TD Jakes - Singing In The Dark
Now instead of the ark of the covenant being brought into captivity, the people of the covenant have gone into captivity. I don't know which one is more astounding, that the ark of the covenant would go into captivity up under the Philistines or that the people of the covenant would go up under captivity, Babylonian captivity. And it was not till they got to the rivers of Babylon that they wept, and they wept because they said, "How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land"?
And I want to talk to you about this tonight because I think it's important; give me a little time with this, let me play around with this just a little bit. You have to understand that music itself is captivity, the way music is written, it is written in such a way that you have a signature on the music that tells you what key the song is in. And when the music signature tells you what key the song is in, it holds you captive to what you can do in that key.
The notes define the parameters with which the melody can flow in contrast with the key signature. The key signature lets you know whether you're in B-flat or F or G, or where you are, and what is flat and what is sharp in that key, and it sets the stage for you to function in a particular way, because music at its best is captivity; out of 88 keys, it's telling you which one to touch and which one to stay away from, what you can use and what you can't use. The key signature sets the guardrails on what you can do in that key. Are you hearing what I'm saying? And so it sets the condition for the melody, and whoever is writing the melody, they can put all the notes in as long as they obey the signature, because the key signature tells you what is lawful to do in that situation.
So when you understand that about music, you begin to understand that music flows with laws and principles, and the key signature sets the tone of what all you can do in that particular key. And you can break out of it, you can modulate, you can move, you can digress, you can go up, you can go down, but you have to do it strategically because there are parameters with which you can move. Now if music has laws and people have laws and situations have laws, that means that we don't get to be lawless. There are certain laws that you cannot break even though you have freedom; for instance, the law of gravity. You can be as free as you want to be, you can be free go where you want to go, do what you wanna do, but that doesn't mean you can defy the law of gravity. If you jump up, you coming back down again.
Whether you're Black, whether you're White, whether you're rich, whether you're poor, whether you've got long hair, short hair, store-bought hair, any kind of hair, you still have to obey certain rules and certain principles, those cannot be broken. Now they have asked them to sing the Lord's song in a strange land, and now Judah is saying, "How can we sing the Lord's song"? Even though Nebuchadnezzar has been ruthless, even though he's been mighty, even though they've been exiled there, and Nebuchadnezzar has been there for 18 years, and even though they've been in power and in control, and done whatever they wanted to do whatever they wanted to do, when they asked them to sing the Lord's song, the children of Israel said, "I could do it if I was in Jerusalem, but I can't do it in Babylon, because I'm in captivity". And it occurs to me that the way we worship, for some of us, depends on where we are.
Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying to you. The way we worship depends on where we are. I'm not talking about geographical locations, I'm talking about where you are in life, what's going on with you at that time, whether it's a good season or a bad season, whether you are captive or free, whether you feel blessed, or whether you're in the mood for it or not in the mood for it. And when the conditions are not right and the key signature isn't right, you don't know how to get out of key, out of pitch, out of the range; you don't know how to defy the environment that you're locked into and break into the next dimension, and you think it is impossible to sing the Lord's song because you're in a strange land. And I want to teach on this tonight because we are in a strange land.
Now, yes, we are still in our country, and I hope you're in yours too, many people are not, but that is not the only issue. You can be in your own country and still be in a strange land. you can be on your own job and still be in a strange land. Thank you for the three people that understand what I'm saying. You can be in your own house and be in a strange land. Is there anybody in here that knows what I'm talking about, what it means to be in a strange land? If you are spiritual, you recognize that we are in a strange land right now; we are in strange times, we are in a strange place, we are in strange situations. We are in a time where the enemy is defying us to sing the Lord's song, because we're in a strange land, at a strange time, dealing with strange issues and strange plagues and strange news and strange issues, and it's not just what's happening globally, it's what's happening in your own life. I don't know whether you've noticed it or not, but hell has turned up the heat.
Oh, y'all ain't gonna say nothing to me. I don't know whether you realize it or not, but hell has loosed new demons. Some of you, 40 of 50 years old, you never saw the demons you're dealing with right now, you're doing hand-to-hand combat and the enemy's attacking you in places you've never been attacked before, and you find yourself in a strange land and you're almost in a fog, in your mind, in your emotions, in your spirit, and the enemy wants you to lose your song. He wants you to lose your song because your song is your strength, it is your joy, it is your peace, it is your power. He wants you to lose your song until you is looking like you're standing outside of your own life looking through the window at your own life like you're really not there.
It's so strange. People acting strange, friends are acting strange, relatives are acting strange, strange situations breaking out in your life, you're feeling kinda strange in your body, everybody's walking around in a fog. It almost feels like your life is a movie that played late at night when you was a child, and you're having to deal with situations you'd never had to deal with before and you're trying to figure out, "What do I need to kill it with? What does it take for me to get a breakthrough? What do I and who do I need to call? Where do I need to go"? And you don't understand that the power of life and death is in your tongue, that the power of life and death is in your mouth, that if you would open your mouth and cry out, that God would bring yokes off of your life and the off of your spirit and off of your soul, that you don't have to submit to the enemy just because there's a strangeness in the atmosphere, you don't have to succumb to the strangeness around you, you don't have to hang your harp by the willow tree, and sit down and cry, and forget everything you know.
You might be in Babylon, but you are still Jewish; you might be in Babylon, but you're still a child of God; you might be backed up on your car payments, but you're still washed in the blood; you might be in foreclosure, but you still got the power of the Holy Ghost, and until you learn how to use what you do have against what you don't have you'll never get out of captivity. And so what I'm teaching you tonight is how to break out of captivity, because the enemy is sending captivity to shut your mouth, but the devil is a lie: There's a breakthrough coming for the people of God if you learn how to ignore the environment around you, and open your mouth and sing, open your mouth and shout, open your mouth and praise God, open your mouth and give God glory. That was not the case for Babylon, they sat by the willow trees, and they wept when they remembered Zion.
You see, they had attached their song to a city, they had attached their song to a place. You'd be surprised at the people who can only sing when they're in love. Sit there, I'm gonna step on your toe, just sit right there, I'm coming. They can't sing through a divorce, they can't sing through a crisis, they can't sing through loneliness, they can't sing through a test, and all of sudden, instead of things getting better, they prolong the captivity because they lose themselves to their environment, and they don't know how to sing the Lord's song in a strange land. But I came to tell you tonight that the land does not control the Lord. Y'all don't hear what I'm saying but I'm going to keep driving till I get it home. The land does not control the Lord.
If God is God in Jerusalem, he's God in Babylon; if God is God when things are going well, he's God when things are going bad; if God is God with you on the mountaintop, he's still God when he's in the valley. And if you would break past your environment and what you see around you, and the strangeness of the time, and the weird things people say to you, and the weird things that they're doing right now, and the weird things that are jumping off in your life, the Lord sent me here tonight to teach a class to arm you with the weapons that are necessary to get the breakthrough that you need to move into the area that you're trying to move in, because what God has for you, you have to release it out of your mouth. And when you open your mouth and you begin to rejoice unto God, you get a breakthrough.
Wait, I want to explain something. See, when you try out for the choir or the praise team, they do auditions, but when God says, "Sing," he doesn't do an audition, because God is not saying, "Sing," according to how melodious your voice is and how well trained you are and how well you can do riff. When the Bible says, "Sing unto the Lord a new song," he doesn't talk to you about what key you're in and whether you can hold a tune or not because God is not measuring the song by the melody, he's measured it by the intensity. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying. This is an equal opportunity thing.
Now when you talk about singing on stage, some folks got it, some folks don't; some folks can, some folks won't. But when it comes to singing before the Lord, even the folks who sing well don't have any more opportunity to please him than the people who sing out of tune, because the kind of singing that God is talking about you doing has nothing to do with pitch and tone and frame and structure and order. It is a defiance, it is a defiance to sing the Lord's song in a strange land. It doesn't matter about the key, flat or sharp, off-pitch, on-pitch, it is defiance. To sing the Lord song says, "I refuse to succumb to the environment around me, I'm going to bless the Lord at all times and praise him anyway".
In fact, you won't get out till you learn to sing, you won't get a breakthrough until you learn how to sing the Lord's song in a strange land. Crying won't get you out of trouble, weeping won't get you out of trouble, going into depression won't get you out of trouble, throwing up your hands won't get you out of trouble, but I dare you to open your mouth and lift your voice and started singing out to God. God does something when you sing a song unto him. She can be singing in A, and she can be singing in C, and he can be singing in F, and together it just sounds like noise, but that's okay. He says he'll make the noise, make a joyful noise unto God, make a joyful what? Noise unto God, because God says, "What blesses me is not your talent, it is your spirit, it is your heart, it is your defiance".
Your singing breaks through something, pierces something in the spirit world, gives you a breakthrough over the Nebuchadnezzar that's trying to hold you captive. Everybody in here has a Nebuchadnezzar that drags you into captivity, that changes your mood, that brings tears to your eyes, that every time you try to stand up, Nebuchadnezzar comes along and wants to bring you back into captivity, and defy you, and make fun of you and say, "Where is your God now? Where is your song now? How you gonna sing now? How are you gonna praise him now"? So every now and then, I don't just praise God because he's good, I don't just praise God because he's great, I don't just praise God because he's... Sometimes, I praise God just to get on the devil's nerves, to let him know, "I'm still going to praise him".
Everything might not be right, all my bills might not be paid, everything might not be in order, I may not even be happy, but in the midst of all of this, if you think I'm gonna lay here and cry and hang my heart by the willow tree, I got news for you tonight. I, oh God, I gotta quit, I don't wanna get that far, whew. I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually, it'll be in my mouth in Babylon, it'll be in my mouth in Jerusalem, it'll be in my mouth in Judea, it'll be in my mouth in crisis, it'll be in my mouth when the bills are paid, it'll be in my mouth when you walk off and leave me, it'll be in my mouth when my feelings are hurt, it'll be in my mouth when I lose my job, it'll be in my mouth when I got to move in with my mama. It'll still be in my mouth because I'm a soldier.
That they left Jerusalem in dire straits. The crisis is momentous, it is not comfortable, it is painful. They are away from their homeland, they are away from everything that is familiar, they're away from everything that defines them but they are not away from God. David said, "If I make my bed in hell, thou art there". He said, "If I take the wings of the morning, and ascend to the uttermost parts of the earth," thou art there. I want to talk to somebody whose life is inconsistent, and everything around you is inconsistent and you can't find anything solid to nail into. Everything around you is inconsistent, the only thing that is consistent is God; God doesn't change, God doesn't move, God doesn't move because you move, God doesn't move because your conditions change. And if you learn to be like God, that means you gotta, "Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord".
Deliver me from moody Christians, people that one day they're this way, the next day their this way, the next day they're this way. God is calling for consistency, God is calling for people who can sing in the dark, God is calling for people who will open their mouth and praise him no matter what's going on in your life, no matter what is running through your mind, no matter what's going on in your body. You gotta find a way to praise God because things are not going to get better until you open your mouth and learn how to sing in the midst of adversity. "We hung our hearts by the will of trees," "We wept, when we remembered Zion". "If I forget Jerusalem let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth".
Jerusalem is not just a geographical location, Jerusalem is a center place in your soul. If I forget who I am, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. You got to know who you are even when you're in a strange land; you got to know what your center is even when it's a strange time; you gotta know what your center is even when you've lost your job; you gotta know what your center is even when you're destabilized by people you thought you could trust and you couldn't, people you thought you could count on and you can't, people who said they'd be with you and they left, but you gotta stabilize yourself by your Jerusalem. Jerusalem is your spiritual epicenter, it it's the place from which you draw strength, it is the place from which you draw vigor, it is the place from which you draw identity.
Our Jerusalem is not a physical Jerusalem. There is in Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven, there is a Jerusalem on earth; in your heart there is a Jerusalem, there is a spiritual epicenter called a pavilion. God hides you in the secret place, you go into the secret place with God, when all hell is breaking loose there is a secret place that anchors you so that you are not at the mercy of the environment to control the intensity of the power with which you operate. If that were true, if I set you in a situation where there were witches, you would lose your glory. God's got to have a power that transcends that environment, God's got to have a power that'll work in a hospital room, God's got to have a power that'll work in an unemployment line, God's got to have a power that will work, I don't care where you are.
The only thing that is unstable is them, because God, "Is able to do," watch this, "Exceedingly abundantly above all that ye may ask or think," hold up, "According to the power that worketh," where? "In you". "According to the power that worketh in you," not in your church, not in your bishop, not in your denomination, not in your city, not in your town, God said, "I can, 'Do exceedingly abundantly above all ye may ask or think, according to the power that worketh in you.'"
Now they got taken away from Jerusalem, but you can't take me away from me, you cannot take me away from me. God said it's not according to what river you're sitting beside, it's not according to where you're working, it's not according to how you feel in your body, it's according to the power that works in you. And God said, "If you work, I can work; if you," oh, "If you move, I can move; if you look up, I can look up; if you reach out, I can reach down; I can only do it according to the power". So hell wants you to hang your heart by the willow trees and forget who you are, and think that you can't do it because you don't get what you want, and so you're just like a baby crying because God will wean you from this and put you over in that, and say, "Will you praise me now? Can you praise me now? Can you praise me in this situation? Can you love me like this? Am I still God in this situation? Can you glorify me now"?
And if you are well taught in the Word of God, you will offer up to him the sacrifice of praise from the fruit of your lips continually with thanksgiving. The sacrifice of praise, I know you don't feel like it, you don't have to do it, you can stay bound all you want to, but if you give him the sacrifice of praise, if you give him the sacrifice of praise from the fruit of your lips, your lips, your lips, choir can't do that for you, praise team can't do that for you, band can't do that for you because God is watching your mouth. You say, "I can't even sing". I don't even care. God says, "When your lips move, my lips will move; when you open up your mouth, I'll open my mouth; when you start thinking about me, I'll start thinking about you; I am watching your lips".
I want you to take about 15 seconds and just open your mouth and make any kind of joyful noise, anything you got, anything, anything you got, any key, any tune, any kind of sound. Oh, oh, oh, oh. Y'all don't remember it but the old folk used to walk the floor and they'd just say, "Oh, oh-huh, oh-huh". "Oh, oh-huh, oh-huh". See, when you start opening your mouth, yokes start falling, chains started falling, barriers start falling, problems start falling. It don't matter what river you're sitting beside, it don't matter what willow tree you're standing by, you don't even have to have no harp, if you've got a mouth, let the redeemed of the Lord. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The devil will defy you, he'll try to shut you down, he'll try to shut your mouth, he'll try to shut you up, he'll try to make you be still, but the devil is a lie.
We are in a fight tonight, y'all, we are in a fight tonight. You listening at me online, we are in a fight tonight; you can take them little cute shoes off, we are in a fight tonight. Glory to God. You might have to take them nails off and pull your earrings off, we are in a fight tonight, and you gotta learn how to go into spiritual warfare, and sing and shout and dance and pray and drive back the forces of the enemy because there's something that we gotta drive back, and we gotta drive it back with our mouth, and we got to drive it back with our song, and we gotta drive it back with our prayer, and we got to drive it back. If you drive it back, if you drive it back, if you push it, it'll move, if you push it, it'll move, if you push it, it'll move.