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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bishop T. D. Jakes » TD Jakes - The Bumpy Road to Better

TD Jakes - The Bumpy Road to Better

TD Jakes - The Bumpy Road to Better

And when we enter into the text, there is a famine in the land, and Jacob has told his sons, you will not defeat the famine looking at each other. Did you hear what I'm saying? Watch how Jacob handles the famine. Because my first point is the famine, and until you can deal with the famine, you will never get to better, because the famine is a part of your journey. How you react to the famine determines whether you make it to the food. You've got to be aggressive. You can't just pray against the famine, you've got to do something. Jacob says you can't just pray against it, you can't just look at each other, you can't stay in the same spot and do the same things that you've always done and expect to get a different result, because we're in a famine, and you've got to take action. And we don't understand that today.

We don't understand the human requirement in the miracles of God. As much as we have read about the miracles of God, we walk away with praise to God, but absolve ourselves of human responsibility. As if God were going to act outside of human effort when God has created us to be collaborative in the miraculous. Oh, I'm talking already. He wants us to be collaborative in the miraculous. That we have a responsibility to take action and to be aggressive about resolving issues. Just because you're spiritual doesn't mean you get to pray for a job and stay at home. "I'm just gonna pray. If the Lord wants me to have the job, he'll give me the job. I'm just gonna watch TV and hit the remote control and believe God for better". You'll never get to better if you don't get on the road. You gotta get on the road in the middle of famine. They're traveling in the middle of a famine.

Now, traveling is not fun anytime, but traveling in the middle of a famine is a very difficult time, because the famine is so severe that Jacob says, if you don't move, you're going to die. Now, I don't know who I'm talking to tonight, but there are some pressures that come so strong that if you don't move, you're going to die. "How could you let me die and I'm a child of God"? "You didn't move. I told you to move". And when God tells you to move, you gotta move, and don't act like God has failed you when you have failed to move. When God says move, you have to take action. Whether you're the prodigal son who came to himself but he still had to go home, or whether you're the woman with the issue of blood who believed that Jesus could heal her but she still had to crawl, or whether you're blind Bartimaeus standing by the highway side begging; he still had to come out of his coat and go towards Jesus.

There is a human responsibility in spite of the famine, so you gotta move in the middle of a famine, in the middle of a need, in the middle of a storm, in the middle of a crisis. And he sends his boys to go from Canaan to Egypt, because Jacob heard where there was food. Don't hate on people who have even when you don't have, because he didn't hate on Egypt, he said, I'm going to Egypt. See, we sit back and hate on people as if them having is our demise, when it's not them having that is our enemy, it's us not moving that is our enemy. And the Bible says that though they didn't have any corn, they had money, yeah, and people don't quote it too much, but the Bible also says that money is the answer to all things. It's the answer to all things. If it's a thing, money can buy it. There are some issues that cannot be resolved by things, but money answereth all things.

So, Jacob told the boys, he gave them some money, and said, go down to Egypt and don't go down there begging. We came out here to do business. Yeah, yeah, we're spiritual people, but we know how to do business. We praise Jehovah, but we still know how to do business. Oh, y'all not saying nothing to me tonight. See, the church has failed its parishioners, because we have been real heavy on the praise and real light on the business. So, we told them to praise your way out, and dance your way out, and spin around three times, and you're going to come out, and sow a seed and you're going to get out, but we don't tell them that you got, that the blessings are transactional, that there's a business element required in it, and we gotta go back and lay some foundation to understand that Jacob does not go down to Egypt to beg, he goes down there to do business. And he sends his sons down there to do business, but wait a minute, you have to realize as we begin to talk about the famine, we have to understand that the famine is so severe that it pushes them to Egypt.

Now, the second thing I want you to see about the famine is that God will use a famine to move you. It doesn't have to be a famine for food, it can be a famine for love, it can be a famine for peace, but in everybody's life listening at me, whether online or in the room, you have experienced some kind of famine. The famine of fatherhood, the famine of family, the famine of a mother's affection, the famine of a good job, the famine of a nice house. All of us have our famines. You might not be able to see it because we might dress nice and spray cologne over top of it, but all of us live with some level of famine in our lives. Famine makes you pray, and famine makes you seek God, and famine makes you cry out, and famine will make you move. And oftentimes, God will use famine as an instrument to force you out of your comfort zone. It is more comfortable to stay in Canaan, but the famine will drive you out. It'll make you move. It'll make you get outside of your comfort zone. It will make you travel. It will put you on the road.

Somebody say, "I'm on the road". I'm not on the road for a field trip, I'm not on the road joyriding, I'm on the road to better. I'm on the road to better. There's something I'm after. There's something I want to see done in my lifetime, and I'm tired of sitting around assessing the same old troubles, and crying about the same old problems, and going through the same old thing. I'm tired of complaining one to another, back and forth. "Oh, ain't it bad"? "Yeah, child, it's real bad. It's so bad". I got to move from here. Deliver me from people who will not take action in the famine. And God says action is required on you. You got to get on the road, and that's, anytime you can't rebuke it with a prayer, anytime you plead the blood and it doesn't go away, anytime you call on God and it still stays there, then God is using the famine as an instrument to move you from one place to the other.

If it was the devil, I could rebuke it. If it were demonic warfare, I could overcome it. But when God sends a famine to make you move, it is something in his providence that cannot be performed where you are, and you've got to move in order to get it, and God knows that some of us won't move if we're too comfortable. Y'all aren't gonna talk to me tonight. And so, God uses the famine to force them to move, and they go down to Egypt to do business. Now, it is interesting to note that though there is a famine in Canaan, there is also a famine in this family. So, my second point deals with the family. You have to understand that this text brings out, subtly, ever so subtly in the text, I want to point it out to you. First thing that it tells us about Jacob is that Jacob sent his sons down to Egypt to buy, but then it mentions that he did not send Benjamin, lest he fall into mischief. And this is just a hidden, subtle reminder that Jacob doesn't totally trust his own sons.

Now, where did this distrust come up in the culture of this family? This distrust comes up into the culture of the family, and you can act like you don't know what I'm talking about, but all of us have little things that we know about our family, that when cousin so-and-so comes over, you kind of look at them out of the corner of your eye, because you've been through some things where you've learned some things. And this culture has risen up in the family that the family is not fruitful, and Canaan is not fruitful, and there is not the comfortable, loving environment of trust that would cause the family to be a nurturing place, because Jacob remembers what happened to Joseph. The last time Jacob sent one of his sons out with the rest of the sons, he turned up missing. And there's a residue of distrust in the old man with his sons, and he says, I'm gonna keep Benjamin.

Now, the reason he's holding on to Benjamin and he let the rest of them go is that Joseph and Benjamin were born to him by Rachel, and Rachel was the love of his life. And the reason he's holding onto Benjamin is because that's all he's got left of Rachel. And he says, if I lose Benjamin, I lose all I have left of the best days in my life. And sometimes we hold onto things because we've been through so much pain that we become possessive. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying. There's a reason you hold on to what you hold on. Whether it's money, or people, or things, there's a reason you hold onto it. There's a reason that certain things make you mad. There's a reason that you overreact in certain ways. There's a reason that if we hit certain pulse points, you respond differently than other people. Because until you understand what I've been through back here, you won't understand why I'm holding onto this right here.

What do you hold on to because of what you've been through? What do you hold on to because of what you've been through? For Jacob, the old man is holding on to the last smell of Rachel. When he holds Benjamin, it's the last reminder of a happier moment in his life. And he is so afraid of losing Benjamin, because Rachel, the barren woman, has birthed two sons unto him, and one of them Jacob thinks is dead, and Benjamin is all he got left. Anytime you think this is all you got left, you will hold on real tight. Whether it is true or not, you will hold on real tight.

If you think that this is the last person that will ever love you, you will take stuff that you wouldn't normally take. You will go through things you wouldn't normally go through. And your girlfriends will tell you, "If I was you, I wouldn't take that," and your mama told you, "You need to get away from there," but you keep holding on to it because you've been hurt before. And anytime you've been hurt before, you hold onto something when you think you won't get any more. I wonder tonight how many people are holding onto some sort of Benjamin in your life. Holding onto it out of fear, not out of love. He's not clutching him out of love, he's clutching him out of fear. Be careful what fear will make you do.

And I'm looking at it, Jacob is an old man, and the older you get, the more precious everything becomes. And Jacob is holding on to Benjamin and he's saying, Joseph is not, and now Simeon is not; you ain't taking my Benjamin. I'm wondering what you're squeezing too tight. What are you squeezing out of fear? See, Jacob isn't squeezing Benjamin out of faith, he's squeezing him out of fear. He's squeezing him like it's the last thing he's gonna ever get. You can't grow when you squeeze something like it's the last thing you're gonna ever get. Even if it's squeezing money like it's the last you'll ever get, then you have prophesied against yourself. You have used faith in reverse. Fear is faith in reverse to have confidence that that thing that you don't want is going to happen to you. He's holding the boy out of fear.

And God is manipulating all of these circumstances to bring this family back together. He is wooing them back to a place so he can heal them, and wouldn't it be better to be healed than to be mad? And Jacob says to him, if I lose Benjamin...let me quote it just like he said it. "And he said, 'My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he is left alone. And if mischief befall him by the way,'" see how Jacob is still in a place where he don't trust them? They his children, and he don't trust 'em. And he has good reason not to trust 'em. He said, you're not gonna get him, lest mischief befall him by the way into which he go. He says, if I go through with Benjamin what I went through with Joseph, my gray hairs are gonna turn into sorrow and bring me to the grave.

See, you get to a point in life that you've reached an age that you can't take no more pain. And he says, I can't afford to live through this again. And God is really behind it all trying to pry Benjamin out of Jacob's hands, because what Jacob doesn't understand, yes, the road has been bumpy, and yes, the road's been tough, and yes, the road's been difficult, and yes, you've shed some tears, and yes, you've endured some pain, but it is the bumpy road to better. It is the bumpy road to better. I know a lot of people that are doing better than me, and have more stuff and more money and more recognition and more fame and more whatever you want to count it by than me, but none of them that I know have got there without a bumpy road.

The road to better is bumpy, so if you're on a bumpy road, I'm telling you, you're headed to better. Do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth? You can't get to better without bumpy. You can't get to better without pain. You can't get to better without tears. You can't be all buff if you don't work out. You can't lose weight if you don't push your food away. You can't get to better without bumpy. There is no pill you can take, there is no simple solution. It is the bumpiness of the road that leads you to better. Ultimately, Jacob will end up having to go to Egypt, and when Joseph sees his father, when Joseph sees his father, all of these years he's been living without the touch of his father, and all of a sudden, he reveals himself and he shows him who he is.

The Bible says that one day those who rejected Jesus are gonna look on him whom they have pierced, and a nation shall be saved in a day. This day in the life of Joseph is a prophetic prediction of what will happen between Jesus and Israel, when all of a sudden, they will look on him whom they have pierced and finally recognize he was the Messiah, he is the Lamb of God. He is the I Am, he is the true vine, he is the living bread, he is the manna that came down out of heaven. He is, it wasn't a lie, it wasn't a joke, it wasn't a fallacy, and the family will be reunited again. And all of a sudden, they beheld him whom they had thrown away, and they fell down and said, "Oh, Joseph". And they now realized that Joseph, everything he went through was to position him to bless them. Are y'all hearing what I'm saying?

The reason God doesn't bless some people, because you're selfish. The reason God doesn't bless some people is because you're only interested in you, because you hate too long, and you're too angry, and you're too bitter to be trusted with that much power. God blesses people whose hearts are tender. And it was only when I saw Joseph's heart that I understood Joseph's blessing. Because Joseph was the son that could be trusted with favor, because he would not use his favor to get even. He would not use his favor for revenge, he would use his favor to bring them into better. And so, Joseph brings the family to better. The whole family dwells together in better, and not only does he bring them to better, he releases the guilt from the guilty. It's one thing to absolve the innocent, but it's another thing to acquit the guilty. He absolved the guilty because he was big enough to be blessed like that. He was big enough to be blessed like that. He was strong enough to be blessed like that, and that's why he was chosen from the very beginning.

God trusted him with trouble. God trusted him with rejection. God trusted him with pain. God trusted him with agony, because God knew his heart, that when push came to shove, that love would always win out over revenge. God knew his heart, that there was something down inside of him that was better than that. And if you want the favor of God in your life, you have to be prepared to ask yourself, can God trust you with favor? Can God trust you with power? Can God trust you with honor? Because until that answer is a resounding yes, the doors of your blessing will be closed. They're closed because you are too angry and too bitter and too vindictive, and God can't give you favor because you'll use it like witchcraft to bring curses on those who hurt you. And you'll know you're getting bigger when you start getting better. You've been praying to be bigger; you should have been praying to be better.

There's somebody watching me right now, there's no reason in the world that somebody as talented as you are shouldn't be further than you are. You have the talent to go all the way to the top, but every time you try to go to the top, something blocks you. And God sent me to tell you it's not what's on the outside that's blocking you, it's the stuff you carry on the inside that always blocks you, because you're so slick. And God has to keep showing you that you ain't as slick as you think you are, and your blessing has been delayed, and you've wandered in the wilderness of almost getting there and never being able to get there, because you've never been able to get your heart to the place that you could be trusted.

God gives favor to people he can trust, but you are so transactional. Everything is a way for you to manipulate, and so you never get better. The Bible says none but the pure in heart shall see God. The word "pure" in the Greek is where we get the word catheter. And there is no way for you to see God until you put a catheter into your heart and get rid of the bitterness that is blocking you from your blessing. I'm still talking about the bumpy road to better. As I close tonight, I challenge you to look at Genesis 42, and even going into Genesis 43, and watch God bring Jacob and his boys into a state of blessings that does not fade away.
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