Steven Furtick - Why Didn't God Do It?
This is an excerpt from: Been Here Before
Sometimes God has to show us that not everything we want is something he promised. A lot of us lose our confidence in God because we confuse our want with his promise. This won't take long, but let me teach this part, and then I'll preach. I'll preach so good you'll be so inspired, but let me dig into this for just a moment. I said something last week. I said it so quickly, and I moved so fast. I was talking about weasels, and I was talking about the weasel and the Word and the seed and the dead thing and "You're not dead yet, and God's seeds are still in you. Don't give up on it just because something died on you. It doesn't mean God isn't real in you".
I was preaching all that last week, and I said something like a flash. I don't know if you heard it, but I thought it was really good. Confidence in God's promise… How many of you are confident in God's promise? I am setting you up. Dude, I am about to knock you out with this hook. Confidence in God's promise without commitment to his process is not dependence; it is delusion. Write it down, because I want that to be ringing in your head the next time you think, "Why didn't God do it? Why didn't he answer? Why didn't he do it? Why don't I have it"? Confidence in God's promise.
Moses in Deuteronomy is really reliving some of his own regrets. He is reminding the people not only what God did while they were in the wilderness but how they disobeyed him. He is warning them. "When God brings you into this land, be careful that the you he brings into this land doesn't think you are the reason you're there, because you'll become arrogant and prideful. The moment you forget, you will lose the war, not because God isn't great but because you forgot how to fight your battles and you did it in your own strength".
The promises of God are sure. The promises of God are yes and amen. No matter how many of them he has spoken, he will bring them to pass. The promise of God can come from a barren womb. The promise of God can come from a stable in Bethlehem. The promise of God can come in the darkest season of your life. Yet there is so much of what God has promised me that I don't possess yet. There's so much more God has promised me that I don't possess yet. I could make you a list.
Let's do it as an exercise. Do you believe God has promised to give you peace? Wave at me if you believe God has promised to give you peace. So how are you going to get it? That's the question, right? God promised them this land. How are you going to get it? Are you going to start chanting? "Peace. Peace. Peace. Give me peace. Give me peace, Lord. Give me peace. Give me peace. Pretty please, give me peace. Give me peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace".
There is a process by which God gives me peace, and it's found in Philippians, chapter 4. Look at this. I want to bring this into the New Testament from the Old Testament. The apostle Paul says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God…" Wait a minute. That's the verse I like. I don't like the first one because I don't really feel like praying. I don't really feel like being thankful. I don't really feel like asking God. Okay. You do realize that in the original manuscripts of the Bible there was not a verse 7 and a verse 6. It was all one thing. So, what he says in verse 7 follows from what he said in verse 6. I know that sounds basic, but I think sometimes we forget that. He says, "The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus".
So there it is: the promise, the peace, the process. Prayer, petition, and thanksgiving, not sitting around thinking about everything that could go wrong, would go wrong, did go wrong, might go wrong, possibly could go wrong, went wrong 23 years ago. That process will not get you peace. You can't cancel out a bad thought life with a good prayer life and get peace just because you really, really want it. Okay. How many of you have been praying for God to give you peace? Are you doing the process that brings the peace? That's the question. Go to verse 8. I'm going to really hammer this home. I'm not playing with y'all today. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things".
Then what happens? "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you". "Wait. I thought God was going to be with me no matter what. That's a promise". Yeah, he'll be with you, but you will not receive his peace if you don't want to think his thoughts. You just won't. You can't fill your head with whatever and then faith your way out of what you filled your head with. You can't just binge whatever and then quote a Bible verse on top of stuff you binged and ask God to cancel it out, because he can't, because it's a promise. It's not automatic. "But God promised". But it's not automatic.
One time… I like to tell stories about my kids. They had their hands under this faucet. This was when they were really little. I think it was Graham. He was waiting for the water to come on, and there was a knob. I stood there and watched him for a good 30 seconds, because I wanted to see, "How long will you stand there and wait for something to come out and not do anything to produce it"? He could have concluded, "There's no water," because a 5-year-old boy doesn't want to wash his hands anyway. So he could have walked away. "The water doesn't work". I see people all the time who come to church and go, "That didn't work. That didn't work. You know what? There's no water. That didn't work. I tried. I tried to do it".
You didn't try to do it. You took the promise out of context and popped it like a pain pill. It made you feel better for four hours, but it didn't produce what it could have produced in your life, because the Word of God is not a pill to be ingested. It is a seed to be planted. If you plant it, the process will begin of producing the potential of the seed. But we give up too easily. The first time we feel fear, we let go of faith. The first time we get rejected, we start expecting more rejection. So now we don't want to go. Now we don't want to try. Now we don't want to do it. Now it's just too hard. "I guess God didn't really say that. I guess God didn't really mean for me to have it. I guess I'm just never going to come into it".
That's one way of looking at it, but maybe another way of looking it is you have not fully allowed the process to complete its perfect work in your life, and if you get back in the process, you'll see the promise come to pass. What's crazy about it is nothing has changed about the promise in the 40 years since Moses last spoke it. He has been here before. He has been in this exact spot, but now, because he struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it like God told him to… God said, "You don't trust me enough for me to take you in". It wasn't that he wasn't enough to go in. He did not trust God enough to go in. Do you see the difference? One is "I just don't have it" and the other is "I just won't do it".
Now, we're living in a time… This Scripture is not good for snowflake culture where everybody wants God to bring everything he spoke to them. This is why the generational correction is appropriate in the Scripture. This Scripture is generationally appropriate because only those who were 20 years of age or younger get to go into the Promised Land. Everybody else either died off in the wilderness or is staying there. So, Moses (this is so sad to me) is preparing them for something he won't get to participate in. As he's doing it… You can hear that he's giving them words of faith, but I hear the tone of regret and resentment. He's mad at them.
There are three different speeches recorded in Deuteronomy, and he said all this stuff before, but he's saying it again, and now he's saying it to them to let them know, "Even though you've been at this place before, it's going to be different this time. You are going to do what we couldn't do because you're going to believe what we wouldn't believe, so you're going to see what we didn't see. But we had the same promise. You're going to do with the promise what we could not do with the promise, what we would not do with the promise, if you keep your eyes on God. If you go forward believing that God is with you, you're going to see it". In fact, he basically assumes they're going to take the land. He just cautions them that when they do, they need to remember who brought them into it. I love it. He said, "You've been in the wilderness for a long time".
It's funny about the wilderness. A wilderness is a place, like I said last week, between places where God teaches you things that you need to know for where you're going. The wilderness. The wilderness is the place where God gets you ready for what he has next for you. The wilderness, where he brings you manna to your tent every morning because you don't have farmland yet. The wilderness, where he brings you water out of a rock, and there's not even a knob for the faucet. It just starts flowing out. The wilderness. There are wonderful things about the wilderness. There are wonderful things about loneliness. When you're lonely, God will feel closer to you, if you'll call on him, than when you're really busy. There are wonderful things about when people tell you no, because when people tell you no, God has this way of putting a yes in your spirit that you can't even explain.
It's a wonderful thing about certain tears we cry, because God dries them, and you feel his touch like you never did before. It's a wonderful thing sometimes about when you've done all you can do, and you can't figure anything out, and God just says, "I've got this one". "Watch this manna. Open your tent. Every morning it's going to be there, brand-new mercies with every rising of the sun". It's a wonderful thing. Have you ever been fed by the hand of God, where God just dropped something off for you, and you said, "Oh, this is wonderful. I didn't even know how, but God did that for me. I didn't even know that person. They paid for my gas at the pump. I didn't even know that person. They stopped me and encouraged me".
It's some wonderful things that happen in the wilderness. God just drops stuff on you in the wilderness. God just does stuff for you in the wilderness. God just makes sure you have clothes to wear in the wilderness. You don't outgrow it. It just keeps stretching with you in the wilderness. He makes sure your feet don't swell in the wilderness. It is a place of supernatural provision. But if you stay there too long, you will become passive, waiting for a promise that God wants to give you the power to possess by faith.