Joseph Prince - Why Does God Allow Delays?
Today I wanna share with you about delay and what God is doing in our lives when there is a delay. Everyone say "delay". No one likes delay. Whether it's the Mass Rapid Transport, all right, Singapore's railway system for our international friends, whether it's a bus, whether it's waiting in line for an appointment, no one likes delay, amen? We don't like to wait. So why does God make us wait? We ask the question, "How come the manifestation has not yet come, Pastor Prince? Why are the chariots of his will so slow? What is happening? I look around me and I see people," there's a key word there, "see". "I see people getting their answers. I see even unbelievers getting their manifestation but when is mine coming"?
All right, by the grace of God, I want to answer that question today because I think that's where people lived, amen. And many a times, we are believing God for you to put your faith right now, according to Mark 11:24, "When you pray". When? "When you pray," all right? "Believe that you receive and you shall have," amen? So they are doing you a favor. Now, there are churches in the mainstream that don't believe in healing. So the responsibility to get the people well is off their shoulders. All they do is they make a sweeping statement saying, "God doesn't heal today," so that they are no longer accountable for people, all right, who are sick in the congregation. Not that we are accountable for every sick person, but the Bible does say that shepherds, all right, must feed and bind up the wounds of their sheep.
So if you say that God doesn't heal today, and you don't visit the sick and pray for their healing, all right, you are not doing them justice. And then you say, "We preach Jesus". Well, we preach Jesus also, the Jesus of the Bible, the Jesus of the Bible went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed of the devil. So the thing is that when you have out of ten cases, all right, in a church that believes in healing, and nine get healed, whether it's instantaneous or it comes through a process, nine get healed but one does not get healed, the devil will focus on the one that didn't get healed, but actually the one that didn't get healed, got more healed than anybody else. They got what we call total healing. "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord".
I said, for the believer, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So, instantaneously, they are more alive. It's very hard for us to understand this because we are in the encumbrance of human flesh, but actually if you are out of the flesh, you are more alive, you are the most healthy, and the strongest and the youngest you will ever be, amen? And that's the way you will stay forevermore. And not that you are unclothed all the time because the Bible says you will be clothed with a resurrected body when Jesus comes again. Even those who have gone on before will receive their bodies then. Are you hearing what I'm saying?
So even those who that we use the term, they didn't receive healing, let's say, all right, they passed on to be with the Lord, we don't have to always ask the question, "Why didn't get healed"? One day, we'll understand why on the other side. But the thing we can rejoice is that they received total healing. Now, we can cry. God will not disown us for crying. You can cry but we are crying for temporary separation, not for eternal separation. It's like a loved one, your son is 17, 18, he goes far away, you know, to study and all that. You miss his physical presence day by day, but he is not gone. He has relocated. And one day you will see him, amen? To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Can I have a good "Amen"?
And if you know the Lord, you know it's wonderful to be with him. In fact, Jesus prayed like this: "I pray," in the high priestly prayer in John 17, we eavesdrop into his prayer, all right? In John 17 we get to see what he prayed. He prayed, "Father, I will that those that you have given me be where I am, that they may behold my glory," amen? So what are they doing, our loved ones who have gone on before? Beholding his glory like you and I never can this side of heaven. So we are happy for them, aren't we? We can cry for ourself, but we are not crying for them, amen. If you hear what they say, they'll say, "Don't cry for me, Argentina," or "Singapora," all right? They are happy, happy, happy where they are. They will never, never be sad again, whereas you will be sad in this world, all right?
Now, so the thing is this. When we preach healing, all right, out of ten we have a number of people getting healed because we preach healing. But in a place where they say, "God doesn't heal anymore," all right, the statistics are almost zilch, zero, amen. People can get healed, yes, by accident, by the mercy of God, but many a times God wants faith, and faith comes by hearing the word about healing. So the thing is that do not allow people to penalize your church, amen, for preaching healing. In fact, you should be grateful and thankful that you have a church that preaches healing. In fact, many of you, you fall sick and then you recover very fast or you find that some of your colleagues of your same age are coming by sudden disease and you are not, amen. Or you got a disease and you got healed. It's because you are in a place where you are hearing the word of faith, the word of grace. Thank God.
I'm telling you that you are in a place where you are listening to the word of healing, the word of life. Or people will lose their lives, depending on which church they attend, amen? Not that it's wrong to die and go to heaven, because when you die, that's it, you are in the presence of the Lord. "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord," amen? We don't knock down churches that don't wanna preach on healing but we are just telling you, "Don't allow them to knock us down," amen? Don't allow them to discourage you. Don't allow them to make you feel bad. Don't allow them to tell you: How come this one didn't get healed. All right? They ask you that, you tell 'em, "I'll explain to you, you explain to me how come this..." You have your own testimonies. "How come all these people got healed? You tell me how they got healed, and I'll tell why this one didn't get healed," all right?
They'll probably not take up the challenge, okay? Because the devil is always pointing to one tree that you cannot eat when God has given you all the trees in the Garden to eat. So remember this always, church: Do not be a negative-minded person, amen? Whoever, for that matter, preaches, you need to listen to what God is saying to you, amen. Praise the Lord. So it's like the devil who come to you and a young person can also be the same. And when the devil comes to you and say, you know, "Look, I know you are smoking. I know you've been told by your loved ones not to smoke, but look, so many people who are smoking are old people". But what they don't show you is the one who is in the hospital now, coughing, coughing, and dying slowly, and so many of them, all right? He won't show you all these pictures, amen? He will show you the one, that one person, who survive to an old age to get many to fall.
So make sure that you have an eye for the good, amen? Have an eye for the good. Praise the name of Jesus. Even our government, we have a very good government. We live in a very good country. Wealthy people want to stay here, and number one reason? A wonderful country, people respect each other, all right? It's safe. They say it's safe. You can walk down the street, you can even jog at night, amen. Even the dogs come out at night, and these are not wild dogs. You know, the thing is that why are we trying to find fault all the time and making something small into something big? Praise God. John 11: "Therefore the sisters sent to Jesus".
Now, who are the sisters? Mary and Martha. All right, Mary and Martha love the Lord Jesus, and the Lord Jesus love Mary and Martha and their brother, Lazarus. In Hebrew, Eleazar, all right? And they sent to Jesus, they sent a message. In other words, they didn't come to Jesus; they sent a messenger, and the message was this: "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick". Very smart, isn't it? They didn't say, "Lazarus is sick". They say, "He whom You love". That's very smart. "He whom You love". What a way to appeal to the Lord. "He whom You love". You see, these are people who are experts in divine relationship. The Lord loved to be with them. In fact, the Bible says Jesus lived with them. Jesus felt very much at home in this Bethany. Bethany, like Bethlehem, Beth-esda, Bethesda, Bethlehem, means house. Beth means house. So Beth-any means house of the poor.
Isn't it wonderful that Jesus loved to hang out in the house of the poor? All right, the prince loved to hang out in the house of the poor, and he was born poor. I know that there are teachings that says that he was rich, you know, he grew up rich and all that. You know, I really believe that the Bible tells us very clearly that when Mary offered the sacrifice for her newborn child, she offered turtledoves. Now, the rich would bring a bullock. The average income would bring a lamb. But the poor and the very poor would bring pigeons, a pair of pigeons, or doves. Mary brought doves. That tells us that the royal family of David had declined to such an extent when Jesus came, all right? They were poor.
And for me, I do not know about you, you know, when Jesus grew up, let me tell you this. He who put all the gold and diamonds and sapphires in place, he who created all the galaxies and the universe, he had all the choice to step into any palace on earth he wanted to. But he chose a smelly manger. He's the only child who can choose where to be born, in which family to be born into, but he chose this family. He chose to be born in Bethlehem, a small obscure town, okay, of shepherds. He chose to be born in that smelly manger. I love it. To me, I just love it. It makes me love the Lord Jesus. What about you? That's why he loved to be in Bethany, you understand, amen?
And by the way, just to let you know that when he rose from the dead, the place where he ascended, from Mount of Olives, read carefully. He led them as far as Bethany, and then from there he went up. It's almost like the spot that gave him the most comfort, all right, he feels like this is heaven on earth for him, was the spot where he ascended after he rose from the dead. So let's make Jesus feel at home in our homes. Let's make Jesus feel welcome in our hearts, amen? You know how he feels welcome? Listen, when you depend on him, when you talk to him.
If I stay with you, you say, "Pastor Prince, come over to my place. I've got a lot of rooms and all that," and I went over to your place, you don't even talk to me, even your dog talk to me. But you don't talk to me for days, all right? At least the dog bark at me, all right? And your domestic servant talks to me, all right? Your children talk to me but you don't talk to me. It's a matter of time I will feel... I won't feel welcome. Even though I'm in your home. So Paul prayed in Ephesians that "I pray for the believers," they are already believers. He prayed that "Christ may dwell in your heart". And the word there in the Greek, Christ will feel at home in your heart, amen? So talk to him. He's there with you. When you're about to undertake a task, say, "Lord, this is your problem, not mine". He loves that. He loves for you to acknowledge that you cannot but he can. Can I have a good "Amen"?
That reminds me of a testimony I want to share real quick before I go on. This testimony just came in, and this lady, she wants to remain anonymous, from South Dakota, US. "I'm a 37-year-old whose heart has been renewed by God. I'm a daughter of a preacher and was raised under legalistic teaching. I always saw God as another authority figure in my life who loved to point out my mistakes. As a result, my eyes became set on what this world could do for me. After getting pregnant in high school and two failed marriages, I started to assume that that was life. I suffered a major seizure when my second marriage fell apart and I lost my job. I thought I would die, but my sister-in-law gave me your book, 'Unmerited Favor.'" So, she's a daughter of a preacher. "Frankly, I wasn't looking forward to reading the book at all. However, I read it just so to shut my sister-in-law up".
Some of you know what that means. "But after the second chapter, something started to sink in. I began repeating, 'I am righteous in Christ,' even though that was so far from how I felt at that moment. As I continued reading, I knew changes were happening in me. I started to see what Daddy God was all аbout: peace, love, faith, truth, and most of all, forgiveness. Since then, I have truly asked Christ to take over my heart and life and people who have known me for a number of years could see a difference in me. Today, I am delivered from my 2-year addictions". Listen. "Today, I am delivered from my 2-year addictions to alcohol and cigarettes. And all I did was just repeating to the Lord, 'I can't, but you can.'" When you take a cigarette, "I can't, but you can".
Keep on saying that. Keep on, you know, he loves that. That's how he feels at home in your life, amen? It is not just that he's there to command you to do things. No, he's not commanding you because you will still be doing things in your own strength which you don't have, all right? No, he wants you to lean on his strength, lean on his breast, his love for you, amen? Let him carry you. "God is also restoring to me all the precious things I'd lost seven times more. The overwhelming sense of peace has been the greatest. Sometimes, I also feel Daddy God taking time to tell me he's thinking of me. Now I watch Pastor Prince just about every day and if I miss reading my Bible or watching the sermons, I feel like I am missing something. One last thing: God also gave me a wonderful new job about 2 years ago with the County Attorney. Thank you, Pastor Prince, for allowing God to speak through you. God bless you".
To God be all the praise and all the glory, amen, church? Isn't God wonderful? That's the power of grace. Now, this are the sisters of Bethany. They had more intelligence, spiritually, than Mary of Magdala, Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene, Jesus cast seven devils out of her. She loved the Lord Jesus. But the difference between this Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, and Mary Madala, Mary Magdalene, is that Mary Magdalene turn up on the third day with spices to anoint the body of Jesus. So while her heart loved Jesus, her heart loved Jesus, her head didn't understand much. She didn't have spiritual intelligence. She expected the Lord to be dead. And time and time again, the Lord said he will rise from the dead. Our Lord Jesus has risen, Lord of all, amen?
But you see, she even thought he was a gardener when she met him and says, you know, "Come tell me where you have laid him and I'll come and take him away". Love doesn't speak reason. She alone, "take him away". But that's the language of love. So, there's no doubt, her heart, she loved the Lord, and the Lord knew that, and the Lord responded. She was the first woman to see Jesus risen from the dead, all right? No doubt. But her intelligence, her spiritual intelligence, wasn't really there, compared to Mary of Bethany, because Mary of Bethany wasn't there that morning. There were a few other Marys, by the way. There are a few Marys in the Bible. It's a popular name. But Mary of Bethany is not there. Isn't that interesting? Why? Because she did the one thing needful: She sat at Jesus's feet. She knew he was gonna rise again. He told her so.
Martha was too busy to listen, but Mary told Martha later on, "Don't have to go. He's not there". She's the only one that wasn't there. Even Peter and John ran to see whether he was there, all right? But she wasn't here. That's spiritual intelligence. So that family is amazing. Anyway, all right, when Jesus was walking on earth, a tragedy struck: the brother died. Lazarus was dying at this point in time. "When Jesus heard that, He said, 'This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.'" Next,"Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus".
Now, whoa, what a strange thing, you know, is that this guy is dying, all right? And they told Jesus about it, and the Bible says, "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus". Watch this: "So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was". Did you hear that? "So," emphasis. "So, when He heard that," the one that he loved is sick, "So when He heard that, He stayed". The reason he stayed is because he heard that. Now, do you see that so far? In other words, "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that..." In other words, you must know whatever he's delaying for, he's delaying because he loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Because he loved, he delayed. No, you're missing something. Ah, come on, come on, church. The reason why you have that verse, in verse 5, "Now Jesus loved Martha, the sister and Lazarus," all right?
Then there's, "So, when He heard," he delayed, that means the reason he delayed is because he loved them. But Lazarus died. Do you understand? So, in a way that we cannot fully understand, okay, in this story we know that Jesus went, Lazarus was dead 4 days when Jesus raised him from the dead, okay? Jesus revealed, "I am the resurrection and the life". So there's no death for the believer, okay? But for their sakes, Jesus delayed. Jesus delayed so that they would have a greater revelation of him than anybody else because they got a revelation, "I am the resurrection and the life". This is amazing, people. He says, "I am the resurrection," before he says, "I am the life". We would think, first you live life, then you go to the grave, then comes the resurrection, right? Life, then the resurrection. Jesus says, "No, your life begins with the resurrection".
You see, right now, you are a resurrected spirit in an unresurrected body. So you can never die. Death is behind you already. Now, your heart may stop beating before Jesus comes, okay? Many of us, we are going up, all right? But some of us, our heart stop beating, all right, you didn't die. The world will say you died. You didn't die. You changed locations. Because you died already. You died in the death of Jesus. The death of Jesus on the cross, all right, was the death that killed all death and it came from the deathless Savior, huh? The day death died, all right? That's a beautiful day, hallelujah. Jesus rose from the dead. He cannot die again. So the Bible says: "Reckon yourself raised from the dead". So right now, you must think of yourself on this side of heaven, all right, though your feet is planted on earth, you are a resurrected being in an unresurrected body. And one day, you will have a brand new body whether it is after your heart stop, or if Jesus comes, you're still alive, you will have a brand new body. Straightaway and forevermore you shall be. Can I have a good "Amen"?
So they had a revelation. So if the Lord delays, there is a revelation of him that he wants you to have that nobody else can have. There is a law of compensation or better known as restoration in the Bible. When the Bible says when something is restored, when God restores something to you, God did not steal it from you, but God will restore it for you, all right? I have a whole teaching on that, restoration. When God restores, it's always greater in quantity or greater in quality, all right? Like, for example, you lost a wife or lost your husband, okay? Or lost a child, God does not give you ten wives, but God give you a tenfold wife and a better husband, even, you know? You know what I'm saying? Or a better child. The next child will have a sevenfold quality.
Remember this: that David, because of his sin with Bathsheba, they had a baby out of "legal" means, all right? He committed adultery with Bathsheba and he was the king, and because of his sin, that baby died. Now, David had 18 sons recorded for us in the Bible. Eighteen sons. But the Bible says David's response was to worship the Lord when he heard the baby died. He worshiped the Lord. And the Bible says, we have a Scripture that says he worshiped the Lord, David. "He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord". The moment he heard the baby's dead, he worshiped the Lord.
Let's drop down. Verse 21: "His adviser says, 'What are you doing,'" all right? "David says, 'I have suffered and wept while the child was alive, perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.'" Next. "'But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I'll go to him one day.'" All children go to heaven. "So David says, 'I'll go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.' Then David comforted Bathsheba," now, it's a legal wife. "His wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child".
Because he's a child of restoration. He's a child born out of loss with a good response. Instead of being bitter, he worshiped the Lord. He got better, and the next child was Solomon, amen? Don't forget, he has 18 sons and 1 daughter, but of all the sons and many wives and concubines, God chose the one, Bathsheba, and the next child was Solomon. What I'm saying is that even when you have lost, you haven't lost. Watch this. "So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was". Obviously, there is a delay that we don't fully understand, but it culminated in a revelation.
Now, there's another thing. Like if you're asking, "Pastor, I've been praying. I've been praying for this, and I know God wants me to have this. It's in his Word. You have preached on it, pastor, but I see it in the Word. But where is the manifestation"? David sometimes says, "Has God forgotten his mercies? Why is he so slow? Have you forgotten me"? Well, Abraham felt that way too, isn't it? Abraham, when God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, which is the present-day Babylon area, Iraq, when God called him out, "I'll show you a land," God says, "and I'll make of you," what? A great nation.
How can you have a nation without posterity, right? So God promised him, from that day God promised him that God will make him a great nation when he didn't even have a baby, and Sarah had always been barren even in her young age. And now she is 65 at that time, and he was 75 when he departed to go to the land of Canaan. Well, the Lord told him... he wasn't perfect, was he? But God called him, you know, and, think about it, if you were in Abraham's shoes, you waited year after year for your manifestation. God Almighty appeared to you. In fact, Stephen in his address in Acts 7 in the book of Acts, he said this. "The God of glory," I like that. "The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham".
When God appeared, God appeared to Abraham as the God of glory. I'm sure there was an amazing light effusing out of him, his being, his presence when God said, "I'll make of you a great nation". And yet month after month Sarah would cry. Week become months, months become years, years become a decade. Even a decade passed and all these things going on. Please I'm talking about you and you believing God and you asking the question why. Because you are special. Because Abraham was special. Abraham was special. He looked around. He looked at the Philistines, Philistines wives walking around. Another one walking with wheelbarrow. He looked around everywhere he went, every city he went. He went to Egypt. There are Egyptian women walking around being carried, you know, left and right by servants and slaves because they are so pregnant. Some of them are triplets, quadruplets, sextuplets, and they are just so full. And these are heathens. And Abraham saw all this and Abraham says, "The God of glory appeared to me".
And it's not recorded for us how many times Sarah would tell him, "What's happening, Abraham? Are we missing God"? Now, I want to tell you something about the devil. The devil would turn your times of delay, all right, of non-manifestation into times of questioning God. If your faith is such that you say, "I know my God. Though he slay me like Job, yet will I trust him". All right? If your faith is like that, then he would do the other approach. Something wrong with you then. There must be some sin in your life. There must be something you did maybe in the past, all right, that is now haunting you, that is now affecting this whole thing. You know there's nothing wrong with God, right? There's something wrong with you. Something wrong with your wife. Something wrong with your parents. Either you accuse at the drop of a hat. Every time something happens like this, he would do his very best to make sure you come under condemnation, 'cause condemnation is something that will cause you to repeat that behavior. We touched on that last week.
I want to share with you something that just came in, and I know it's going to bless you when you hear this. It's from a lady called Kimberly from California, United States. She says, "I started reading 'Destined to Reign' around six months ago, and my life has not been the same since. I grew up learning about faith for years, but I've never heard of the grace message until now. I run a ministry in Southern California, and I'm also the chaplain for a women's conservation fire camp. This fire camp is also a corrections facility that houses female prisoners. The Lord led me to share directly out of the book to the women at the camp".
So this woman is a chaplain in this, to all these women prisoners in this camp, and she says that, "God is using this message, among others that you have preached, to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. Physical healings are taking place. Wrong mindsets are being changed. The women are also experiencing freedom from addictions and their hurting lives are also being transformed by his great love". These are prisoners. Isn't it wonderful? "I am truly grateful for your obedience to speak the truth of his unconditional love and the abundance of his grace. May the Lord continue to bless you and this ministry in great abundance. You are truly making a difference," she says. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus.
And that's what... you know, I believe that many are watching my program on television. Even in those camps or those corrections facilities, they are watching. Many are saved, responding. We know of people who are saved watching. To God be the glory. You know, books can go where I can't. DVDs and CDs can also do that. So I believe these inventions are from God. So here was Abraham, the delay, and the voice of the enemy, the accuser comes in, the condemnation comes in. All right? "You must have done something wrong. You delayed. That's the reason why". All right? When God told him to go to Canaan, he did delay, by the way. He brought his father along. God says, "Leave your house behind". Because the father was an idolater, all right? "Leave everything behind. Just you and your wife go".
And he brought his father Terah along, and Terah... the father's name Terah means delay in Hebrew. And he brought Lot along, okay? And Lot was a lot of trouble. And God waited until Terah died. When the father died, when delay died, then he made his move. By then when he came into Canaan, all right, there was a famine already. The timing was bad, all right? It was Abraham's fault in the sense, but God was still with Abraham. And he went down to Egypt. Instead of staying where God told him, he went down to Egypt. Had he not gone down to Egypt, he wouldn't have the problem of lying to Pharaoh about his wife. And when Pharaoh rewarded him later on, all right, out of fear of God, he came out with Hagar, an Egyptian slave. That would never have happened.
So nonetheless he made wrong decisions, but did God leave him alone? Is it because of the wrong decisions that the baby was delayed? No. God was going to give him a revelation of himself that all the hidden women that walk around pregnant will never know. I find, ladies who are believing God for a baby, let me tell you this. I find that in the Bible ladies who are barren, when they believe God and some of them long delays before they conceived, they always bring forth champions. They always bring forth champions. Sarah brought forth Isaac, amen. Manoah brought forth Samson in their old age, amen? Zechariah, his wife Elizabeth, the first two names you find in the New Testament, Zechariah, zakhar yah. Zechariah means God, Yahweh remembers. Elizabeth, Eli sheva means God's promise.
God remembers his promise and brought forth grace, John, in their old age, in their old age. When the child is born out of faith... now most of the rest of them, they just, all right, get together, boom. Imagine a Philistine pass by. "What do you call upon your God? Pray to your God. Pray to your God". Huh? How do you think Abraham felt? Abraham looked at that, wondering, "They are getting manifestations". Are they? Abraham, you don't know. You don't see their hearts. Yes, they have the physical thing, but that child is not a champion. Your child will be. I said your child will be. When the child comes, wow, what a champion, amen? You know how long Abraham waited? You know how long Abraham waited until finally Isaac came? And during this time you know what he did? He did his best. You know, he listened to his wife. The wife says, "It looks like God doesn't want me to bear anymore".
I mean, she literally said, "God has restrained me from bearing. So why don't you go to my servant girl"? Abraham says okay. Abraham went to the servant girl, and then got Ishmael from the servant girl. After that, you know, Sarah came complaining because now Hagar is proud. The maiden girl who got pregnant by her master Abraham is proud, looking at her mistress saying, "Mm-hmm". All right? And now Sarah came to Abraham and says, "It's your fault. My wrong be on you". You know, and say, "Now you blame me"? You know. And then imagine all the quarrel they went through. All the while Abraham is saying, "Where is your promise, God? Where is your promise? What happened to your promise, Lord"? Are you in that place? You know how long he waited? Twenty-four years.
♪ Twenty-four years ♪
♪ Twenty-four years ♪
♪ Just waiting ♪
♪ For a chance to tell her ♪
♪ How I love her ♪
♪ And maybe get ♪
♪ A second glance ♪
♪ But now I got to get used ♪
♪ To not living ♪
♪ Next door to Alice ♪
♪ Twenty-four years ♪
♪ Twenty-four years ♪
♪ Just waiting ♪
♪ For a chance to tell her ♪
♪ How I love her ♪
♪ And maybe get ♪
♪ A second glance ♪
♪ But now I got to get used ♪
♪ To not living ♪
♪ Next door to Alice ♪
♪ Twenty-four years ♪
That's an old song, by the way. You all wouldn't know, okay, this generation, all right? I sound so young, praise God. Anyway, 24 years, that's how long he waited for old Abe. But when the boy came, hallelujah, he was a champ. And during this time just before the boy came, you know what God did? You know the story. He went down to this place in a Philistine area, and Abimelech, which is the title of the Philistine king, saw Sarah, and this time Sarah was about 90 years old. In other words, if God makes you wait, God is a God who restores. If God makes you wait, God will keep you young. If God makes you wait, God will do something to your body that other women do not have. Because when she was 90 years old, something happened to Sarah's body. She was beautiful that even a heathen king... and don't forget heathen kings go by their eyesight. They have no spiritual discernment.
So God literally changed the physical beauty of Sarah, make her young again, amen? And there was something else that the devil accused them of to stop them from ministering, because God's people always love to minister. Grace takes the thief and makes him a giver. Isn't that amazing? Ephesians tells us that. Ephesians says, "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need". So it's not just stop stealing. The law says stop stealing. Thou shall not steal. But don't make you a positive blessing. That don't make you a positive blessing. But grace takes you from a thief and makes you a giver, amen? Oh, wait with this idea. "All right, shall we sin more that grace may abound"?
No, man. If you understand all this careless and these oft-thrown phrases like, "Oh, you're making gospel so easy, you know". Look at what the Bible says happen to a sinner when grace touches them. These people who bring up these questions, they have never come under the elevating and sanctifying influences of grace because when you experience grace, it elevates you, it sanctifies you, it makes you a prince, amen. There's one thing about Jesus when he walked. He walked among the poor. There was that princely air. There was that kingly authority. It was like royalty walking among the poor. You see, if you and I, we go to, let's say, a remote place where poverty is rampant and we see a 14-year-old boy and he carries himself like a prince, we probably think he's lost. But if we find all of a sudden he is actually a citizen of the small, you know, escarpment one corner where he lives in this broken down wooden roofing, little, you know, squatters area, you'd be shocked. "From when did he get..."
Then you start thinking. He's probably, his DNA is probably that of a royalty. Now, that's what happened to Jesus when they looked at him, and that should happen to you out there in your workplace. People need to sense, "I'm in the presence of a princess, the presence of a prince". Amen, amen? I'm not saying you walk around, "Kiss my fingers. Kiss my ring". That's pride, stinking pride, and God hates pride. God raises proud, but God gives grace to the humble. Let's look at the story in Genesis 20. "So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children".
Interesting. The first mention of healing in the Bible. Every time something is mentioned for the first time in the Bible, there's something significant for us to learn. This is the first time healing is mentioned, and it says Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech. Then his family and him bore children. "For the Lord had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife". Abimelech got hold of this beautiful 90-year-old and wanted to marry, I mean, wanted her part of his harem, but God stopped him from touching her, and then God appeared to him in a dream and God says, "You're a dead man". He say, "Oh, I didn't know she was another man's wife".
"You better restore the man his wife. He's a prophet. He will pray for you and you will live, or else you will die," okay? Then he was so afraid. And look, Abraham prayed for what? For God to heal Abimelech in which area? "For the Lord had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech". He is praying for open wombs when his wife is not even pregnant for years. So the devil will try to make you feel like a hypocrite, but therein lies God's wisdom. When you don't have the manifestation, find somewhere and bless someone else with it, pray for someone else, pray for a blessing on someone. See what happened in the next chapter. I put it down there because it's all one continuous flow.
All right. The next chapter says, "And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken". And why is it that this verse comes right after he prayed for the open wombs? Pray tell me, why do you think that is so? God wants you to know, do not stop praying for the sick even when you are sick, do not stop ministering to people even when you don't have that manifestation, amen. You don't have to tell them, all right, before you pray, all right? Just like a doctor might not say, "Hey, I'm a trainee, you know. Okay, I'm going to cut you up. Okay". No one will do that, isn't it? All right? But God's wisdom is such for the minister God will say, all right, pray in the area of your need. The devil will tell you, "How can you? You are a hypocrite". Are you listening, people?
Twenty-four years. He start praying. I don't know whether God used him to pray for anybody else, but it's amazing. Maybe he was under accusation, I do not know. But one thing I do know, when he started praying for open wombs, his wife's womb opened. Sometimes we are so self-absorbed, "My healing, my healing, my manifestation, my child's manifestation, my family, my family," that God wants to break out of that self-occupation and start getting involved in praying for other people. If you are in a clinic, start praying for people that you see around you. Pray for that child. Pray for that lady. Pray for that man. Start praying, amen? And you also find your own stress level, your worry level, anxiety level just drops. Start praying for others, and God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.
What the devil will tell you is that it's your fault something is happening because of this delay. It's your fault. No, my friend. Listen, in the Old Testament even, all right, like Abraham's story, it wasn't because of Abraham's sin. Are you listening? God waited until Abraham could not, and then when Isaac came, all the glory goes to God. God waited until Abraham could not. But the thing is this. There was a lesson. When Abraham finally received his manifestation, listen, God told him, "I'll multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand on the seashore". And today, when you look around, look, look, look, all this is the seed of Abraham. Abraham has more seeds than all those Egyptian women walking around, amen, all the Philistine women walking around pregnant. Abraham today, we are called sons of Abraham. Best of all, Abraham started learning about who God is, his wonderful person, that all these other people never got to know.
Sometimes in the delay is a revelation, and because he loves you, he delays so that you have a revelation that others don't have. Those heathen never knew the revelation that Abraham had. Isn't it wonderful? Another story, the story of Joshua and Caleb. You all know the story of Joshua and Caleb. You know, what happened was this. They were told by God they were on the brink, after many days of wandering, they came to the borders of Kadesh-barnea, the entrance to the Promised Land, okay? They could have gone to the Promised Land. But before they did that, they came to Moses, all right, to say, "Moses, let us go and see the land, whether it's good land, bad land, what kind of land is it". Now, actually, they didn't have to do that. God already told them, "I have given you the land". But God always comes down sometimes to people's weakness, to help people, but you must know it's not God's will that Moses sent 12 spies, all right?
I have no time to show you all the scriptures. They actually asked Moses to send spies. They came to Moses. See, God's Word is enough, but they said, "Moses, let us send spies, all right, to see whether the land is good or bad". So they sent the 12 spies, and each of the spies are actually representative leaders of the 12 tribes, of which are Joshua and Caleb. They spy out the land, for 40 days they spy out the land. And finally they came back and Moses saw, as they came back, there was these two guys holding a pole, one in front, one behind, holding a pole, and in the center was a huge cluster of grapes. Many years ago I saw this, and I saw the red grapes, and I saw how Jesus on that pole was the grapes that was crushed, so that the blood will bring us into the Promised Land, all right? And he was between two thieves, remember that?
So anyway, the two spies brought the fruit of the land, and they told Moses, "Look, Moses. Mo, the land is really good, all right? It is really, really good land. Look at the huge produce. But Moses, there were giants in the land. There are tons of ana," all right? "They were anakims, they were tall, and they had huge walls. They had a mighty fortress, and it's impenetrable. We were so small. We were like grasshoppers". And all the people heard that, and they took their eyes off the grapes, they took their eyes off the blessings, they took their eyes... by the way, there was all pomegranates and other blessings. They took their eyes off all that, and they only heard what the ten spies said. The two spies, Joshua and Caleb, says, "Guys, hold it steady. God said, 'Let us take up at once.' Let's take the land. If God said it, God will bring us in. And these giants, they are bread for us". Did he say that? "They are bread for us".
Isn't that amazing? They are roti. They are chapati, lah. They are curry puffs, for Singaporean. What do you do with all this food? Eat. We will eat up our difficulties. There's a difficulty? It's not gonna eat us. The ten says, "It's gonna eat us". The two said, "We're gonna eat it," amen? Unfortunately, the majority listen to the majority. They listen to the testimony of the ten, number of law. They listen to the ten spies, and they said, "We cannot take the land". They started crying. And they cried really bad. They mourned and they cried, and God heard, and the Bible says God said to Moses, "Moses, they have said they cannot enter the land. As they have spoken in my ears, so will I do to them. For each day that they spy out the land, 40 days, they will wander for 1 year," so it became 40 years. However, God said, "My servant, Joshua and Caleb, who said, 'They are bread for us. Let us go up at once. Our God is with us.'"
In the testimony of the ten, God's name is not mentioned. In Joshua and Caleb, they spoke a few sentences, but God is in their mouth. You see, in all the things that you go through, remember this. Put God in your consideration. Your friend can say, "Yeah, but not this, huh, I see you, the world's like this. No, the economy is right now". You can just say two words. "But God". But God, amen? They sold Joseph into slavery. All kinds of things happened, then Joseph said, "But God sent me here". Say "But God". It changes everything, amen? Amen, are you listening, people?
All right, so they wandered for 40 years, but guess who wandered with them? Joshua and Caleb. Imagine if you are Joshua, imagine if you are Caleb, and you have to wander. It's not your fault. It's this joker's fault. So, like it or not, when God said that to the nation of Israel, Joshua and Caleb were exempted, isn't it? All right? But they wandered with the people for 40 years. And you say, "There goes. Delay, 40 years is no joke, Pastor Prince. You grow older with them". That's the amazing thing. Joshua and Caleb never grew old. The rest of the 40 years generation, all right, 20 and above, all grew old. They all died. Joshua and Caleb, though they went down to the level of the assembly, suffered in a sense being with them, but God is faithful. God says, "For all those years of delay, I'll act as if from that day onwards you stopped growing old".
Flash forward, they're now into the land, 40 years advanced, they are now, they crossed the River Jordan. They shouted, the walls of Jericho fell down, under the leadership actually, technically speaking, of a senior, Joshua. Joshua's now probably about, my goodness, he's about 80, 80-plus. You don't lead people as a captain when you are even 80, 70. Obviously, he was strong. Joshua was strong. And the walls came down. They conquered city after city. Then finally, there was a place called Hebron. It's a place to be desired. And Caleb stepped up, and Caleb says, "Joshua, do you remember 45 years ago, all right, God promised me? Now, I'm telling you, Joshua, you had your fights, now give me this mountain as my inheritance".
I love it. You know how old was he, Caleb? Eighty-five. Let's follow what he says, okay? Listen, the New Living Translation. "I was forty years old," Caleb is talking. "I was forty years old," yo, "when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God". So how old was he? Forty years old, all right? Next, "So that day Moses solemnly promised me, 'The land of Canaan on which you were walking will be your grant of land and that your descendants forever.'"
Let's drop down to 10. "'Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive and well,'" I love that. "Who kept him alive and well? Cosmetics. This is from the latest from Brazil, from the Amazon wonders. It is very expensive, I know, but it will make your skin glow". I'm not against all that, okay? There are doctors here who are plastic surgeons and all that. You are doing a great job. Thank God. Thank you for making the world beautiful. Thank you very much. I'm just telling you that this did not happen to him. He said clearly, "The Lord kept me". The desert is a terrible place. No matter how much moisturizer you put, no matter how much of sunblock you put, in the desert you grow old, man, all right? It's like, you move your face, your face take a long time to flap over here. You know what I'm saying? That's a desert face for you, all right? Your skin looks like goatskin water bottle, you know what I'm saying? You know what it is? It's very tough.
So the Lord kept me. The glory goes to God. You know something? God looked down and God says, "Joshua and Caleb will have to travel with them under this 40 years". But you know what? It's as if they never go through the 40 years. They stop growing old then. So if there's a delay somewhere, God will compensate. God will restore. Plus, with revelation that your friends who have it earlier never had. And you will know God in a way, c'mon, people, c'mon, are you hearing what I'm saying? All right, let's finish what he says. "'The Lord has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise, even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. I'm as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey.'"
These people don't tell lies, okay? They are people under the law, by the way. Lying, they know, is a sin. Caleb is not a liar, he's a man of God. "I as..." say "as strong". "'I'm as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey.'" Never grew old. Never grew weaker. "'So, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then.'" Ha, ha, ha. "And I can still travel and fight, y'all". Verse 12, "'So give me the hill country.' So Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave Hebron to him". After he finished talking, they "Give me this country," there was a country of Hebron. In the King James, "Give me this mountain". Imagine, 85 years old talking like that. "Give me this mountain," and people, listen, we are under grace. They have a covenant in a sense, all right, that's based on the blood of bulls and goats. We have a covenant based on the superior blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. How much more can you be kept alive and well?
Yes, there is a delay, but God will restore that with a lot of blessings added to it, and revelation of the Lord like no one else will have. Give Jesus the praise, amen? Let me just finish this, all right? Hebrews 6, the last passage. I won't expound, I'll just read, okay? "That you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and... faith and... faith and... imitate those," like Abraham, like Joshua and Caleb. "Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because God could swear by no one greater, God swore by Himself". Drop down, "Saying, 'Surely blessing I'll bless you, and multiplying I'll multiply you.'" So even though God swore to bless him, "And so, and after he had patiently endured," he still had to patiently endure.
So God swore, but he still had to patiently endure. "He obtained the promise," after, the promise didn't come. He didn't obtain, only after he patiently endured. My friend, I know you are patiently enduring. The word endure here, makrothumia, is a word that's used for macaroni, long temper. Literally mean long spirit, long temper. That means you don't have a short temper, all right? You are cheerful. Another word is hupomone, which is cheerful endurance.
Sometimes a delay helps us to feel more for people, 'cause many of us, we have talents, you know, like, I read this story of this English vocal teacher and he discovered this young girl, "Whose voice," he described, "is well near perfect. Her pitch, her tone, her voice is amazing. Near perfect," he says. And he was so glad he found such a prodigy that he trained her as much as he can until he felt he could not train her anymore, and he brought her personally to Paris at that time, where the Swiss master of vocal teachers, all right, Swiss master, famous Swiss master was there, to see what he can do with her, what more he can do with her. So, she sang in front of him, and the English teacher went to the Swiss master and says, "What do you think? What did I tell you"? He says, "Yes, she sings great". Then he says, "Is there anything you think she lacks"? He says, "One thing, a broken heart".
You see, one thing about us is that we can sing the songs based on our gift. When it comes out of a broken heart, that's when it goes into people's broken hearts, and the healing begins. They can be a preacher who preaches because of knowledge, they can be a preacher who preaches because of revelation, and a heart has been touched by God. C'mon, people, so your delay is not rejection. Your delay is not because of your sin. It will come. Though it tarry, wait for it. Be imitators of those who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises, amen? And best of all, you'll look back and say, "I'll have it no other way". Congratulations on your manifestation. It's on its way. Praise God, amen.
Every head bowed, every eye closed all across this place. Friend, if you are here today, in a while's time I'm gonna pray for you for this coming week, and I believe God will hear our prayer. He will place you at the right place at the right time. He will protect and preserve you and your family. I believe it's vital that we do this. Once a while I hear of people that, you know, all of a sudden they're knocked down by a car. I feel too young to die, but then we're in a fallen world. We cannot take things for granted, especially never take God for granted. That's why prayer's important. When you pray, God answers. We activate the covenant. I'm gonna pray for you, but before that if you are here, friend, and you've never made Jesus Christ your personal Savior and personal Lord, I wanna give you this opportunity.
Friend, all that I've shared just now is because of the cross. Because of Jesus dying for us on the cross. You see, God is holy, perfectly holy. Because God is holy, God cannot pass over anything. But God is also grace, perfect grace. And because God is grace, what he cannot pass over, he can forgive. He can blot out every single thing. And that's exactly what God did in the cross. In the cross, God took all our sins of our entire life, based on his knowledge, not based on my limited knowledge.
You cannot say, "I live up to the dictates of my conscience as best as I can". No, your conscience cannot come up to the level of God's knowledge. God cannot lower his claims to the level of your conscience. If you are to be forgiven, you are to be forgiven based on his knowledge of all your sins, and that's exactly what happened when Jesus died on the cross. His death was a substitutionary death on our behalf. He died in our place, in our stead. He knew no sin, did no sin. In him is no sin. We sinned, but Christ died in our place. The judgment for our sins fell on Jesus.
Now, God is holy, God must not pass over anything, and God did not. Every single sin of our lives, based on the perfect knowledge of God, was punished at the cross. And now, we can stand in the presence of perfect holiness with an uncondemned conscience and a liberated heart, knowing that sin can never be imputed to us because God has forgiven us in the full knowledge of our sins and the full knowledge of how the cross of Jesus Christ has fully met all the claims of divine holiness.
So, friend, have you received what Christ has done? If not, I'd like to lead you in this prayer, and Christ will come into your life. You will experience abundant life, and if the time should come, if Jesus should tarry, your heart stops beating, it's not death, it's falling asleep. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. All sins forgiven. Terror, fear is not in your future. They're in your past. They all passed away at the cross. If you wanna pray that prayer right now to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, pray this prayer with me right now. All those watching by way of television, pray this prayer. Say:
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your great love for me, for sending your Son Jesus Christ to die on that cross for all my sins. All my sins are forgiven, not based on my knowledge, but based on your perfect knowledge. So I thank you, Father, that all my sins have been forgiven based on a righteous foundation, the blood of Jesus Christ shed for me. Thank you, Father God, and you raised Jesus from the dead. Thank you, Father, Jesus Christ is my Lord. All my sins are forgiven, I'm greatly blessed and highly favored, in Jesus's name (and all the people said), amen, amen, amen, amen.