Steven Furtick - Praise When It Makes No Sense
This is an excerpt from: Faithful With A Few
God is just waiting for you to get to the point where you take your hands off of some stuff. I'm not talking about being irresponsible. This does not apply to your steering wheel unless you drive a Tesla. Keep your hands on that. At the same time, we have to understand that the glory goes to God. It has to. It's too heavy for you. It must have seemed strange to see all this celebrating. David's wife, Michal, was so appalled that David was dancing, because he was happy when they finally got the ark back, because they did it God's way, not the logical way…not the way that made sense, but the way that takes faith… Two different ways: the way that makes sense and the way that takes faith. One is called self-sufficiency, and it's a sin.
The other one, the faith way, is when you understand that for you to carry what God has given you to carry in this life, you will have to do it his way, even when his way seems strange, even when it makes no sense. Do you know what David did that must have seemed strange? Every time they got the ark six steps, he stopped and sacrificed a bull. Every six steps. I want you to think about this. This is the representation of the presence of God. We already had it start to fall one time, and now you're making a stop every six steps. Every time we stop, it increases the chances that we'll have another stumble. But David said, "I have faith that if we do it like this, and we take only six steps and then stop and praise God and offer to him the sacrifice of praise, he will give us the strength, the wisdom, the protection, and the direction. God will sustain us if we stop and celebrate every six steps, because if we wait until we get to Jerusalem to do it, we might not make it".
If I wait until I get there to thank God, I may not make it, because there is a long way. "When I get to heaven, I'm going to fall at his feet". You'd better fall at his feet before this Friday, because the Devil won't be in heaven, and you won't have to fight him there, but you have to fight him now. If you don't stop, you might stumble. So let's do it. Six steps. Praise him. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Oh, wait. That's six days. This is Sunday. Let's praise him right now! You took six steps this week. He was with you six steps this week. He was with you on the job this week. He gave you your daily bread this week, manna from heaven and a rod and a staff. I praise him every six! They get the ark, the presence of God, and they get six steps, and David says, "Stop". "Do you know how far we have to go? We just took a few". David says, "But he was faithful for those few".
He was faithful in those few. He was faithful with a few. I was meeting with a pastor one time, and Chunks and Buck were with me. Do y'all know Chunks and Buck? They sound like a WWF tag team from 1993. They sound like they fought the Legion of Doom, but they didn't. They're just church staff members. That's all. The man was going on and on about everything he had done, and he is a great man, so it was a long list. The In-N-Out burger was getting cold, and we don't have those in North Carolina, and I wanted to eat mine. Anyway, the man says, "How do we do this"? He was talking about world peace or something like that. He said, "How do we do this? Well, there are 19 ways". I thought, "Nineteen"?
There's a fly buzzing around the burger by this point, because we can't eat because he's still talking. He has already been going two hours. He said, "There are 19 ways. I won't list them all". I thought, "Phew"! He said, "But let me name a few". An hour later, he was on number 19. He stopped, and he said, "I think I should stop now. It looks like I put your guys to sleep". My back was turned to them. These two jokers were sleeping on the other end of the table with their heads on the table. Not like nodding off. Like, I am a second grader in class playing Heads Up, Seven Up…drooling all over the table. "I can't list all of the ways, but let me name a few". I'm just going to give you a little pro tip here for praising God. You have to just list a few. You know what? I don't know everything God is calling me to, but I do know a few things. God has called me to love and honor my wife. God has called me to be there for my kids.
Sometimes that's all I know about being a dad: be there. It is the science of showing up that produces, in my mind, the experiment of good kids, and it is an experiment. Fatherhood is not a formula. A few. You know, anytime you want to, you can make yourself praise God. You don't think you can. You associate praise with a feeling. I didn't see anything in 1 Chronicles 16 about feelings. I heard about God's sovereignty. I heard about God's shepherding. I heard about God's glory. I heard about his strength. I heard about his face. Nothing about feelings. That's why it's not dependent on feelings. So, in any bad mood, you can pivot to praise. David knew how to do this. That's what David knew how to do. That's why the Bible called him a man after God's own heart, not because he was perfect. You think that means he was perfect.
Then what's Bathsheba all about? Why did he sleep with a woman while he was supposed to be at war if he was a man after God's own heart? It is not about his perfection. It was about his praise. He gave God glory in all of those things. If you don't learn how to pivot to praise in situations, two things will happen. When times are good, you'll run into pride if you don't pivot to praise. Then when times are bad, if you don't pivot to praise, you'll be in a prison of your circumstance. Pride or prison if you don't learn to pivot. David made them praise God. He said, "Asaph, get me 12 men. Station and appoint them, and this is what I want them to say. I want them to start talking about the glory of God and the great things he has done. I want us to get our attention off of how we stumbled, and I want us to get our attention off of even how we succeeded. I want us to start singing about and thinking about all of the things God did, all of the ways God made, even the strange ways God made".
The praise only seems strange if you don't understand the process they went through to get there. The praise only seems strange if you don't understand the process you went through to get there. It only seems strange because you didn't see the struggle that led to the praise. It only seems strange from the outside. When you have been without the ark, and when you've tried to do it without God, and when you've ended up on your own bathroom floor… I remember when my dad came to me when I was a teenager and he gave his life to Christ. He said, "You don't know how I would stand in the shower and cry every morning, wondering, 'How am I going to fake it another day because I'm so low?' But this poor man cried to the Lord, and he heard me from heaven, and he reached down and saved me. You don't know".
Stop trying to make sense to people who don't even know your story. Stop trying to conform, Christians. It's not supposed to make sense to people who don't know God. Most of us don't even worship God. We say Jesus is Lord, but we live like logic is lord. Every time we get in a situation, the first thing we consult is our circumstance. The first thing we consult is our energy. The first thing we consult is our feelings. The first thing we consult is our mood. The first thing we consult is something somebody told us on some God-forsaken news channel. I rebuke the spirit of fear that's running your life today because you keep running to the wrong place. I rebuke it! I tell it to dry up! For that to happen, you have to do it like David. David said, "Y'all have to praise God".
When I would lead the choir back in college, I used to get real… My hero at the time was Kirk Franklin. Most of the people at the college were white. That was interesting. I have always believed… I don't mind telling you to praise God. "You don't have to tell me to praise God". Yes, I do. "I don't need you to scream at me". Yes, you do…sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes. This man came over to the praise service one night. I used to get down off the stage. Y'all, I was wild. I was trying to turn the Baptist school into a Pentecostal worship service. I didn't know what to do, so I had to make them. I'd get down off the stage. I'd start walking over chairs and stuff.
This one guy who was there… He had been at the school forever. He was an administrator, not a student. He came one night. I could tell he didn't like it. I went to him next day and said, "I don't think you liked it". He said, "I didn't like it at all". I said, "What didn't you like? Did the speaker say something"? He said, "I didn't like you. I don't like you". I said, "Well, was it something I said"? He said, "It's about everything you said and what you did". At the time, I was 19 with some Old Navy turtlenecks. He said, "I don't need some 19-year-old with a turtleneck coming down…" He was real country too. "I don't need some 19-year-old with a turtleneck coming down there off the stage and telling me to praise the Lord, telling me, 'Y'all don't want to praise him.' I do want to praise him. That's why I came. I don't need you to make me".
I think you do sometimes. In fact, I think one better than that. You need to awaken your inner David, like he did in Psalm 103, so when we're not here to do it… We're going to lead you to worship God. I'm not going to get up here and preach like this: "Turn in your Bible to…" I'm going to tell you, "Clap your hands". I'm going to remind you to do some stuff you know. I'm not one of these lifeguards who smokes weed and lies there and doesn't watch. If I see you drowning in doubt, I'm going to pull you out, because that's my job, dude! By the way, I don't even preach for everybody, just a few. If I can find five people in the room who don't care and are not ashamed and who know it was the Lord… The real secret is… Can you say, "Bless the Lord, O my soul"? David did that. He didn't just make them praise God; he made himself praise God. Why are you so much better telling everybody else what to do than you are telling you what to do?