Steven Furtick - Pivotal Decisions
How many of you right now are in the middle of making a big decision for your life? Would you raise your hand if you are in the middle of making a big decision for your life, and keep it up, keep it up? So, what are you going to do? Are you going to do like pros and cons or you going to like flip a coin if it comes to that? You got a plan for this? You going to do like ask a lot of people until somebody tells you what you want to hear like we all do?
You know, just keep asking people to you get the answer that you wanted so they can confirm the thing that you were going to do all along anyway and now you wasted everybody's time just asking them stuff that you over knew that you were going to do? What are you going to do? Are you going to, like, just stress eat and put it off till the last minute? That's always a good plan.
I like that. I like to just watch Netflix instead, personally, put it off until the last minute and then make the decision when the pressure is on. The crazy thing is, when I say that, a big decision, a lot of the decisions that you make, you don't know if they are big or not when you're making them. That's why I need God so much because not only can I not make the big decisions right without Him, but I don't even know which ones are big unless He tells me. Because, you know, big decisions, we get caught up where we going to get married?
Me and Holly spent so many weeks thinking about that. Like the big decision of where we were going to have our wedding. You know what? It didn't really matter as much as some other things. What was important about our marriage was, like, how are we going to resolve conflict? You all don't want to talk to me today. You all were singing so good and then I started preaching and you all went to sleep. And the big decisions, you know, it's not always the ones that you think are big. And that's why I prefer the term pivotal decisions because a big decision is not necessarily what city you're going to live in.
That's a big one, I get it, but a bigger decision for us was what church are we going to go to because out of the church that we attended that's where we made the relationships that were really instrumental and the will of God was accomplished in our life not by just what city we lived in. And it's funny how people will move for a job or they'll move for a school, but they'll put church at the bottom of the list and then kind of find one. But I think the pivotal things are sometimes not what we consider to be the big things and that's confusing. Pivotal.
You know what I mean, like? I guess because it's All-Star weekend. I don't play basketball; I don't even really like basketball. I was always terrible at it. I wrestled a little bit, played a little baseball. But when I watch basketball I always see them pivot, I always see that their ability to pass and, you know, without traveling, without getting calls, it's all from this foot that they pivot on. And I'm not going to demonstrate it for you because, again, I'm not very athletic. But when I watch them pivot I notice like, well, that's pretty important and the only way that they can pivot is if they are planted.
Now, I'm going to preach that in about 28 minutes but hang on, I'm coming to Judges 13. And I noticed that, you know, pivoting is not only for athletes, it's also for politicians and I'll be honest with you, as a preacher, I get it because sometimes you get asked the weirdest questions, the weirdest most unanswerable, most non-germane questions. I'll sometimes be doing a Q&A or something and someone will ask me, you know, what kind of horse is Jesus coming back on? And there's really no way to answer that without making them look dumb or, you know, because it is a dumb question but I love people and the sheep and, so. I'm like, well, you know, that's a great question. And regardless of what horse he comes on I think what's important is that we have a sense of urgency.
See how I just... And now you don't feel dumb and I don't have to answer your question and, so, we all win because I know how to pivot. Touch somebody and say, the power is in the pivot. Let's go to Judges 13, are you ready? Because you've got some big decisions you're making and then you've got some decisions that you don't think are very big, but they are pivotal. Like, how you start your day, that's not a big decision, but it's pivotal. Because how you start your day, watch, is a directional decision. Watch me. It's directional. So, I'm not, watch, watch, watch, I'm not moving much, it's not a big move, I'm still standing where I was, but I get a completely different perspective when I pivot.
The Lord has really been speaking to me. I can tell you want him to speak to you too. It means that sometimes it's the small moves that set the direction. The small moves that set the direction. And frankly, a lot of the biggest things about your life will be decided outside of your volition and will anyway. God is so much bigger than your decisions. I know you're very successful in your business but you and I both know that the culmination of everything that happened to you was bigger than you just make good decisions. I mean, because, honestly, you made some really bad ones to and even if you didn't, even if you only make good decisions, you wouldn't have even had the opportunity to make those decisions if God didn't position you where he positioned you. God is bigger than my bad decisions.
You know, it's not like God is just a synonym for good decisions, you know? Being in the will of God, the will of God, and I want to ask you this question, is your view of the will of God big enough to accommodate even your bad decisions? And that's what I want to look at. Judges 13 is a passage of Scripture that you have never heard a single sermon on before. I pulled at least 30 people this week, none of them had heard it and all of them went to vacation Bible school and grew up going to Wednesday night church. So, if they didn't hear it you didn't either.
But, the Bible says in Judges 13:1, remember, in a pivotal time for the nation of Israel. A pivotal time because they were in a cycle of sin, judgment, and deliverance. A pivotal time because they didn't have a king, and they didn't really want God to be their king, so God would keep having to raise up different people to lead them and deliver them from the hands of their enemies, the Canaanites and parasites and Hittites and the Philistines. The Phoenician people who were good at metalworking so they always had a lot of weapons and they were moving in on the coast and they were ruling them but very loosely.
Now, this is the pivotal moment for the nation of Israel and the Bible says, Again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines. Stop. You always hear about God delivering us out of things but here your Bible says that God delivered them into the hands of an enemy and used the enemy, I don't know if your theology is about to break wide open and some things gonna fall out on the floor, let's get the ushers ready in case your brain just melts right there. But God didn't deliver them out of the hands of the enemies but the same God who is able to deliver you out of the hands of your enemies, the Bible says that at least the perspective of the writer Samuel was, who we preached about last week, that God delivered them into the hands of their enemies.
That's interesting to me. I don't have a category for that but God is bigger than my categories. I'm learning that. I'm learning that. So, he did it for 40 years and, "A certain man of Zorah named Manoah from the clan of the Danites had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth". Remember that barrenness in antiquity was a signal or a sign of the displeasure of God. It didn't mean the displeasure of God, but they perceived it to mean that so it brought with it a great stigma. "A certain man of Zorah names Manoah from the clan of the Danites had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, 'You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son who's head is never to be touched by a razor.'"
And my dad was a barber so that verse offends me because it would have taken money out of my family's pocket, but anyway. Because, here is the reason, the boy is to be a Nazirite and the Nazirites don't cut their hair, they don't drink alcohol, they don't touch anything dead, that's the basics of being a Nazirite in case you were thinking about doing it, just that's what you would do if you were going to be a Nazirite. He is to be dedicated to God from the womb, "he will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines," which God delivered them into so that he could deliver them from what was in them that cause them to get in the cycle to begin with and he's going to use this child to deliver them out. I love Your word, Lord, thank You for what you're showing me.
Now, this is where it gets really, really good because then, everybody say then, the woman whose name we don't know who's talking to a man whose name isn't given, these unnamed people have the conversation and "the woman went to her husband and told him, 'A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome.'" I'm going to be like, hold up, man coming, talking to my wife, anyway. You know, because he didn't have wings or a harp, how we think God shows up. She's like, I think it was maybe like an angel, because that's how it is.
When you hear from God its kind of like I think this might be this, maybe God, I don't know. It looked like, it felt like it was different, I don't know, it was different. I don't know, I'm not sure. And she's telling her husband because it's always revealed in the context of relationship. "I didn't ask him where he came from and he didn't tell me his name, but he said to me, 'You will become pregnant.'" Uh-huh. So, this awesome looking man came to my wife and said what? I love the Bible though; I love the Bible. "He said, 'You will be pregnant and have a son.' Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the date of his death.' Then Manoah," his name means resting place, "prayed to the Lord: 'Pardon your servant, Lord,'" I don't mean to bother you, I know you got a universe to run and all that but, "I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us," because I didn't get to see him, let him come again.
If you could just send him back for a few minutes, I've got a few questions I need to ask him. I need him, "to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born". So, I need you to speak to me because you know how you need God to speak to you and show you how? I want to talk about the plan, that's the first thing I want to mention is the plan because I understand that God wants to use me but I need to know what that's going to look like, you understand? I need some details, I need some specifics, I need some marching orders, I need some dates, some times, some instructions.
So, please, Lord, if it's not too much trouble, send that guy back and he said we were going to have a son that was going to like change the world and stuff, but I need to hear it for myself and I need to know the plan. Any planners in the house? Any planners? Any planners? Thank God for you. Thank God for you. Because all the people without their hand up they always come late and make the worship leaders lead to the first two rows and it's empty and they come crawling in last minutes, but I don't hate you in the back but I'm just saying thank God for the planners. But it can become a problem and I'm going to show you why. I'm going to show you why.
He said, we need to know the plan if it's going to be this big thing, you know, if you gave us this promise I need to know the plan because without a plan the promise is just abstract rhetoric. Without the plan I can know God is for me and wants to use me and spread the gospel and all that sounds good, but just sent him back. If I can get five minutes with this awesome looking man who was talking to my wife and told her she was about to get pregnant... I need to know the plan. Now, I love the next phrase: "God heard Manoah," God heard Manoah.
Isn't interesting that the woman wasn't praying to get pregnant when the angel said it was going to happen. I don't know if she gave up, I don't know if she did pray, I don't know if she didn't pray, Bible doesn't say, it doesn't matter. And then Manoah is begging God to show up and speak to him. And, you know God initiates, we respond, God initiates, we respond. But God heard Manoah and when Manoah prayed God didn't say, figure it out yourself and trust me. Instead he obliged Manoah's need for more information.
Let the person next to you know something real quick, and it might sound cocky but tell them anyway, it's true, say, "He hears me". God hears me. He hears me better than Siri and Alexa, He hears me. He hears me, He knows my voice, He likes when I call him. When I say help, He says yes before I can even get out my mouth. He hears me. He hears my groans where words don't come. He hears me. He hears my heart and the secret petitions of things that people don't know that I'm dealing with. He hears me. He hears the unspoken.
Did you go to youth group and we used to say I have an unspoken? He hears what I don't say. He hears what's behind what I said that's really driving the behavior. He hears me. He hears my secret frustration that I don't say around people because if I told them how frustrated I was it would scare them, but He hears me. He hears me when I sing to Him. When I tell him worthy is the lamb of God, He hears me. I know there's better singers than me, and I know I don't always sing on key, but He hears me. When I sing, "Thank you, Jesus," He hears me. It blesses His heart to hear me.
"And the angel of God came again to the woman," Wait, wait, wait, to the woman? Manoah asked for the visit and this angel is back out talking to his wife because God is not going to do it like you want him to do it. He's going to want to see will you trust Him? So, "the angel came again to the woman while she was out in the field but her husband, Manoah, was not with her. The woman hurried to tell her husband, 'He's here! The man who appeared to me the other day!' Manoah got up and followed his wife and when he came to the man he said, 'Are you the man who talk to my wife?' Hold up", let me change Manoah's accent, "are you the man who talk to my wife? She said an awesome looking man came and said that she was going to be pregnant, was that you"? Angel said, "I am".
So, Manoah asked him, when your words are fulfilled, I don't doubt you're going to do it, I just need to know the plan, what is to be the rule that governs the boy's life and work? How do we do this? How do we do this? We are in a meeting this week about the church and I know what I want to see, but I don't know the plan for it. And, so, a lot of times when I get in that mode I start trying to like tweak stuff and I start trying to manipulate staff. I know you don't do this, but I'm a control freak and, so, I'll be like, well, we can do this, this, and this and it's all good, it's all good, but I want you to watch what the angel does. Instead of giving Manoah the plan, which is what he asked for, what do we do with this boy that you said is going to be born, is going to do something great, what do I do with this calling? What do I do in this sit?
I need to know the plan, I need to know the details, I need to know the agenda. And the Bible says, "That the angel," Verse 13 answered, Your wife... So, now, the angel pivots from what Manoah asked to what he needed to know right now. Now, sometimes when you pray to God he's going to pivot and you're going to be like, I need the plan, but God will pivot. I mean, this angel would have made a great politician or preacher or basketball player. He could have been in the All-Star game because watch how quick he pivots. We need to know what to do when the boy is born what are we going to do? How are we going to raise him? How many times?
You know, Manoah's full of questions, right? Of course, he is. Do we need to put him in a special school? Do we need to get him a tutor? Do we need to teach him karate? Do we need to teach him jujitsu? You know, should we be strict, should be this? What are we doing? And the angel said, just tell your wife right now don't drink anything or eat anything unclean, that's all you need to know right now. The pivot. From what you think you need to know to what you really need to know. And God just, watch his footwork.
See, we always want to see God's hand, but sometimes you've got to watch his feet because sometimes he wants to set a different direction to say, you're not even looking at the right side of this, watch the pivot. And when he pivots you've got to be quick to go with him and say, God, I don't want your hand, I want your face, I want to know you, I want to see you, I want to see you, I want to feel you, I want to know you, I want to have you. I want... I want to understand what you know I need to understand. And I wonder is God trying to pivot your prayer life? Is God trying to pivot your strategizing? Is God trying to pivot because you're always trying to look for him in logic? Your always trying to look for him in analysis and in calculation? But God is Spirit and you can't get the spirit through strategy?
You've got to come to God like this. You've got to come to God with open arms, open hands, and an open heart. It's the pivot. It's a funny thing about a pivot though, it's a small move, but it sets a completely different direction. Manoah, you can't handle the plan right now, you can't. My word is a lamp unto your feet, a light onto your path. The funny thing about pivot, I've been doing this all week, just studying the sermon, trying to God to show me different ways to see situations and to see His will and what I think is His will and what I thought was His will and I thought He was always doing this, but sometimes He's doing that.
They get this promise, and this is from the Lord, you know? He didn't realize that at first but he starts to sense, he starts to sense that this may be God. This may be God. It's too big to be anything I could do. I don't have a plan for it, I don't have a context for it, I don't know. This may be God. This is the Lord. This is from the Lord. This gift set that I have, this talent, this child that I'm raising, this is from the Lord. Somebody say, this is from the Lord. And, so, since is from the Lord then I need him to show me how to do it but sometimes He won't answer the question that I ask. Instead He will give me the wisdom that I need because he knows a better question.
And so everything you can name, that's not God. Everything you can explain, that's not God. Everything you can figure out on your own and you can make it work and you can do, it work for a little while. But everything you can't name, that's God. And we've been looking for a name for God, that's why we need so many and that's why He had to tell Moses in a very special way, "I am". "Cause I need to leave room for you to know that when you get past the point of your ability to reconcile your situation, when you get beyond your ability to work it out, that's where I am. That's where I live. That's where I dwell. In the mystery, in the uncertainty, in the tension beyond your understanding".
And we keep trying to find God in our logic, but He is not found with logic. He is beyond your logic. "Then Manoah took a young goat and together with the grain offering and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord". And since the word came from the Lord, I'm gonna make the offering to the Lord. And since my breath came from the Lord, I'm gonna offer it back to the Lord. And since this situation came from the Lord, I'm gonna need the Lord to deal with it. I can't do it on my own. "And the Lord did something amazing while Manoah and his wife watched. As the flame blazed up from the altar toward the heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended into flame".
He was not found in the logic, He was found in the flame. Not in figuring it out, but in the fire of sacrifice and needing God. That's where you're gonna find Him. That's where you're gonna get it. That's where you're gonna unlock it and that's where it'll be unleashed.
Now, I wish I could preach about Jesus for 30 seconds right now because see, all my hope is in His blood, all my faith is in His cross, all my righteousness is in His sacrifice. And when the flames went up, the revelation came through. And Manoah was like, "I think we just saw God. 'Cause when the angel of the Lord did not show himself again," Verse 21, "to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized it was the angel of the Lord. 'We're gonna die,' he said to his wife, 'we've seen God.' But his wife answered, 'If He meant to kill us..."
If God was out to get you, you'd be got. That's how I know He still has mercy for my mistakes 'cause I already made enough. If He was gonna squash me for screwing up, I'd be a bug on this stage. "If the Lord had meant to kill us, He would've done it. He wouldn't have accepted the offering. He would've wiped us out. He wouldn't have shown us all these things". He wouldn't have shown you all these things. He wouldn't have seen you through all these things. Look at all He's shown you. Look at how many times you were off the path and somehow He got you back. Look at all the times you were going this way and something just, you know, He just turned stuff around. I mean, just like you couldn't do it and you were making all these plans for it, but it was the pivot that brought you back.
"Then the woman gave birth," 24, "to a boy..." Oh, I forgot to tell you this. "And named him Samson". I forgot to tell you the guy that got the haircut, you remember? 'Cause we always wanna remember people by their worst decisions. But Samson, the strong one, who was bench-pressing 305 in seventh grade. Samson. This is how it started. And a lot of people didn't know that because all they ever saw was his head in Delilah's lap, but it was decisions. It was decisions. It was decisions. And you have a destiny, but you get to make decisions. And God is sovereign, but you're responsible. And so how you process your desires and your decisions right now is really critical.
So she has a baby, she names him Samson. "And the Lord blessed him". He grew biceps, triceps, lats and delts, and 'bout all the names of the quadriceps, calf muscles. And it's about all I know. "And the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in...". I pronounced that wrong. He was in this place. Now he's growing up, and it's going good, and God's hand is on this boy's life. He's a star football player. He learned to ride his bike at the age of three. Good things have happened. Then the pivot. Then the pivot.
Now, if you just watch my feet and don't think about it, you go like, "Well, what's the big deal about the pivot"? Well, see, you don't really know how big the move is until you walk it out. 'Cause if I walk this way and if I kept walking that way, it would be a different, a completely, but if I walk this way and all I did was this, it's a small move, but it sets the direction. And that's what's happening in your life. When you decide like how to speak to people, when you decide like whether or not you're gonna come back next weekend to church, it's a small decision, but it sets a direction. When you decide am I gonna tithe and put God first.
Oh, yeah, I'm gonna put tithing in the sermon series. I'm gonna put it in because it's a decision. It's the will of God for you to put Him first. And when you decide like I'm gonna do that, it sets a direction to seek God first. When you decide like, you know what, I'm gonna text my wife, I'm gonna text her and tell her I'm gonna be home at a certain time and I'm actually gonna be home at that time. It's a little decision, but it sets a direction. Because when you set a direction, you know, I can count on you and you're gonna do it. When you show up and eat with your family, that's not a big decision. We want big decisions, big things from God. No, no. It's the pivotal decisions. it's the little things that you do that set the direction for your day and for your decade, and even for generations to come.
Now, it's all going good until one day, Judges 14:1 says this: "Samson pivoted and went down to Timnah". Went down to Timnah. Not very far from where he was living at the time. "But when he got there, he saw a young Philistine woman". Who was he supposed to deliver his people from? So now, he's in love with what he's called to defeat. And he has a desire. Have you got some desires that don't look anything like Bible verses, just at least one or two? I do. He saw this young woman. This is not Delilah. That's the only woman we ever talk about in Samson's life. You know, combed his hair and set him up and got his eyes gouged out. That's in Chapter 16. We're not even close to that yet. This is just his pivotal moment.
Some of you are in a pivotal moment right now, deciding things. "And he came back and said to his father and mother," Verse 2, "I have seen a Philistine woman". Oh, by the way, the key verse in the Book of Judges says many different times, I don't know how many, but it says at least three times "they did what was right in their own eyes". And so Samson says, "I saw". With my senses. "I saw". My senses, my feelings, my emotions. "I saw a Philistine woman in Timnah. Now, get her for me as my wife". "And his father and mother replied".
Think how heartbreaking this is. He's on the path, he's growing, he's being blessed, Spirit of the Lord is stirring him. Oh, it's just like I thought it was gonna be, you know. I graduated college. I got the job. I did the thing. And then all of a sudden, life will just pivot on you. And the kid was so cute, so cute until they started saying words. So cute till they started saying, "Mine". You know, not just with children, but things in our life that all of a sudden like it's headed this way, it's headed this way, just like this, oh, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding", I hear you, Proverbs 3:5-6, "In all your ways acknowledge Him".
And, you know, I didn't drink the fermented drink like the angel said and I didn't eat the unclean food and so, and he's doing right and all of a sudden, Samson said, "I saw something in Timnah". Whoa. Come back. And now watch this. The destiny of the nation is threatened by Samson's bad decision. And the parents are like, "Please, please make a better decision. Please quit hanging out with those friends. Please, I'm telling you, it's dangerous. I'm telling you it's wrong". Because the Philistines were known for child sacrifice. Because the Philistines were known for worshipping other Gods. The Philistines were known for every abusive practices that were contrary to the word of God.
"And his father and mother replied, 'Isn't there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?'" But Samson had already made his decision. And now this child, I'm just thinking as a parent, who had so much promise, so much potential. Needs a haircut, but even that's intentional. Now, he's making the dumbest decision he could possibly make, to run to what he's supposed to be delivering the people from. And they can't convince him.
Now, this is where it gets tricky 'cause it's hard enough to make your own good decisions. But then you start throwing in the decisions that other people make that you can't affect or control no matter how hard you try. And everybody who writes parenting books, I wanna give 'em just one bad kid and see would they still write it the same way, because all this seven ways to raise your kid, with the, you know, from the Book of Ruth, whatever. I give you one demon child with a strong will and you will burn your own book. Get out of my face 'cause some stuff you can't control. Hello. He was determined. He was determined. He was already gone.
So they went with him. And this is the pivotal moment of my message. This is the part God showed me that got me so excited because everyone in here knows what it is to have the plan that you made, right, in your head, the model that you had that doesn't match life that you're living. And now all of a sudden Samson, whose name means son, Samson, who's radiant, Samson, who's blessed, Samson, who's strong, Samson, who carries the expectation of the deliverance of the nation on his shoulders is making a dumb decision. And it doesn't have to be a kid and it doesn't have to be a spouse, it doesn't have to be a relationship at all.
You are going to go in some situations in your life that you will pray about, plead about, and plan about, and none of it will work and you will be faced with the question, "Now what do I do"? I wanna suggest that when this happens that you consider the parentheses. There's a little thing that Samuel put into the record. And he was writing this record long after the events had happened. And all Samson's parents knew was this is trouble. If he marries her, it's gonna lead to all kinds of clashing values. If he goes through with this, cause that's all we know when we're in it is our plan. But watch how the text pivots with a parenthetical insert.
Have you studied any grammar books lately? The parentheses is when you wanna put something in the sentence, but the sentence makes sense without it. But you add it in to give additional information that might be helpful to the person reading it, but the sentence would make sense without it. But the parentheses in Judges 14:4 says, "His parents did not know that this was from the Lord". They knew Samson was from the Lord because the angel spoke it and her womb was barren so the only way it could have happened was that it was from the Lord. But now they've got to look at a disappointment. Look, it's no problem to look at your gifts, your blessings, and your strengths and say, "This is from the Lord. I praise You for another day. How great and mighty You are. And I lift Your name on high". But this. This.
Have you ever had to walk through a situation where you thought really, God, this? Like I didn't drink any wine and I didn't eat any unclean foods and I did everything the angel told me and now this. You're really gonna let this breakout in my life. And the author said, "Yeah, this was from the Lord because He was seeking an occasion".
The Hebrew really means He was picking a fight. God wanted to set His people free from the Phoenicians, from the Philistines and He was gonna do it, but He wanted to do it not through a good decision, but through a bad decision. So watch what He does because He's sovereign and almighty and the Lord is His name. And He is beyond understanding. And His ways no man can fathom. Watch what He does. He uses Samson's dumb decision to deliver a nation. Now if He did that for Samson, won't He do it for you? Won't He use this too? The more things that I can look at my life and say this is from the Lord.
Look, He didn't, give me my verse again, Verse 4. It's so good. And it's in parentheses because the sentence will make sense without it, but your life will not make sense without this. Try to make sense of it, you need to put a parentheses on it and be like there's something that the author knows that I don't know yet. And He who began... I'm looking for whoever God gave me this sermon for 'cause it couldn't have just been me.
Touch somebody, say, "Put a purpose on it. Put a purpose on it". Because when you find yourself beyond your understanding, you got to pivot to the purpose. God, I don't like this right now. I don't get this right now. I can't explain this right now. I can't rationalize it right now. But if You started it, You'll finish it. There is power in the pivot. There is power in praise. And there is a purpose in your situation. There's a purpose in it. There's a purpose in it. God's trying to pick a fight with the devil and He wants to break some things free and shut some things down and get some things through. And he's gonna use this too. This is from the Lord.
I'm making a decision right now, a pivotal decision. I'm gonna turn from facing this and I'm facing this. I'm gonna turn from what I don't understand to the God who according to the mystery of His will has predestined, according to His good pleasure that all things work together for His purpose. I'm serving the God, who can take an instrument of death called a Roman cross, hang on it, and then get down in the ground and come forth talking about I am resurrection power and I have the keys of death, hell, and the grave.
I hear the Spirit of God saying, "Put a purpose on it. I know you're going through some pain and I know your past was kind of rough and you made a lot of mistakes, but put a purpose on it". God, would You use even the dumb stuff that I did to deliver Your purpose? This is bigger than me. This is bigger than what I feel right now. This is bigger than what my mind can fathom. This is bigger than what my heart can know. This is bigger than my senses. This is bigger than this setback. This is bigger. This is bigger. This is bigger. He called me, He chose me, and I'm gonna trust Him that this is from the Lord.
With a parenthetical insert, the NIV Translation Committee decided to let us know that there are some things that don't make sense in your life, but the parentheses, that's where you see the purpose. You just gotta pivot and trust that it's there even when you can't fill it in yet. I don't have to explain why. People in this room had children die, husbands that left them, addictions that were passed onto them. I'm not talking about whether God did that or not. We know that humans make decisions, but God is a bigger God than you've given Him credit for and He's above every human decision. God is bigger than human decisions. And if Samson didn't marry that woman, the one that he wasn't supposed to marry.
Yeah, I know it's crazy 'cause we teach like if you make good choices, God can use your life. I'm saying this too was from the Lord. He was looking for something. He's looking for something that He can work through and He'll even use the dumb stuff. 'Cause if he didn't marry this woman, right, when he was going down to get her and to pay the dowry for her with his parents and killed the lion and ripped the lion apart and then came back by after he came back for the wedding and saw honey in the lion's carcass and gave the honey, which he wasn't supposed to do 'cause he wasn't supposed to touch anything dead and gave it to his parents to lick some and then went to the wedding and sat around the table with 30 boys talking about I got a riddle for you.
Out of the strong came something to eat and out of the eater came something to eat and out of the strong came something sweet. If you can solve my riddle, I'll give you 30 sets of linen clothing. But if you can't solve it, you're gonna give me 30 sets of clothing. And the boys got to his wife and they were like tell us the riddle or we're gonna kill your whole family. And then she was like tell me the riddle, Samson. Tell me the riddle. And then he said okay, well, I'll tell it to you, but don't tell it to them. But then she told it to them and then they solved the riddle. And then he had to go to Ashkelon to kill 30 men and beat 'em up and kill 'em, to take their clothes, to bring 'em back because of his dumb decision. But that's what set him on a course to be able to have an opportunity to then go back home.
And after the wedding, he went back home and he was so mad at his wife for betraying him that he went back home and didn't even stay with her. And by the time he got back, she'd been married to another man because his father-in-law betrayed him because he figured you'll never wanna marry her now after what she did to you. But he came back and got so mad that he took 300 foxes and tied their tails together in pairs, lit 'em on fire, sent 'em loose in the Philistine fields. And when they tore up the fields, the Philistines were mad, but Samson killed them because he was strong.
Now, he never would've killed them if they hadn't hurt him. And he never would have been hurt by them if he hadn't made the wrong decision. And so it goes to show that God is using everything. If he never would've set the foxes loose, they never would've come to Judah and tied him up and tried to deliver him so he could break 'em free and kill a thousand of them with a jawbone of a donkey. If it never would've happened the way it happened, it couldn't be what it is.
So stop looking at what it was and ask God what He wants it to be. God wants to use the dumb stuff too. You can't control it anyway. Spirit of the Lord is on you. The Spirit of the Lord is on you. If the lion comes to attack you, He will give you the ability to rip it open because the Spirit of the Lord is on you. And it's a pivotal decision that you make when you find yourself in these disappointing situations where it seems like you can't win, whether I'm going to believe that there is a bigger picture or if I'm gonna to minimize God's presence to the level of my understanding.
Right here, right now, let's turn it around. Let's turn it around and instead of trying to tell God what's best for us and instead of trying to do what's right in our own eyes, let's turn it around. Instead of groveling in the guilt of things that are already over, I'm telling you, God uses the weirdest things about you. God uses that big nose that you hate and that little habit that you have. He uses that 'cause when He delivers you from it, you can be a testimony and He's gonna use that too. This is from the Lord. How? I don't know. I don't know the plan. But when I don't know the plan, I pivot to the purpose.