TD Jakes - The Principles of New Beginnings
The children of Israel had gotten a culture where they came and they worshiped and they served God and they had a little idolatry, had a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a little bit of the other all mixed in together. But when God raised up Samuel he said, "I'm getting ready to do the great beatdown". The great beatdown comes when the Philistines come against the children of Israel. Battles will break down culture. When you get into a battle, when you get in a battle that beats you down to the ground, it will make you change.
Let me bring this to light where you can get it. You might have somebody who's addicted in your family. No matter how much you want them to get off drugs, you cannot make them get off drugs. You cannot make lazy people go to work. You cannot make mouthy people shut up. God knows exactly where to allow the battle to break out to bring you to a point that you say, "I yield, I surrender". My sister just got to sing it. God knows how to make you say yes. So he used the Philistines, and the children of Israel said, "Oh, we're not scared of the Philistines. We're gonna knock them out". And so the children of Israel got excited and they started shouting. And the Philistines were afraid when they heard the children of Israel shout. But every shout is not a victory shout. It was a shout of presumption that if they brought the ark of the covenant down like they had always done, that just bringing the ark of the covenant down, that God would be on their side.
Now, bear in mind, they're trying to use God over their culture. They're trying to use God over their culture. There are some of you that don't really serve the Lord but you come to church because you need God to give you a hook-up 'cause you're trying to get your light. And you just bring the ark of the covenant down here, I'll get the victory. If I just go to church, I'll get the victory. I'm not gonna serve him Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. But I'll just give him a little bit of Jesus will make it all right". I say, a little bit of Jesus will make it all right. So when you get in trouble, you add a little bit of Jesus and it'll make it all right. And they started shouting and the Philistines were afraid. But they weren't so afraid they wouldn't fight.
So the enemy might be afraid when you shout but that doesn't mean he won't attack you. He attacked them anyway. And thirty thousand mans died. Thirty thousand. Thirty thousand is if we put out chairs and filled this church up three times, there'd be thirty thousand people. Imagine that many people dead in the valley. That's a beatdown. That's a terrible beatdown. Thirty thousand women lost their husbands and their sons. Thirty thousand families went into grief and mourning. And there Eli is waiting at home to get the praise report. And one man survived to come back and tell Eli what happened. And Eli said, "I hear the noise in the valley. What's gone on"? And they told Eli, "30.000 people died". And Eli was sitting on his throne. He was sitting on his throne. Thirty thousand people died and he sat through it. And they said, "Eli, both your sons are dead". And that had to hurt real bad. But he sat through it. And they said, "And they stole the ark of the covenant".
And when they told Eli that they had stole the ark of the covenant, the Bible said he fell backwards and broke his neck because for the ark of the covenant to depart, that was what they were counting on, that was what always brought them through. The presence of God was gone. Eli fell backwards and broke his neck. Now, the way he fell is prophetic. He fell backwards and broke his neck. It is God saying, "Two things have to happen in Israel. You have to go back to serving me like you used to and I'm gonna cut the head off". He fell backwards and broke his neck.
Now, Eli has a daughter-in-law, either Hophni or Phinehas' wife, who was pregnant. When she heard that her husband was dead, 30.000 people were dead, the ark of the covenant was gone, it caused her to go into labor. She went into labor. She went into labor prematurely and birthed a baby but she never got to celebrate because when the baby was being born the maid said, "Don't worry, you have birthed a child, a male child, but she didn't respond. She had birthed a baby and had named him Ichabod. Ichabod means the glory of the Lord has departed. The glory of the Lord has departed. And out of this dead woman comes a living child. God says, "I'm gonna bring new life out of a dead place. The very thing that's happening in her body has to happen in Israel. I've got to kill out something so that a new beginning can start in your life". Do you hear what I'm saying to you?
And she named the child Ichabod, the glory of the Lord has departed. Isn't that funny how God can bring life out of death? God can bring life out of death. God can bring life out of chaos. God can bring life out of confusion. If you fall back and are willing to change the way you think, God can do amazing things in your life, if you go back to serving him like you're supposed to and change the way you think. If you go back and serve him the way you should, God can bring you out of anything. You can't be stubborn and just use God like he's a butler or a maid or like you're gonna call Uber for pick up. God said, "I will not be your Uber driver". But if you go back and change the way you think you can have a new beginning.
Touch three people and say, "You can have a new beginning. But you gotta withstand the great beatdown. You gotta go through the great beatdown. He gotta beat you 'til you say "Yes". He gotta beat you down until you stop being stubborn and rebellious. He has to beat you down until you admit, "Yes, I'm an addict". He has to beat you down 'til you say, "Yes, I've been beating my wife". He has to beat you down until you admit, "I'm a con artist and this is not working in my life". Why do we keep doing the same old thing, expecting a different result, and add a little church to it and think everything's gonna be all right? There you are, singing in the choir but your handle on Facebook... There you are leading the praise team but you're half naked on Instagram. Why do we think that we can add a little bit of God to a whole lot of mess and everything will be all right? And you got the nerve to say you're disappointed 'cause God is not working for you. You are in the middle of the great beatdown. And you're gonna keep losing more and more and more stuff, until your soul says YES!
What used to work isn't working. How you used to get it, it isn't coming together. The people who used to help you aren't helping you anymore. You can't figure out why it's not working. You're just like the children of Israel. You can't drag God out of some dusty closet and use him just to get over. God said, "I'm not a trick". If you have ever been through the great beatdown, it is a humbling experience. The reason I told you to notice that they poured out water because when you've been through a great beatdown it will make you pour out like water. It'll make you humble yourself. It'll make you lay prostrate before God. It'll make you say "Yeah". When the right thing dies and the right thing goes down, and you get through losing stuff, you'll stop trying to be the teacher and become the student.
I know you don't like to worship, I know you don't like to clap your hands, I know you too macho to praise the Lord. Let me tell you, when cancer get through with you, you will clap your hands, you will clap your feet, you will spin around in the floor, and God said, "I'm doing it because I..." Shake your neighbor's hand and say, "I've been through something to get here". God had to humble me. He had to teach me how to shut up. He had to teach me I wasn't right all the time. He had to make me say, "Yes". He had to bring me to my knees. "Oh, God, and I thank you for the beatdown 'cause you could have shut me down so I thank you for the beatdown". If you can, praise him for the beatdown.
That's exactly where God wants you. You're not in a bad place. You're in the best place. You're in a place for the great turnaround. Now, you will listen. Now, you can learn. And so now, when we read the text, Samuel is now telling them how to have a new beginning. He said, "You've got some cleaning up to do. You've got to get rid of those idol gods. Those idol gods, you've got to get rid of them. You can't be halt between this and that". You've got to either you... I'm gonna say it out of order. It's bad English but you're gonna get it. Either you is or you ain't. I just like the way that sounds. I know, right, all the teachers in the room going, "Ooh". Either you is or you ain't. If you gonna come in, you need to come all the way in. If you gonna get it together, you need to get it together. You need to put away your idol gods.
And listen, they fasted and prayed. They fasted. I want you to see the contrast. Before, they didn't fast. They didn't pray. They didn't put away their idol gods. They didn't seek God. They just thought they'd go get God when they needed him. They didn't ask God, should they fight the Philistines. They just thought they would use God. This time, they are humble, they are laid out before God, they are fasting, they are praying, they are seeking God's face. And the Israelites were afraid. Last time, when they got beat, they were shoutin' and the Philistines were afraid. This time, the Israelites are afraid and the Philistines are confident. And I'm gonna say something and it's gonna rock your world. All fear is not bad. We preach a lot against fear but all fear is not bad. For instance, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. All fear is not bad. Fear makes you cautious.
There's a reason God gave us a spirit of fear. It warns us. It's a sense of danger. It makes you prepare yourself better. To be overly confident makes you not study for the test. When you're afraid you're gonna flunk, you study while other people go out to play. A certain amount of fear is a good thing. You want it in the car, you just don't want it driving the car. You don't want the spirit of fear. There's a difference between the... God hath not given us the spirit of fear. He did not give us the spirit of fear but he has response is a result of fear. This time, the Israelites were afraid. It's a total different group of people from the people who would shout, "Hey, hey. Say, ho. Oh, we're gonna eat you up today. Say, hey. Say, ho. Well, we're gonna eat you up". There's none of that is going on.
After they got through burying 30.000 bodies and the priest had fallen backwards and broke his neck, and his daughter-in-law had gone into labor. She was in so much stress, her water broke and the baby came out and the baby came out and the mama died. Ichabod. And all of a sudden, these people are not so sure that they know as much as they thought they knew. And this is where God wanted 'em, where you are humbled enough and they went out there before they prayed and they took water and they poured it out on the ground and said, "God, we are poured out like water". The thing about water, it can't stand up. "We are abased. We are as low as we can go. We're fasting and praying. And we're going into this challenge, but we no longer underestimate our enemy". And they're going into battle and, as they're going out there to fight, they're afraid but they're going. They're afraid but they're going. They're afraid but they're going. They're afraid but they're going.
See, that's the thing about fear. You have to feel the fear and do it anyway. I'm afraid, but I'm going. I'm afraid, but I'm going. I'm afraid, but I'm going. I don't know how it's gonna go, but I'm going. I tell you, I don't know who gon' win, but we're gon' fight today. And as they were going out to battle, they were telling Samuel, "Cease not to pray for us. Cease not to pray for us. Don't do like Eli and just wait for us. Cease not to pray for us". And Samuel takes a sucking lamb because Samuel knows that they have sinned and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. And the Bible says that he judged them at Mizpah and he took a sucking lamb and he offered up a burnt offering before God. And he prayed in the smoke. He prayed in the smoke. And the Bible says your prayers have gone up before God as a sweet smelling savor.
Now, look at the two dynamics going. The children of Israel are going to fight and the man of God is interceding for them. You see faith and works. Faith and works. Faith and works. You can't have all faith and no works. You can't just pray about it and do nothing. See, that is what has weakened us for years. We got so much prayer and no action. If you got all kind of prayer and no action, you can't just stay at home and pray for a job. What you think, somebody's gonna ring the doorbell and come and get you out the house? "I've been looking for you". No, ain't nobody coming in your house.
Prayer without works will not get you there. But works without prayer will not get you there either. So God says, "If you're gonna have a new beginning, this time you gotta use everything. You gotta use everything. You gotta be praying and working. You gotta be praying and fighting. You gotta be praying and going after it. You gotta be praying and rebuilding your life. You gotta be praying and going after your dream at the same time. You gotta be praying and building back your family. You gotta be praying and building your marriage. You gotta be praying and humbling yourself".
I don't know who I'm talking to but I'm trying to give you some principles because God is about to give you a new beginning in your life. Just 'cause you've been through a beatdown doesn't mean you're not gonna have a great turnaround. I said, just 'cause you've been through a beatdown... In fact, there's nothing like a turnaround after a beatdown. I don't have to teach you to praise the Lord. I don't have to beg you to praise the Lord 'cause you're saying, "Lord, if I get the victory, I'm gonna praise you like I've never praised you before". I want the grateful people. I don't want nobody but the grateful people. I want some second chance people to open your mouth and give God a praise right now!