering. But there was a problem. The problem was that there was so much supernatural power flowing through saint Paul: some people were trying to worship him. And God said to Paul, "If I remove this weakness, people are going to become to think that you are God". And you might have a time when you start believing it. So God said, "My grace is sufficient for you, Paul. My strength is made perfect in weakness".
The message: you can survive the storm God puts you in. The point: any time we think we're getting strong enough, or smart enough, or wealthy enough, or connected enough: any time we think we are enough without God, we're saying that we don't need God in our lives. I think that's what God is saying to America right now. Listen closely.
I think God is thinking, "You've kicked me out of your schools and universities. You've forced the Ten Commandments out of the public square. Your churches are now lukewarm and disgusting. You have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. You have substituted righteousness for ritual. You have substituted hype for holiness. You have embraced other Gods and ignored the God of heaven with whom your forefathers made covenant at the Plymouth rock. Your forefathers sought for guidance when they knelt to construct The Declaration of Independence you have embraced the murder of infants. Their blood cries out to me for justice. And justice, they will receive. You have become a 21st century Sodom and Gomorrah. And let me show you how quickly you can become weak and helpless as a nation".
And I think all of us in America are shocked at how absolutely tragically this disease has shackled our nation. The Lord is saying, "Just as I chastised ancient Israel, my firstborn son, for disobedience, so will I chastise you". God is no respecter of persons. I believe that God Almighty is giving America the opportunity to repent of our national sins, because we: as a nation, have lost our moral compass. And he's saying, if you do not, I'm going to allow your political and economic system to be destroyed.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray... And turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven. And I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land". It's up to America. God is asking his people to pray. God wants to hear from the church triumphant. Therefore, I'm asking everyone under the sound of my voice, for the next seven days, to find a place of prayer to pray for America, to ask God to forgive us of our sins, to ask God to heal our land. Pray for God to expose the members of congress, who, in their arrogance and corruption, refuse to give us intelligent and godly leadership.
When we pray, then the issue is in God's hands. The future of our nation is hanging in the balance. And I believe it's going to be determined on the prayer life of the body of Christ. I urge you to pray for America. And on a personal level, God uses our weaknesses. God uses our failures, our faults, and our personal storms to show us just how Almighty he really is.
Look at the lives of the greatest preachers in the history of the world who had a day of trouble. George Whitfield, whose ministry led to the development of the Methodist church, he preached with asthma. While he preached, he wheezed and he gasped for breath: yet, thousands of people were converted under that man's ministry. Smith Wigglesworth, he was a celebrated healing evangelist. And after praying for others to be healed, he would go home at night and roll on the floor in agony with kidney stones. Think about that. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who was called the prince of preachers, from London England, he died with gout before he was 60 years of age.
Jonathan Edwards was so nearsighted: when he read his great sermon, "Sinners in the hand of an angry God", the ink on the page rubbed off on his nose until his nose turned black. Get a picture of that. How do you think that would go over on television? Thousands came to Christ as a result of Jonathan Edwards' sermon that birthed a great spiritual awakening in America. Point: none of these ministers of the Gospel had their storms removed. They did not allow the storm to conquer them. They trusted in God to be their strength. He was their source of power. It was his grace that gave them the ability to endure and to be triumphant. They turned the world upside down with the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. And this generation can do the same thing.
King David was a prophet. He was a poet. He was a warrior statesman, who fought and won 18 wars in the defense of Israel. David was going through a day of trouble. When he was driven from his throne by his rebellious son, Absalom, king David fled from the City of Jerusalem, and he headed into the wilderness to a bitter and barren wasteland. He is walking across the northern edge of the wilderness of Judea and he's headed for the area of the Dead Sea. It's a depressing place. I have been there many times. Hot? It is hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell.
King David is away from the comforts of his magnificent palace. He's away from his family. He's away from comforts of his wealth and power. What did he miss most in this personal storm? What did he miss most in this personal storm? He puts his pen to parchment, and he writes for generations to come to read. Listen. Verse 2, "So I looked for you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory". What David missed most in the day of his storm was the joy of the Lord and the house of God. David writes, "I was glad when they said unto me, 'let us go to the house of the Lord'".
Sidebar here: when this health crisis is over (and we are going to get through this), I long to see the saints of God pack this empty church to the rafters and hear them sing the praises of God, and to feel the awesome power of the Holy Spirit in this place, because it's going to be a day of rejoicing when all of God's children get in this building. I'm looking forward to it. In the house of the Lord, there is refuge from the storms of life. In the house of the Lord, broken hearts are mended, burdens are lifted. Chains are broken by the champion of the cross.
In the house of the Lord, sick bodies are healed. We won't be wearing gloves. We won't be standing six feet away. In the house of the Lord, the garments of praise will replace the spirit of heaviness. Heaviness, in this verse, is depression. It's anxiety. In the house of the Lord, there's the presence of joy, joy that's unspeakable and full of glory, joy the world didn't give, and joy the world cannot take away. In the house of the Lord, there is grace and glory. There is might and majesty. There is hope for the hopeless. There is peace in the midst of the storm! And you can have that!
David writes verse 1: you are my God. "You are my God". Oh, that America could make that confession of faith right now. David, who guarded sheep under the stars, was saying to the 21st century, how can you look at the creation of God and deny the reality of God? The heavens declare the glory of the Lord. The sun, the moon, and the stars are celestial evangelists, who race across the heavens every 24 hours, speaking to all of humanity in every language: that there is an Almighty, all-knowing, ever-present God. He is the shepherd of the stars, because he called them by name. He holds the seven seas in the palms of his hand. He weighs the mountains in a scale and the hills in a balance. From everlasting to everlasting, he is God.
When I pray, the God of the Bible answers by fire. When I am lonely, he is the friend that sticketh closer than a brother. When I am sick, he is the great physician. When I am under attack, he is my high tower. He is the shelter in the time of the storm. In the day of battle, he is my fortress, my shield, my buckler. He is Jehovah Shammah, the Lord who is there. In the greatest storm of my life, he is walking toward me on the water in the midnight hour, shouting, "Fear not: it is I. I will never leave you nor forsake you even to the ends of the earth". That's the kind of God we serve, triumphant in the day of trouble!
Verse 2, "So I have looked for you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory". Think about it, "To see your power". The power of God makes the average church in America uncomfortable. But we need to release the power of God in the pulpits of this nation. The greatest need in America is to see the manifest power of the Lord in the church. You want to know why the young people are turning to the occult? Because it promises power. The Kingdom of God came with power. The Lord's prayer, "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory".
How did the New Testament church start? Acts 2: you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you. Jesus said to his disciples, "I give you power over demons, over disease, over death, over hell, and over the grave". Brother, that is a package of five that can shake the world. Where is Jesus now? He's seated at the right hand of God the Father, a position of power. How is he going to return? He's going to return in the clouds of heaven with power. How shall he rule the earth and his eternal kingdom? The Bible said he's going to rule it with a rod of iron. That means his word is the last word. The leaders of planet earth are going to go to Jerusalem and bow before the great, great grandson of king David, Jesus of Nazareth. And he is going to be King of kings and Lord of lords. And of his kingdom, there shall be no end! Thank you, God!
Verse 3: because thy loving kindness is better than life. How many of you've ever seen somebody, who was doing something they really enjoyed, and they said, "This is the life. Oh, I mean this is living"? The golfer makes a hole in one. He probably cheated, but this is the life. A fisherman goes out and catches a trophy fish: this is the life. A sports fan watching his or her team win the national championship, and they throw their hats and their bleacher seats, dressed up like absolute maniacs, and think this is the life. David said life is dear. But God's presence, his love, his anointing, his power is better than life.
The Bible says, "In him, we live, and move, and have our being". Remove his light, and we walk in the shadows of death in the midnight of apostasy. Remove his love, and life becomes as bitter as gal. Remove his hope. Hope is absolute depression, an endless night of darkness. Think of this: God has shared life with the lowest form of animal life. But his loving kindness has only been reserved for the righteous. His loving kindness is only reserved for the righteous. "Thy loving kindness", David said, "Is better than life". Verse 3: "My lips shall praise thee".
David is in the desert. He's alone. He is hot. It's desolate. It's bitter. It's barren. His response, "My lips shall praise you". "My lips shall praise you". Praise is not dependent on your feelings. Praise is not dependent on your emotions, your circumstances. Praise is not dependent even in a time of national crisis. Praise in an act of your will. It's an act of your will. Are you in the desert of your days? Are you going through a great storm? By an act of discipline, you need to learn to lift your hands and give God praise for this very day. If you are weary, if you are tired, if you are broken hearted, praise the Lord anyway.
Paul and Silas were in prison, beaten, bloody, by the Roman Empire, surrounded by rats and death and the stench of death. Their response: they sang in the midnight hour. And the angels of God danced around that jail. They walked out of that jail with the jail-house keys in one hand and a convert in the other hand, because they dared to praise God in the greatest storm of their life. Praise is a sacrifice. "By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise unto the Lord continually". "Continually", not just when things are good, but all the time. "For with such praises, God is well pleased".
Very few times in the Bible do you read something that says, "God is well pleased". But your praise pleases the Lord, because praise is God's address. The fact: a sacrifice cost you something, the sacrifice of praise. The sacrifice of praise cost you your ego, your pride, your arrogance.
I've had people, over the 62 years of ministry, say, "Well, I wonder what people will think if I lift my hands and praise the Lord". Let me tell you something: what does God think? What does God think? Are you a Father pleaser or a people pleaser? Is your ego so fragile that if you'll lift your hands to praise the God that gives you the breath of life, it reduces you somehow? Are you discouraged? Are you weary? Are you frightened? Are you overwhelmed by this national storm, national crisis?
Our God is a miracle-working God. Our God is a miracle-working God. He is going to bring us through this crisis. We are going to be more than conquerors in this crisis. There is a storm, but God Almighty is still on his throne, and everything is going to be alright! I want those of you, who are watching this telecast right now, just extend your hand toward me. And I want us to have a prayer together. I want you to repeat this prayer with me right now. While everyone gets settled, extend your hand toward the television.
Our Father, which art in heaven, I bless your holy name. I praise you for your loving kindness. I praise you for your mercy. I praise you for your amazing grace. I praise you that you are with us in this storm. I praise you for protecting me and my family in this national crisis. "No plague shall come nigh my dwelling". You are my hope. You are my defender. You are my deliverer. You are my great physician. Keep us safe until the storm passes by. Your loving kindness is better than life. In the name of Jesus, who is Christ and Lord, we say, amen.