TD Jakes - Worship In The Wilderness - Part 1
We see God inviting his estranged children to be emancipated not only to relieve the oppression, but to meet them in the wilderness to worship him. I want you to understand that they had not had a conversation with God for 400 years. They are the people of God, they are born to be with God, but they have not had a real relationship with God for 400 years, in part because of their association and in some ways a simulation with Egypt. Their association and assimilation with Egypt started out as a blessing and ended up as a curse, okay? It started out a blessing because there was a famine back in Israel, and Jacob moves toward his family, toward where Joseph already was in Egypt, that they might get corn to withstand the famine. Everything that starts out a blessing doesn't end up a blessing.
So, the first 30 years or so, it was a blessing and it was a wonderful thing, but when the Pharaoh died, there was a Pharaoh who died that did not know Joseph nor regard his God. From that point they became enslaved, and they entered into 400 years of slavery. Watch this closely, but God knew it. Not only did God know it, God arranged it. Not only did God arrange it, God prophesied to Abram that this was going to happen. He said your seed is going to sojourn in Egypt for 400 years, and afterward they will come out with great substance. There is an expiration date on trouble. If there's a date you go in, there's a date you come out. Are you hearing what I'm saying?
They were not there because they were subservient, or less qualified, or less capable, or less brilliant than the Egyptians, they were there by a divine prophecy whereby God incubated Abram's seed from a family into a nation, and in order to incubate the greatness that was in them, he put pressure upon them, but they were no less than the Egyptians, but they were forced to serve the Egyptians for 400 years. Moses has come to emancipate them from 400 years of being contorted into whatever Egypt wanted, and any time you contort who you are into what other people want, there comes a point where you become unfamiliar with who you really are. Some of you know what I'm talking about. You've shifted everything about yourself to contort around what somebody demanded of you, and then something happened, they left, they changed, they died, and you're standing there trying to figure out who am I outside of what you needed me to be?
So, these are a people who have no sense of real identity. They have no sense of real understanding of their language. Their food is gone, their cuisine is gone, their uniqueness is gone, their religion has been aborted. They have assimilated to the environment that they're in for survival. Survival necessitates sometimes that you adapt and adopt to situations that you didn't prefer, because it is necessary in order to survive. And our Creator so endowed us with the ability to adapt, that no matter what climate we're in, we physically adapt. No matter what situation we're in, we emotionally adapt. No matter what circumstances we engage in, we adapt to that environment for survival state, because we have a strong survival instinct. We have a strong survival instinct.
You wouldn't be sitting here today if you didn't have a strong survival instinct. Your heart has been broken, your life has been altered, you've been disappointed, you didn't get everything that you wanted, everything didn't turn out like you wanted it to turn out, but once you were in the situation, you adapted to the situation, found a way to cope with the situation, survive through this situation, and you ought to give yourself, even if you're not going forward, you ought to give yourself a hand clap that you didn't go back. Their poverty exceeds income and is an all-encompassing barren blight that has been comprehensively damaging and diversely documented. They've lost everything. They have left Egypt to rediscover themselves by reconnecting with God.
Watch this closely. They have left Egypt to rediscover themselves by reconnecting with God. You will never find you without him. You will never find yourself, your identity, get your self-esteem back, without him. This is why they got out in the middle of the wilderness and start asking for the leeks and onions of Egypt, because their taste buds had become like the Egyptians. This is why they built an image of God that looked like the Egyptian god, because their concept of who God was is influenced by Egypt. This is why you come to church and start talking about a higher power, because you are adopting the language of the people you work with, the man upstairs.
I'm not a Christian, I'm spiritual. This kind of language is where you have lost your language that God gave you, and adapted the language of the people around you, in part because of your need to fit in, your need to be connected, your need to be fresh, your need to be accepted, your need to be accepted by other people, other employers, other CEO's, other companies, other entrepreneurs. Other women, other men, have forced you to shape your personality into something that they applaud you for, and they don't applaud you for being who you are, they applaud you from being contorted into an image that reflects the times that we're living in, and so they'll tell you, "Oh, you're out of style. That's out of date. That's old school".
So, in other words, you got to contort back because now the style has changed. I'm sick of style. I do me. I wore something the other day they said that's out of style. No, it's not out of style because it's in my closet. Out of style will leave you broke trying to keep up with what's in style. That's why they keep changing the style every week, to make you have to go buy again, so you can fit in again. Rather than investing your money, you are breaking yourself trying to keep up with something that somebody dictated out of Paris that you don't even know, and you ain't gonna never be on a runway, but you're gonna be homeless in a shelter if you don't wake up and recognize.
Too much of our energy is spent trying to reconcile with men. We're trying to reconcile with men. We're trying to be in with people. We're trying to be en vogue. We wanna be in shape. We wanna develop the right language that gets us ahead, that gets us applauded, that gets people to clap for us. We're ashamed to say things that we used to be proud of, things like I love my wife, I care about my family, I take care of my husband, I make sure that he's good, those kinds. I dare you to make a post about it right now and watch how many people attack you. It's not that they're wrong to be them, it's that they want you to act like them or something is wrong with you if your values are not in the same place their values are, and so the fight goes on.
It's a fight with men. It's a fight with women. It's a fight with generations. It's a fight with denominations. It's a fight with ethnicities. We're having war, war, war, war, war, war, and I'm tired, anybody tired? Anybody tired of twisting, and turning, and reshaping yourself into all kinds of configuration? And by the time you get it all worked out, the style has changed. We don't do that over here. We don't do that over there. We don't do this over here. We don't wear that over here. We wear that over here. We do this and that, until you're afraid to be yourself because your need to fit in trumps your need to be who you are, and now you don't know who you are, and so you gotta go back and hit reboot, and go back to the manufacturer, and go back to God, and say who did you create me to be? What did you have in mind for me? How have you designed my life to function? Because I am so tired.
I've been what my mama said. I've been what my daddy said. I've been what my friends said. I've been what my gang said. I've been so many different things. I've been what my denomination said. I've been what the board said. I did what the school said. I did what everybody said to promote me to get to the next level, and now I just don't even know who I am. I speak a little bit of Hebrew, I speak a lot of Egyptian, I got a little bit of Hebrew left in me, but I got a whole lot of the Egyptians left in me, and now here comes this joker trying to move me out from what I have adapted to, and even though I prayed that God would send a deliverer, when the answer came I rejected what I prayed for. Come on, come on, I want you to see what I'm saying.
Now, the text takes us to a place where there is a battle between gods. Can I go deeper? There is a battle between gods. There is Elohim, the God of the universe, and there is Pharaoh who sees himself as God. Pharaoh thought he was a god, but God will remove anything and anyone who is standing in between us being reconciled to him. The most dangerous thing you can do is to get in between me and God. If me and Sarah, stand up for a minute, Pastor Sarah. If me and Sarah get mad at each other, it would be smart not to get in it, because whatever we arguing about it ain't gonna last long, and after a while we're gonna come back together, and both of us are gonna jump on you. Yes, I'm telling you right now, I'm telling you what's gonna happen. I'm telling you what's gonna happen right now.
It would be foolish for you to get in between us, because the tie that binds us is bigger than the argument that divided us, and it's a temporary argument, and it's not gonna last, because love is gonna win the fight. It would be foolish to get in between me and my wife, so don't come in the house and try to be a broker, some kind of division between us, because we might be mad as fire at each other when you came in the house, but before the week is over, you understand?
Now, if you think that's bad, get in between me and Cora. How you gonna get in between me and me? Y'all understand that? That's just a metaphor. To get in between me and God, when I was created in his likeness, and created in his image, if you try to get in between me and God, Pharaoh, you going down, bro. You going down, dude. You're going down. You're going down because you got in the way of me and God. Ask Paul and Silas praying in the jailhouse at midnight. The jail was trying to stand in between Paul, and Silas, and God. God sent an earthquake, tore down the whole jail. If you start crying out to God, I don't care who your oppressor is, God will defeat your oppressor when you wanna be connected with God.
Do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth? Somebody give him 30 seconds of crazy praise. Crazy praise, I said crazy praise. I can't explain it, but he loves me. I can't explain it, but he's for me. I can't explain it, but he wants me. He literally moved heaven and earth to be with me. He came down through 42 generations to be with me. He wrapped himself in human flesh to be with me, and called himself Emmanuel, tabernacled with us, just so he could be with me, and even though you think I'm a funny looking, out of shape, no good old man, ain't good for nothing, he thinks I'm the apple of his eye. Altogether lovely, full of truth and glory, the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. And if you get in between me and him, he will move you out.
Sit down, because I'm about to get fired up and I'm not supposed to be fired up because I'm still in the opening, and I ain't got nowhere, and I know I'm not gonna finish, but I do hope to get a little bit further than this. So, I started on this hunt to try to figure out which Pharaoh is the Pharaoh that got the whipping. And some people said it was Rameses II, but other theologians disagree with that. Rameses II lived from about 1300 B.C. to about 1213 B.C. He's normally called Rameses the Great. He was an Egyptian pharaoh that stood above all other Egyptian pharaohs. He was in a class all by himself. But he was the third ruler of the 19th dynasty. Along with Thutmose III of the 18th dynasty, he is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the new kingdom, which itself was the most powerful period of ancient Egypt.
So, Egypt is not just a country like it is now, it was the superpower. I want that to sink in. It was the superpower. This is not just a bunch of men wearing funny hats, this is the superpower of its era. There was no Supreme Court, there was no jurisdictional court, there were no lawyers, there were no attorneys, there was nobody to plead your case. Whatever Pharaoh said, that's what it was. If he said cut her head off, it was off. If he said boil him in oil, he was fried. Pharaoh was the boss. That's why he thought himself to be God. There was no system in place of checks and balances that diminished his power, and power corrupts, and total power totally corrupts, and he was in total power.
I was in a country, I won't name the country, but it has a king and not a democracy, not a government, it has a king, and the king was nice to me, we had a great time, but I was sitting on the plane thinking to myself, "If he says I can't fly out, I can't get out of here". He don't need a rule, he don't need a reason, he's the king. See, you don't understand real power. Real power never has to explain itself. Real power just is. That's why your mama said, "Because I said so," now you wanna have a debate at a council meeting in the boardroom.
When we grew up, it was because she said so. If you're staying here, that's how the sentence would start, if you're gonna stay in here. If you don't wanna sleep out there on the snowy back porch, or find yourself a place to stay, okay, I'm not advocating for it, I'm just explaining it. Rameses was often considered a possible pharaoh during this period in part due to the references in the Bible to him and the development of cities assigned to the growth of Egypt, of which the Hebrews were building. He built more, he did more, he had in place economic systems that survived more. He had an army to be revered. All of these are signs of a superpower, economic wealth, military power, he had both of them simultaneously. He had 600 chosen chariots. That wasn't the entire fleet, those were just the chosen chariots out of the mass of fleets.
So, he releases the 600 chariots after a bunch of farmers. It's like dropping a nuclear bomb in the hood. The odds are totally stacked against them, and when they heard the hoof prints coming after them, they were afraid. Are you hearing what I'm saying? Or it could have been Akhenaten, he was the tenth ruler of the 18th dynasty, I don't know. The theologians don't know. I can't figure it out. I'm not gonna worry about it, but Akhenaten's reign is noteworthy for another reason. During this period, he was able to do some unique things. Egypt's polytheistic religious system was completely removed and replaced by an unprecedented turn toward Monotheism.
So, that kind of tells me that Akhenaten is also being influenced by the Hebrews who were monotheistic. One thing affects the other thing. I was teaching a master class day before yesterday in D.C. and I told them when Jesus said we're in the world but not of the world, I said imagine taking a glass Coke bottle, I know they don't make 'em much now, but a glass Coke bottle, and putting it down in a pan of water. The Coke is in the water but it's not of the water. But it's affected by the water, because when you start boiling the water, the glass is gonna eventually shatter.
So, we are in the world but we are not of the world. And if the glass shatters, now the Coke is gonna affect the water because the water affected the Coke. Pharaoh is chasing them trying to get them back, it would appear, but I wonder if he wasn't trying to get the gross national product back, because they had borrowed so much economic wealth that they survived 40 years in the desert and never went broke. That they had enough wealth that Moses was raising an offering and had to say stop. I have never raised an offering... Moses said y'all giving so much, just stop. There's so much wealth left with the slaves when they were leaving Egypt that they had to put it on the backs of their children, generational wealth.
So, even little Johnny had a bag of gold. Mary Sue had a bag of gold, and her grandma had a bunch of bracelets and silver in her hair. Everybody was dragging something out of Egypt, and they didn't steal it, the Bible says they borrowed it, but it was really due them, because after 400 years of not getting paid, this is what reparations look like in the Book of Exodus, because they were dragging the wealth of 400 years of backpay. I don't know who this is for, but God's about to give you backpay. He's about to give you double for your trouble. He's about to restore unto you the years that the cankerworms, and the palmerworms, and the locusts ate up.
Who am I talking to? Who am I talking to in here? All that stuff you did for people and they never paid you back, every time you helped somebody and they forgot you, every time you delivered somebody, encouraged somebody and they stuck a knife in your back, every time they borrowed money and never paid it back, you may not get it back from them, but God will send it from somewhere. He'll give you houses you didn't build, vineyards you didn't go. God's gonna make sure you get it back, because God is a just God. God is a just God.