Joseph Prince - The Key To Robust Faith
All right, they limited the Holy One of Israel. This is a phrase that I feel that the Lord has put in my spirit that has happened to so many of us. We have become natural. We are God's people, yet we become natural. Psalms 78 says, "The people of Israel," pertaining to their experience in the wilderness, "they, again and again they tested God, and they limited the Holy One of Israel". They limited the Holy One of Israel. God is able to do so many things, but we limit him. We limit him because of what we hear other people say. We limit him because of false doctrines that has crept into the church. We limit him because of human natural experience. We limit the Holy One of Israel. God is unlimited, amen.
Now, I was reading this one day in Judges chapter 1, verse 19, and it says this, "The Lord was with Judah". How many'd like the Lord to be with you, right? But what I can't understand was what follows. It says, "And they, Judah, drove out the mountaineers, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron".
So when I read this one day, I asked myself, "What"? I mean, if the Lord, if Jehovah, if the Lord is with his people, what about chariots of iron? They might as well be made of tissue paper, am I right? I mean, we have seen time and time again, Goliath clad in armor, in brass, knocked down by a single stone of a boy who had faith in God, amen? So what is this? "They could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron". Now, same chapter, chapter 1. Let's go to the beginning, see what happened. "Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, 'Who shall be first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?' And the Lord said, 'Judah shall go up.'"
In all your challenges, the first thing that must go up to God is always praise, because "Judah" means praise, all right? For everything that happens in life, you get stuck in a traffic jam, you say, "Praise the Lord anyway". Something good, you say, "Praise the Lord". Something bad happens, "Praise the Lord anyway," amen? First thing that goes up is praise. "Judah," means "Yehuda," means praise. So, who would go up first? Praise, Judah. "And the Lord says, 'Judah shall go up. Indeed," watch this, watch this, "I have delivered the land into," whose hand? "His hand," singular. That's important for you, okay?
I'm giving you the revelation right now straight away, all right? Whose hand did God deliver the enemies to, the Canaanites? Judah's hand. There are 12 tribes, but it was into Judah's hand. Look at the next verse though, verse 3. "So Judah said to Simeon his brother, 'Come up with me to my allotted territory, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I will likewise go with you to your allotted territory.' So Simeon went with him". Now, God never said bring Simeon along. God says, "I've delivered them into your hand," but he limited the Holy One of Israel because we all want support of the flesh.
We all want, you know, we want people around us. Even though the Lord called you, but you want someone else to come. That happened to Moses as well, the weakness of faith. We can see that when God first called him, it was actually God calling him to speak to Pharaoh, but then time and time again he said, "I cannot speak. I cannot speak," and God got angry. God said, "Who made man's mouth"? Then finally God says, "Take Aaron, your brother. He'll be your spokesman". That wasn't God's best. God wanted him to be the spokesman.
So, many a times, you know, when God calls you, he will equip you. So, who cares they had chariots of iron or not, right? But he called for his brother to help him, okay? "'You'll fight for me and I'll fight with you,' and Simeon went with him. Then Judah went up and the Lord delivered the Canaanites". So, in the beginning, there was deliverance. There was victory, victory, victory until finally, drop down to verse 19, you see this happen. They could not drive out because the chariots of iron. In other words, when you limit God, your victory is limited. It will always show up. Where you don't trust God, it will show up, amen.
Now, we're not saying don't use means. For example, if you pray, what I'm saying, talk to the Lord. Ask counsel from God before you ask counsel from man. Ask God first before you ask the opinion of anyone, no matter how godly the person is, because man can make mistakes and your life is too precious for man's mistakes. It's not saying don't ask for advice, but ask the Lord first. Pray to the Lord first. Don't run to the doctor first. Go to the Lord first. And doctor says, "Must cut this out," go to the Lord first, 'cause doctors can make mistakes, amen.
Now, let's do another case. We're coming to the Hebrews, right? But first, let's look at the guy called Barak. His name means lightning, Barak. Okay, so here we go. In Judges 4, "And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron". Now see, chariots of iron again, right? So, let's see what happened. "And for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel. Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time".
So at that time, Deborah was a prophetess. She appointed a man. Of course, the Lord spoke to her, and drop down, and she's talking to the man. His name is Barak. And she said to Barak, "Against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army". You all know Sisera? He got nailed, right? His head got nailed. What happened was this. This Sisera who got nailed, who got a, you know, permanent head damage, this P-H-D. "With his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand"? Who is the "your"? Barak.
God wanted Barak to destroy Sisera. But what did Barak say? Barak looked at the prophetess and say, "If you with go with me, then I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go"! So, the prophetess said, "So she said, 'I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.'" Was that God's purpose? Was that God's plan? No, go back again. All right, what did God say? "I will deliver him," Sisera, into your hand". But because he says, "Unless you go with me, I will not go," you limit the Holy One of Israel. God says, "Then there'll be no credit for you". The credit will go to a woman whose name is Jael. Are you with me so far?
Now we come to the question that I left you all hanging weeks ago. Hebrews, the famous hall of faith, and we have this question asked in Hebrews. "What more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets; who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions".
Now, I was reading this one day and then I knew that there's no insignificant details in the Bible. So, when I read the Bible and I see Gideon and Barak, wait a minute. Chronologically speaking, who came first? Barak came before Gideon. All this is in the book of Judges, okay? Then Samson and Jephthah. Wait a minute, Jephthah came before Samson. Samson is towards the end of Judges. In fact, he was the last judge. Officially it was Samuel the last judge, but Samson was the last judge. Just like the time of the kings, it ended with Nebuchadnezzar coming in, and the last king, his eyes was gorged out.
The last judge of all the judges, his eyes was gorged out. In Christendom, the last church, the professing, the people, not the true church, Philadelphia, but the last one, Laodicea, Jesus says, "You are blind". So, in everything that man does, whether it's through prophets, whether it's through kings, whether it's through priests, whether it's through Christendom, it always fails if we forget the Lord is number one, central in our life. So, here we go. Samson came after Jephthah, but yet his name is mentioned first. What about David and Samuel? Who came first? Samuel anointed the boy, David, right? If not, there is no prophet to anoint him.
So, David came after Samuel, yet David came first here. What is the reason? We don't have time because I prayed so much and we'll continue next week, all right? It is really time already. I really want to venture a guess? I told you about Barak compared to Gideon, Gideon and Barak. Real quick, Gideon and Barak. Both had faith, or else their names wouldn't be here. But it's not about time, it's not about, when God puts a name first, it's usually God's priority. It means God favors that first. It is actually not based on time, it's based on the quality of faith. It's based on the excellency of faith. It's a greater faith.
As I showed you just now, Barak compared to Gideon, Barak's faith was, "If you'll go with me, then I'll go with you," whereas for Gideon, his eyes was on the Lord. You know, he did put up the fleece, but obviously with God, God allowed it because he was looking to the Lord, whereas Barak was looking to the woman. Are you with me so far? It's not about chronology, it's about the quality. It's about the excellency of faith. What about Samson and Jephthah? Today I hear people preach against Samson a lot and all that, but let me tell you this. Carnal as he is, he reminds us of all of us, but he had faith in God. His name is mentioned in the Hall of Faith. He made it to heaven. Yes, of course, amen? And Samson and Jephthah.
What about Samson? What is Samson doing? What about Jephthah? What did Jephthah do? Samson, for example. Here's a story where it says, "He found a new jawbone of an ass, put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. And Samson said, With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of a donkey have I slain a thousand men. And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramath-lehi," which means the exaltation of the jawbone, all right?
Drop down, "And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord". Wow, he was so athirst. When he was thirsty, who did he call on? The Lord. "He called on the Lord and said, Thou has given this great deliverance". He gave God the glory. Say what you want about Samson, he knew where his deliverance came from. "You have given this deliverance to the hand of your servant; now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived; wherefore he called the name thereof En-hakkore".
"En" is fountain, "ha" the, "kore" is the caller. The fountain of the one who called. Okay, let me tell you this. This is not based on law. If it was based on law, Samson failed the moment he picked up, go back again, when he picked up the jawbone. Go back, go back. Verses before. Yeah, "He found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand". Can you see that? He touched a dead carcass. He's not supposed to. Nazarite vow, he's not supposed to touch any dead body. And yet God brought the victory for him, because in a way, he functioned like the Syro-Phoenician woman. It wasn't time for the Gentiles, but she reached out into the future.
Faith will transcend time and space, amen. But he was not, effectively here, he's not under law, but he was under grace. He was functioning in faith in the Lord. He was looking to the Lord. Are you with me so far? So, why was he put above Jephthah. Jephthah came first. Who is Jephthah? The Bible says he was son of a harlot. He was called back. He was at first rejected by his brothers, rejected by his community. Then later on, they called him back when the enemies came because he was a warrior.
But look at what he did. Samson called on the Lord, but, "Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, 'If you will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burn offering.'"
He made a vow to the Lord. When you don't have a relationship with God, you will do a barter system. God, if you do this for me, then I'll do this for you. It shows a weakness of faith. It shows inferiority. Are you listening, people? You know who came up to see him first? You thought it's an animal, right? It was his daughter. He said, "Whatever comes out, I will offer as a burnt offering". Now, he did not kill her because God doesn't want a human burnt offering, all right?
The Bible says she bewailed her virginity. In other words, for the rest of her life, she gave her life up, all right, never married, okay? You can read the story, Jephthah's story. So, nonetheless, we don't have time to go back to Hebrews 11 to see about David and Samuel. Just to let you know, if you read 1 Samuel 8, we have the only mistake that I can see of Prophet Samuel which was actually he put his sons, 1 Samuel 8, "He put his sons over, as judges over Israel. But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, perverted justice". And even though, you know, David loved his sons, David never placed his sons in position. It was his son Absalom that usurped the authority, all right?
So, there is a faith quality. God forbid I should say anything untoward, okay, or remiss about this wonderful prophet, Samuel. He's a story to learn. I mean, his character is amazing, but in terms of faith, David had faith that God really puts his approval on, amen? Are you with me so far? And then go back to Hebrews 11. Last one is the prophets, you see? The prophets put last. If you look at all the names here, all six of them are ordinary people except for David, king. All of them are ordinary people. What is that saying? And God put prophets last.
You would have thought the prophets, like Pastor Henry, Pastor Lawrence, all, would be named first, right? But God put prophets last, why? God is saying ordinary people can walk in that excellency of faith, amen? Last one and then we close. If you are under the law, this is what happens in terms of your service, in terms of your functioning in the church. Because of time, I'm gonna tell you real quick, this is under the law. This is what God says under the law. "This is what pertains to the Levites". Levites are people who serve the Lord, all right, to help the priests. "From twenty-five years old and above one may enter to perform service in the work of the tabernacle of meeting; at the age of fifty years they must cease performing this work, and shall work no more".
In other words, if you are under law, your strength is limited. You are subject to the natural decays and wear and tear. Don't forget, people, I want to tell you something. Remember this, the Bible says Joshua grew old. Caleb did not. The Bible records Joshua's death. Does not record Caleb's death. The very chapter, Joshua 13, that says God told Joshua, "You are old," in the next chapter Caleb said to Joshua, "I'm as strong today at 85 as I was the day Moses sent me out at 40 years old. My strength is for war. I can fight. Give me this mountain. Give me this mountain," amen.
And by the way, show them Judges 1 just now, verse 19. We started with this, right? Right? We started with this, right? Look at the next verse, "And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had said". Hebron is the mountain. He says, "Give me this mountain". Caleb alone, it sounds as if alone, expelled from there the three giants, the three sons of Anak. What a contrast between someone who believed God and someone who says, "Brother, you must come with me". Caleb alone did it. Mmm! I see men and women of faith.
Okay, go back to this. We will close. Just now, 25 years old. So, 25 to 50, many of you are saying, "My goodness, I'm beyond already". So, in the natural, but listen, Moses served until he was 120 and died without sickness and disease. "His eyes was not dim nor his natural force abated". Caleb served at 85. He says, "I'm as strong today as I was," and there's no record of his death, amen.
Here is what we see in the Bible. If you are under law, you'll be limited because the law is all about your strength. You shall not, you shall not, you shall not, you shall not. It's about your strength, you understand? But grace is beyond your strength, above and beyond what you you can do. Above and beyond your ability. Can I have a good amen?
So, if you function by grace, this is the promise for you, amen? And this is for happy people. All right, Deuteronomy 33. This is the last verse. We'll close with this. Y'all must turn to this, okay? Deuteronomy 33, verse 20-something. It says, this is the blessing of Asher, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be". Deuteronomy 33, verse 25, the promise to Asher. "Asher" means happy. People who are happy people are fruitful people. I can't understand Christians who are supposed to be spiritual, but they're so grumpy and so legalistic, amen?
Happy people. Abraham laughed when God says he would have a son. Sarah laughed when she heard she'll be a mother, amen. And then they decided to call the boy "Laughter". They had a lot of fun and they were fruitful. I think Christianity is really about the joy of the Lord, really. The joy of the Lord. And we even misconstrue that, you know, Matthew? We say, "You gotta be joyful. You must be joyful". it doesn't say that your joy is your strength. The joy of the Lord, it is his joy that is my strength.
And you know who he rejoices over? You. He rejoice over you with singing. Once you know the joy of the Lord, no wonder you are strong, because you know that he's joyful over you. You are his joy. The joy of the Lord is not, "You gotta be joyful, man. You gotta be joyful. Come on, be joyful, man". That's a law. No, it's knowing his joy, what he's joyful over. It's the joy of the Lord that's my strength, amen? I'm done. I've got a lot more to share, but that's it, okay? Praise the Lord. Give him praise, hallelujah.