TD Jakes - Spiritual Fermentation
And so it was amazing for me that, in the same year, the first time I made my first trip to the motherland, to the land of my ancestors, when I first got off the plane, to hear the gentlemen say in a deep, African accent, "Welcome home," was absolutely staggering, and it was amazing because, in that same year, I made my first trip to my spiritual ancestry, to Jerusalem. It was the first time these Ole West Virginia feet had walked down cobblestone streets and smelled bread baking early in the morning and watched Jerusalem open up and come to life much as it would in the days of Christ's time, and I searched it through. I went everywhere I could go. I went down to where the pool of Bethesda is thought to have been. I went down to the Sea of Galilee. I set my feet in the waters of the Jordan, and I went to a place called Megiddo, where Armageddon is supposed to be, leaped out of the car over in Jordan and ran out in the mud to stand and look around at the amphitheater, a natural amphitheater of mountains all around, just to see what was going on.
I went in the Temple Mount, which is now controlled not by the Jews but the Muslims, and they told me to take off my shoes as I went in there, and I went inside the Temple Mount and had the experience of walking up into what would have been the holy of holies only to find Abraham's rock, the place where he would offer up Isaac, and it was then that I realized that the Bible isn't wide: it's deep, that the same place that Abraham offers up Isaac is in the same area of where Christ is to be crucified, so it's not about going from place to place. It's about digging deeper. So you stand in a contemporary place with a contemporary shovel and dig your way through the epistles and dig your way into the prophets and dig your way into the Old Testament because the history of our faith is in layers.
I walked down to the wailing wall, the wailing wall, where all the Jews go to pray, and the rabbis stand in front of the wailing wall and rock back and forth, placing their prayer requests into the crevices of the rock and rocking back and forth. They rock back and forth. I asked the guide, "Why are they rocking back and forth"? They said, "Because they believe that God is a moving God, and if you're going to come into his presence, you have to be moving in his presence because God is always moving. He's always rocking. He's always doing". And I said, "Can I go"? And with the women on one side and the men on the other, I came to the wailing wall and had the most amazing experience. I burst into tears because the wailing wall is the last remnant of Herod's temple. The wailing wall is reminiscent of Solomon's Temple, and when I looked at the faith of so much history layered and still standing there in the rock, and I'm standing at the rock, I'm standing at the rock where Jesus had stood, I'm standing on the spot where the threshing floor of Ornan was, where Solomon's Temple was, where all of history had collided in that moment, and I just started crying.
And I'm surrounded by Jews, and they're watching a Christian cry at their wailing wall, and, suddenly, I recognize or hope they recognize that "Your Jehovah is my Jesus," that "Your Elohim is my Prince of Peace," that "Your Bright and Morning Star is my Lily of the Valley," that "We are kin" and that "We are connected," and that "We have something in common though our perspectives are different, for you stand, waiting on a Messiah to come, and I stand, looking back at a Messiah who visited, and you recognized him not, and, yet we all wail at the wailing wall," for even though we recognize Jesus as the Messiah, that doesn't mean that we're not waiting for him to come too. We wait, and we weep, and we rock. To my brothers and my sisters, ladies and gentlemen, saints and friends, keep on rocking, keep on weeping, and for God's sake, keep on waiting.
The thing that separates wine from anything else that you might drink like Kool-Aid, water, or anything else, is that wine-making is a process that could take years. And sodas and drinks can be made very quickly, but wine takes time, and the older it is, the better it gets. The reason we use wine as a metaphor, for the book "Crushing," is because wine takes time, and I'm talking about taking time to an era of people who don't believe that anything takes time. In other words, I'm talking to a microwave crowd about a coal-stove recipe. I remember my grandmother's coal stove that sat on the back porch, and you had to put coal in it, and she'd fry chicken in cast-iron skillets and baked cakes until they were standing that high, and I wonder, even to this day, how they regulated the temperature in a coal stove. I remember her making cakes without a mixer, but she'd take a spoon and turn it flat and beat the butter, and I can see her arms shaking, baking a cake, and she did better with a spoon than I can with a mixer, and I'm good with a mixer. Grandma knew that the best cakes took time, and she was willing to put in the time and the effort and the sweat to get the cake to rise to the place that it needs to be, and so it is with the wine.
Winemakers know that good wine takes time. It starts with the soil you plant the seed in and the grape that grows from it, and the grape accepting the fact that it was raised to be crushed. I think we need to teach our children a little differently that you are raised to be crushed. Instead of teaching them that you are raised to be applauded and you're raised to be exalted and you're raised to be lauded, I think we should tell 'em that "You are raised to be crushed, and when you come to the crushing place, do not believe for one moment that it is the end," because the crushing of the grape is not the end of the grape. It is the transition from one era to the next. What I am talking about is process. When I'm talking about crushing, I'm talking about process. I'm talking about submitting yourself to the process because that is respect. To commit yourself to the process means you respect the artistry of the calling. When you put the work in and the labor in and the commitment in and all of the sacrifice into it, that means you respect it.
I wouldn't go down to the Cowboys Stadium and ask Jerry Jones to put me in a uniform and, just because I watched football, think I could play football. That's disrespectful to the people who have worked hours and years, getting ready and training all their life to become excellent in what they do. Process is respect, to recognize that, just, it's not supposed to happen fast because, if it happens fast, it will not last, that, that is slow-broiled and slow-cooked and cooked overnight and smoked on a smoker until in the morning has a richness and a flavor that you just cannot get in a microwave.
You have to understand that, and if you want microwave success, go on and do it quick, and you'll go up quick, and you'll come down quick, but if you really respect the artistry and the technique and the style and the fashion and the depth and the anointing and the unction and the power and the collaboration between the spirit and the man, and the man and the spirit, and the spirit and the man, until you can't tell the difference between the talent and the tool of the master and how he uses it in such synchronization that you don't know whether it was the hand of Gideon or the sword of the Lord that defeated the enemy, that means that you wanna fit so good in the hands of God that, at a moment's notice, he can use you anytime and anywhere, and in order to be that kind of good, that means you have to go through the process and embrace it, embrace the process, not resent it, not feel betrayed or denied because it didn't happen as quick as the person next to you because you are not comparing yourself with the person next to you.
That is not the goal to be like the person next to you. You are not running against him. You're running against the hope of your calling and what God wants to do in your life and what he has to take you through to produce what he is trying to produce in your life, and that means you have to listen at what he's saying, even when he's talking about waiting while you're talking about winning. You have to respect the process because, if you do, when the process is over, you will last longer as wine than you would have as a grape. It's amazing when you start talking about the life of Joseph and all of the turmoil that he went through and how his father made him a coat of many colors which was really prophetic to him becoming the Prince of Egypt. It was also prophetic to the multiplicity of a God who is able to love all colors and kinds and stitch them together and make one garment and become the "Dwell amongst us" God, and Joseph wore his coat, and his brothers stripp him of his coat. They stripp him of his coat, but they couldn't strip him of his calling. They threw him in a pit, and they said he was dead.
The Midianites came along and bought him for 20 pieces of silver because God was using Joseph's life as a shadow of Jesus who would be rejected of his brethren, who would be thrown into a pit, who would be sold for 30 pieces of silver, and Joseph doesn't know it, but he is acting out what Jesus will fulfill, and then he goes from that to Potiphar's house and rises to a place of power only to be lied on by Potiphar's wife and have to flee and end up in prison, and then Joseph, the young man who grew up with the coat of many colors, ends up with stripes in a prison, locked up behind bars, and even there, he excelled. And you know all of this, but what you might not realize is that that is only a small fraction of his life, that he spent more years free than he did bound, that he spent more years as the Prince of Egypt than he did as a prisoner in the jail cell.
And what you have to understand, the process may seem long while you're going through it, but if you will go through the process when you get to the end of it, you'll be a prince much longer than you'll be in process, and God is trying to fix you so that you will last, and when the wine-maker makes the wine, he makes it in such a way that, when they bring it to the table, they tell you first what year it was made, heh-heh, and the best wines have been preserved for hundreds of years, and the longer it lasts, the more it costs, and if you want to be expensive in the kingdom, exotic in the master's hand, if you want to be the kind of wine that is prophesied at the marriage at Cana, that he saved the best wine for last, then all of that is predicated upon how well you endure the process.
When God sends Jacob's family to Egypt, it is not just to get bread. It is not just to get food. He is trying to transition a family into a nation, and so Egypt becomes an incubator. It becomes a womb where God turns Jacob's family, big family though it was, 70 people, into millions of people, and he fermented them through the slavery of Egypt. The atrocities and the abuses and the 400 years of agony was how God incubated them. So they go into Egypt, a family wanting bread, and they come out of Egypt, a nation carrying gold. Do you hear what I'm saying to you? In order to turn family thinking into nation mentalities, it takes time. It takes time. Ten generations went past. So many generations went past that they had forgotten how to worship their God because they had so assimilated into the culture of Egypt that much of their understanding of who God was had drifted away, but with the limited residue of faith that they had left, they cried out onto God, and he still heard them.
Though they had forgotten what Abraham had taught them and what Isaac had shown them, and Jacob had long since been buried, he still heard them. I know he did because he told Moses, "I have heard the cry of my children, Israel. Go down there and tell Pharaoh to let my people go". You're talking about time's up? That was God's time's up. That was God saying, "The process is over. The fermentation is completed. The wine is made, and I'm ready to bring it out". And when God gets ready to bring you out, nobody, no matter how powerful they are, no matter what they have or what they own or what they drive, can stop God from bringing you out, and even though Pharaoh saddled up 600 chosen chariots and decided to go get them and try to drive them back, he could not drive back what God had loosed.
And there they stand at the Red Sea with Pharaoh chasing in behind them and mountains surrounding them, and they think that they are in a place of hopelessness and despair because they can't swim the Red Sea, and they can't escape across the mountains, and the horses are coming faster than their feet can run, and their children are laden down with the wealth of Egypt, and there they stand in total dismay, Moses included, saying, "God, what am I supposed to do"? And God says to him, "Why stand ye here, gazing at me? Stretch forth your rod".
And when Moses stretched forth his staff, when he stretched forth what he had, the wind started blowing and the waters went hither and thither, and they walked across on dry ground because it was time for the wine to come out. It was time that the family had become a nation. It was time that the purpose of God had been completed, and he brought them out by his mighty power, and he brought them out on dry ground. They didn't even have to get mud on their feet. They walked out on dry ground. It was almost as if God had paved the bottom of the riverbank so that they could have comfort while they exited. They came out on dry ground, but when Pharaoh tried to come through the way that God had made for his people, Pharaoh drowned.
See, what God has for you is for you, and nobody else can take it, so don't waste time arguing with people who are trying to get what you got because nobody can take what is yours. If it's really yours, it's yours, and no one can get it, and when Pharaoh tried to get it, he drowned in the Red Sea. He drowned in the Red Sea 'cause God stopped the wind from blowing, and the waters collapsed and covered him up, and Pharaoh and his horses and his chariots drowned in the Red Sea, and Miriam grabbed the tambourine and began to beat it to the glory of God, and the women began to dance around the mountain, and as they danced, the bodies of the Egyptians were washing up on the bank, but God did not just close the Red Sea to drown Pharaoh or his horses or his men. One of the reasons that God closed the Red Sea is to keep them from going back. Once you get out, never go back.