TD Jakes - The Legacy of Fatherhood
Because he sees you as his child and you can come boldly to the throne of grace and find grace to help in the time of need. And when God got ready to make his first son, his first-made son, he created Adam out of the dust of the earth with his own hand. Everything else he created with his mouth by speaking. But when it came to man, he formed him from the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life. And that's when divinity met humanity. Male and female he created them and they are different.
Now you must then begin to understand if you take a flawed man and you take a flawed woman and you put them into a marriage, the question becomes can you survive long enough to make this work? Which brings me to my text today. In the text today, the reason I wanted to use Jacob to preach about fatherhood is because Jacob was a jerk. Yeah, yeah, Jacob was a jerk. Make a note of that. Jacob was a jerk, yeah. And I chose him to preach about fatherhood because I want you to know that you can start out a jerk and end up a dad. Y'all ain't gonna talk to me today. You can start out misguided, confused, doing dumb stuff, making mistakes and still end up a great dad. Just because you came from dysfunction doesn't mean you can't learn to function. Jacob was a jerk.
Now there are degrees to jerkhood. Okay. His grandfather was a jerk, but not nearly as much of a jerk as Abraham was a jerk. He lied about Sarah. He made some mistakes in his life. He made some miss choices. He carried Terah and he didn't need to carry him. He carried Lot and he didn't need to carry him. He had to shed a lot of things along the way. When God called Abraham out of Mesopotamia, he was not the man of faith that he became later in his life. He had to get rid of his father-in-law. He had to get rid of Lot. It was a journey. It was a process in his life. Lot's wife had to die. He had to make some choices and little by little he had to become a better man and even then he had a concubine and a whole another set of families that came, we don't wanna talk about that, that grew up out of his life and he still was able to get Sarah pregnant through a God given seed and produce a holy lineage out of a flawed man.
You can be a reject, make mistakes, have failed, been in prison, been locked up, done dirty deals, got somebody pregnant, been on the wrong side of the tracks and still your life is recyclable. It is possible for you to be healed and restored and build your way, and work your way, and forgive your way, and cry your way, and apologize your way into an effective relationship. You don't have to allow the gravitational pull of your past to pull you further and further into the abyss of obscurity. You can resist that gravitational pull and rise above the vicissitudes of life and turn your life around. I feel like shouting. I'm a witness. You're a witness. We're a witness. Nobody comes here without a story to tell and it's just resisting your story and pulling out your, borrow from Abraham Lincoln, better angels and began to evolve and Abraham did that and eventually God rewarded him with a son. But he was old. He was old before God rewarded him with his son. Maybe God let Abraham get old before he gave him a son to give him time to be a better image to his son.
Now Abraham is the father of the faith, okay. He is the father of faith. He is the father and the progenitor of the three biggest religions in the world today. All trace their roots back to Abraham whether you're a Christian, whether you're a Jew, or whether you're Muslim, you all trace your roots back to Abraham. And Abraham had some issues. Okay. He had some issues. In fact, all the men in the Bible had issues. And the women in the Bible had issues too. And yet it is possible for the story to continue. Abraham was a liar. He had a son who was a liar. Abraham lied about his wife and his son Isaac lied about his wife in the same way in the same place at the same time, even though he wasn't born when his father lied. He still told his father's lie without having experienced his father's lie because he was a reflection of his father. Can I go deeper with it?
So Abraham was a liar... and Isaac wasn't even born yet. Then Isaac was born and Isaac had a bad wife like his father did. He married a fine woman like his father did because he ended up marrying his mama. And most men end up married to somebody who has some reflection or their mother and he married somebody who was like his mother and she was fine. She was so fine that Isaac was afraid to tell anybody that she was his wife. And he told her instead that she was his sister and lied just like his father did without learning the lie. It passed down through the legacy. Oh God, help me Jesus. The legacy of his father and now he has told the same lie that his father did. Later, he will undig all of his father's wells because he is continuing the legacy of his father. He will dig out those wells.
Now Abraham is considered a righteous man. He is the father of faith. In fact, God said Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him as righteousness. That Abraham had so much faith that it cancelled out all his mistakes. God said I don't care what he did. I don't care how he lied. Abraham is still my friend 'cause Abraham believed me. And I will give him righteousness credit. I'll give him a 7.0 score. I'll give him a score that he didn't earn because he believes me and it's counted unto him as righteousness. And because of that righteousness, Abraham is declared righteous. Read the book of Romans. Abraham is declared righteous. Romans said they imputed righteousness unto him. They imparted righteousness unto him. Isaac inherited that righteousness and walked into that righteousness. And then he married Rebekah and her side of the family got in the bloodline. And they were tricksters and schemers and con artists. And Rebekah had a cousin, had an uncle named Laban, who was a trickster and a con artist and a liar.
And my mama said be careful who you mix your seed with 'cause you can't never get it out. And so Isaac mixed his seed with Rebeckah and they had Jacob. And all of the generational curses that were in their bloodline got in Abraham's bloodline and produced Jacob. And so Jacob was a trickster and a con artist and a liar and a whole lot of stuff. And he had a whole lot of problems and had a whole lot of... his name means trickster. His name means con artist. Jacob would tell a lie before he told the truth. He was slick. He was greasy like his Uncle Laban. He was a liar like his mama and he was Abraham's grandchild. What a combination. Wherever he went he stirred up some stuff. He stole the birthright. He ripped off his position. He made a mess of every situation. He fell out with his brother. They didn't speak for over 20 years.
There was a mess in his life. He went up on the mountain top and got into a fight with God. He had to fight with God 'til God crippled him and God told him, "Your name is Israel. Your name is Israel. You're not who you are acting like. There's a prince down in you". Israel means prince. There's a prince down in you and you don't understand who you are but I'm gonna walk you through it anyway. And so God says to him, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob but your name shall be called Israel because you are a prince and you have power with God". And yet, years later when God would meet Moses at the burning bush, God will say, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob". Not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. So even though God said his name shall no longer be called Jacob, eventually God called him Jacob. 'Cause Jacob had issues. And yet Jacob was the son that produce the 12 tribes of Israel. Abraham produced the seed. Isaac passed the seed. Jacob multiplied the seed. Joseph moved the seed. You hear what I'm saying? Everybody has a role to play in order to become the man that you're supposed to be.
And Jacob lives his life and he lives his life like all men live their lives. With strengths and weaknesses and rights and wrongs and powers and failures and flaws and human moments and divine moments and his life is like helter skelter. Sometimes up and sometimes down. Sometimes right and sometimes wrong. Sometimes in and sometimes out. But he's still God's man. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And in my text he has come down to the end of his life. And the death angel is standing over in the corner. And he has come to take him away. And it stood there and he held death at bay. And the Bible said that Jacob sat up in the bed. Israel sat up in the bed and strengthened himself. He said I'm not leaving 'til all my sons gather around the bed. They are my legacy.
And so when the curtain rose back and the scene begins, we see not the young man Jacob. Not the trickster Jacob. Not the confused and angry Jacob. Not the Jacob who wrestled with God on the mountain Jacob. But in the old days, we see Jacob. The Jacob who had lost his son, Joseph. And found his son, Joseph. The Jacob who had gone through such deep depression that he said my sorrows have brought me down to the grave. Had withstood the depression and lived to see the restoration with his son. When Jacob walks into Egypt, and he sees Joseph, his son, it is like a love story. Because Jacob had spent years of depression. Because they told him his son was dead. And when they told him that his son was alive, he came to Egypt. And the reconciliation was a love story of the Old Testament. The love story of your life is to connect to your son. And he found him. Hmm. And he found him. His legacy. His future. And once he got it back, he never lost it again.
Get your child back. I don't care what you have to do. I don't care how angry he is. I don't care how upset he is. I don't care how she cries. I don't care how she rejects you. I don't care how they put up a fight trying to act like they don't care. They do care. Fight for them and get them back. Find your son, find your daughter, and connect with them. And so the scene looks sad to you because the curtain rolls back and the old man is in the bed, but it's really not a sad story. It's a moment of victory because all of his sons are gathered around the bed. You know what that means? That means everything that the devil tries to steal from him as a man, God gave it back to him. And he told death wait in the corner. I'll be with you directly. And he sat up in the bed and he strengthened himself.
And the dying old man prophesied to Dan, and Naphtali, and Isaacar, and Benjamin, and Judah, and Simeon, and Levi. They were all gathered around the bed. And he was telling them who they were. And when he finished, he said, "Let me tell you who I am. My grandfather was Abraham". Whew! Scuse me, I'm sorry. Whew! "My grandfather was Abraham and they buried him right here. His mama was Sarah and they buried her over there. My father was Isaac and they buried him over there and my mama was Rebekah and they buried her, Rachel, they buried her right there". And he went down through the line and he said, "I'm about to join my fathers. But before I go, as I join my fathers, I speak to your future. You shall prevail. Benjamin, you shall raven as a wolf. In the morning, you shall devour the prey. And the evening you shall divide the spoils. Judah, a lawgiver shall not depart from your feet until Shiloh comes. Out of your loins shall come Shiloh," which is Jesus, and when he got finished talking to them, the old man pulled his legs up in the bed.
And laid back out on the pillow. And went to the land of his fathers. He went to the land of his fathers. Because it took him all of his life to be a great father. Any woman that'll be honest, I tell you it takes your whole life to be a good mama. It takes your whole life. You don't be a good mama 'cause you had a baby and you came home with a carriage. You're not a good mama just 'cause you dropped him off at school. It takes your whole life to be a good mama. By time you are good mama, your knees are given out and your back is aching. And then they start calling you stuff like Big Mama, and Great Mama, and Grand Mama. It takes your whole life to be a good mama. So if it takes your whole life to be a good mama, give us some time. Give us some time to be a good father. If we could celebrate you while you grow, celebrate us while we grow too. Even though we're growing in different areas. What was easy for you was hard for me, but what was hard for you, I got you on that. And so the art to stand together is to strengthen ye one another.
And so on this Father's Day, I want to say to the fatherless, don't give up on yourself 'cause your story is complicated. I want to say to the mothers, don't give up on the fathers because his stories are conflicted. I want to say to the sons, you're not as angry at your daddy as you are hurt. Stop taking the cheap way out and acting like you're angry when the truth is you're hurt. Be strong enough to come to him hurt and broken and find out how he's broken. Because wherever you are broken, he's broken close to it too. And you'll never understand yourself until you understand your father. Because you are the legacy. You are the legacy of fatherhood. There's something in his secrets that's in the cells of your skin. Something of his strength that's in the gleam in your eye. And you need to find him and understand him. And realize that you'll never forgive the flaws in you 'til you forgive the flaws in him. This is the legacy of fatherhood.
And so I thought to myself on this Father's Day, I would not preach about all the perfect men with all the perfect grades, with all the perfect lives, with all the perfect habits, who'd never broke a rule, who are honored in their community, who never made a mistake. I thought I would peel past all of that phony camouflage and deal with the you that cries at night and wonders why you're even in the world. And wonders does anybody understand the pain you feel? And wonders if you can carry the load of the weight of being you while you carry the load of helping them be them. I want to speak to the you that seldom gets fed, seldom gets watered. It seldom gets touched. I want to speak to the part of you that wants to fall apart, but if you would fall who would catch ya? And tell you on this Father's Day, you can simply say:
Our Father, which art in heaven. Hallowed be your name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us. I'm so hungry. I'm hungry as a man. I'm hungry as a father. I'm hungry as a son. I'm hungry as a worker. Give us this day. I'm so hungry. I'm feeding people, but I'm hungry. Give us this, our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses. I got some mess in my life. As I forgive those who trespass against me. For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory. Forever. This is my legacy for my son and my daughter. And my grandchildren, forever and ever. I need you now like I've never needed you before, forever and ever, amen.