TD Jakes - Conversations in a Cave
Why do you think God has you here, at this moment? In a cave. God wants to talk to you. He's got you here because he's got something he wants to tell you. Because your life's been too noisy, and too busy, and too fast, and too loud, and too rambunctious. And you couldn't hear. God brought you to the cave. It can change your perspective. Do you think God doesn't know what happened to you? Do you think God does not realize the injustices or the pain or the trauma you've been through? God already knows that. God wants to whisper something to you, and you need to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying. Because he will show you not only how to get out of the cave, but how to get the King.
Isolation has a tendency to affect us in physiological ways. You wouldn't think just somebody alone would affect them in physiological ways, but it absolutely does. It is so important that you be trained for isolation. That the astronaut that's going to be up in the heavens for a year or two years or three years, they train them to get their mind ready for isolation. They tell them to keep a routine. They tell them not to handle it like a vacation where you sleep late and get up, you don't have anything to do if you don't put on your clothes. Go get dressed, get yourself together, have a schedule, have a routine. Because isolation can be difficult on the brain. And if you're not ready for it, and if you're not prepared for it psychologically, it can even be damaging.
Some studies have been very graphic and talking about how isolation does things, the brain actually shrinks, the memory stops functioning like it would. And all of these kinds of perils begin to come up because you're in isolation. Isolation is difficult. You're not just in isolation because you're an astronaut. There are prisoners that are put in solitary confinement as punishment, and they're left alone. And they're big strong men, who've been murderers and killers, are over in the corner crying, having emotional breakdowns because of isolation.
And you wonder in your mind, how could this happen to a prophet of God? Elijah is in the cave. I mean, God, how can God be glorified with Elijah in the cave? Why don't you have him out there on a mountain calling down, firing, outrunning some chariot somewhere, or speaking to the prophets of Baal or doing something productive. And you call me in the cave? Sometimes that's the only place you can have a real conversation with God, in a cave. In a cave. God wants to talk to you. He wants to speak to you.
And Elijah was in that cave, and he was isolated in that cave, and he was in that cave because he was running from Jezebel and the threats she had over his life. And when God says, what doest thou here? He said, you know why I'm here. He said, all the prophets of Baal have sought my life, they've tried to kill me, they've killed your prophets, I've torn down their altars, I had to run from my life, and I, even I, only am left. Now, listen, that's important. 'Cause I'm gonna get back to that in a minute. He says, I, even I, only am left. As if it's not just that he's lonely 'cause he's physically in the cave, psychologically, in his mind, I'm the only one left.
There's so many people right now think you're only one left. Nobody knows, nobody understands, nobody realizes, nobody's ever been through what I've been through, I am the only one left. And even though you might be in a crowd, you're alone. And even though you may have a job, you're alone. Even though you're married, you might be alone. And that pressure, the psychologists say that that pressure is enough to change the brain, short-circuit the memory. Take away your ability to be able to reason, and to think, and to function.
Alone. Alone. Alone. Alone. And this is a good man, and he's alone. And this is a God man, and he's alone. And this is a praying man, and he's alone. And this is an anointed man, and he's alone. And this man is a gifted man, and he's alone. And he's tryin' to find God in the cave. And the cave, as pressuresome as it is, as damaging as it could be, as overwhelming as it could be, he's staying in the cave to avoid what's outside. Like you and I are staying in to avoid what's outside.
So the cave is protection. But sometimes protection is painful. It's protection, but it's painful. Okay? It's covering, but it's uncomfortable. Okay? It's insulation, but it's also isolation. And it's all happening at the same time. It's a good thing for him, but it's a bad thing for him. And God has ordered his steps. And there we find Elijah, the man who stood on mountaintops, the man who met with kings and queens, the man who confronted the prophets of Baal, the man who tore down the altars, the man who did all of that can deal with all of that better than he can deal with being alone. I, even I, only am left. And he's trying to find God in the screaming sound of silence.
Yeah, because silence will scream at you. Trying to determine where am I in my life? And there's something that happened in the cave that I want you to see. I'm not just here to rehearse a Sunday school story to you, there's something, there's a turning point in the narration of the cave. First there had to be a discerning moment. See, he has gone from from fight to flight, and now he's goin' into what I call fermentation. This is a point of transformation, molecular structure changes going on in heaven. God is doing something down inside of him. What comes out of the cave is not gonna be what went into the cave.
And this is where it gets good to me, because this is what the Lord laid on my heart to share with somebody. When this is over, when you come out, what comes out is not gonna be the same person that went in. Some things have happened inside of you, and some things that are happening inside of you, and some things that are scheduled to happen inside of you, are going to prohibit this from being something where you come out and go back to normal. There will not be a normal. There will not be a normal in the world. There will not be a normal you, because when you come out of the cave, you don't come out of the cave like you went in. God has ordered a shift and a change and a move and the transformation and a reordering and a rethinking and a reevaluating in your life.
When you come out, you're going to come out on a level that you were now before. You're gonna come out on a level that none of your fights got ya. You're gonna come out on a level that none of your flights, all that busy-ness, didn't get you. This time, a fermentation, where God has left you alone and allowed you to go through some transformation and deal with some ghosts and deal with some issues, are going to cause you to come out differently than how you went in. I don't know who I'm talkin' to out there, but I feel like I'm talking to somebody because you've been trying to find purpose. What doest thou here? Why am I in this situation? 'Cause what comes out of the cave, is not going to be what went into the cave.
Now, when God asked Elijah, what do us out here, God already knew why he was there. Elijah didn't inform God about it. When we pray, we're not informing God about anything, God already knows everything that we're praying about. But God is allowing him to evaluate himself to go through a little bit of therapy. He's got him on the couch while he's in the cave. That's what I'm trying to say, he's got him on the couch while he's in the cave. And the therapist couch can be uncomfortable, they started digging, what doest thou here?
And he starts going through all this rhetoric about what has happened in his past, and what went on in his life, and how he came to be at this point, and who doesn't like him, and who he had to outrun, and how he had to fight, and how he's not been understood, and how he's lived up under threat. And now they seek my life. They didn't get my life, they didn't take my life. No no no no no no no no no no no no. I'm still here, I will survive, I'm a survivor, glory to God! You're a survivor, but you've lived your life up under threat.
Is there anybody out there that knows the pressure of living your life up under threat? Living your life up under suppose, suppose, suppose this can happen, and that can happen, and suppose Jezebel gets me. You've lived your life up under threat. Threat from old boyfriends, threat from old jobs, threat from old mistakes, threat from all haters. Lived your life from under threat. Now they never got ya. But you had to live knowing that they were out there, living and knowing that they would try to get you, living knowing that they'd love to see you torn up, living knowing that they'd love to devalue you. It is not easy to live and to go on when you know that there are those who seek your life.
And if there's anybody out there who's seekin' to do something to you, I doubt that you're doing anything much for God. So he has lived most of his life on the run. He has been fighting, he's been in flight, and now he's stuck in a situation with all this fear. Almost like spinning this wheel, almost like he's in a condition where he's burning so many RPMs, and goin' so fast, and yet he can't get out of the situation. He's gotten out of everything else, every other. Famine, he survived. A miracle came, rescued him. He got hungry, God fed him. The brook dried up, God sent him to the widow's house. Got to the widow's house, he performed a miracle. Went to another widow's house, he took a pot of oil. I mean, he's always gotten out of stuff.
And for those of us who have always gotten out of stuff, being stuck is uncomfortable. I was reading this article about isolation, and down in the article when it talks about isolation, it's written by some therapist and psychologist, they determined that it was not so much the isolation that was damaging, it was the perception that you are isolated. I want that to sink in. It's not the geographical location that is so damaging, it's not the fact I'm in a room by myself, it's when I decide that I'm isolated. My perspective isolates me. I, even I, only am left. In the cave or not, I'm alone. Whether I'm on the mountaintop, whether I'm in the earthquake, and when I'm alone, I'm alone. The perception of isolation is what does damage the most physiologically to the brain, to the spirit. I'm alone.
And Jacob was left alone with God. And there wrestled a man with him to the breaking of day. We've wrestled, don't we? When we're alone. Yeah. Yeah. We talk a lot of stuff when we're around people, going out, blessin' to the Lord, thank God you and I got it goin' on, Jesus' name incorporated, got the victory, got my head, I've got my mind, I'm on the way, I'm goin' on up to be with the Lord. That's all nice. In public. I'm talkin' about who are you alone? That's where the Word wants to get to who you are alone. It wants to get to who you are when nobody's looking. It wants to get down to the part of you that you don't want anybody to see.
It wants to deal with your uncertainties. It wants to deal with your insecurity. It wants to deal with your vulnerabilities. It does not negate the fact that you could call fire down from heaven. Does not negate the fact that you can preach the paint off a wall. Does not negate the fact that you could sing like 12 angels in a choir sitting on an organ top. You do all of that, that's wonderful, that's good, that's great. But I'm talking about the real you. Not your gift, not your talent, not your calling. I'm talkin' about you. I, even I, even I, only am alone. You can feel it in his words, I shouldn't have to go through this. Even I? Even I, only, am alone. And God begins to deal with him from that perspective.
God was not in the noisy moments in his life. No, no. He wasn't, he was not in the lightning, he was not in the earthquake, and fire came, ooh! All of these things are sensual. All of these things appeal to your senses. Sensual. It's not necessarily sexual, sensual is things that appeal to your senses. When things appeal to your senses, later they're calling people having itching ears, things that appeal to your senses. We think that God's in it because everybody's clapping and it's a big moment, but not necessarily so. When all the earthquakes cleared out, and when all the fire was gone, and when all the crowds had left, and when all the people quit making all the noise, then God said something.
And when God said something, it wasn't loud, it wasn't boisterous, it wasn't flamboyant, there were no tambourines beating, there were no saints dancing, there was no jumping and jerking and shouting and hollering and talking in tongues. It was none of the stuff that we associate with what God sounds like. God did not sound like what you would think he would sound like. He whispered. That's where I'm gonna get through to. Is to listen at that still, small voice. Because that's where the game changes. Oh, that's good, that's good.
He that learns to hear the still, small voice will come out of the cave with more than he ever had when he went in. He that can determine the still, small voice after all of uproar is gone, and all the clowds and noise have dissipated out of the way, he that has an ear to hear what the spirit says to the church, that's what I'm going after. Then I want you to understand something, hear me real good tonight, hear me real good. I'm not just teaching just to hear myself talk. I want to tell you about how many times I have escaped the tempter's snare because of something God whispered.
To build or not to build, to move or not to move, to accept this friend or not accept this friend, to return this call and not return this call. I've oft escaped the enemy's trap to a whisper. And I'm feelin' the Holy Ghost, down in the depths of my spirit, that there's somebody that's listening at me right now that God wants to whisper in your ear, but you are so busy talking you can't hear. You're so busy rehearsing your story. Twice Elijah tells his story to God, who already knew his story. So if you think God needs Elijah to tell him his story? Do you think God needs you to tell him what needs to happen in your house, in your marriage, in your church, or your job, in your life? Hush! Be still and know that I am God.
In the stillness of the moment God touches his attention. Finally does something that nothing else can do. Jezebel's threats couldn't do it, the ravens feeding him couldn't do it up under the juniper tree, outrunning the chariot didn't do it, being locked up in the cave didn't do it, lightning didn't do it, an earthquake didn't do it. But when he finally got Elijah to shut up, God said, "I got you here 'cause I got something I want to tell you".
I don't know who's watching me right now, but the Lord told me to tell you that he's got you here because he's got something he wants to tell you. Because your life's been too noisy, and too busy, and too fast and, too loud, and too rambunctious, and you couldn't hear. You heard thunder, you saw fire, you might have seen lightning. But none of that was God, God is not in it. And because we heard things that God was not in, you and I have made some crazy mistakes. And I put myself in the list with you 'cause I know what it is to go running after thunder only to find out that God was not in it.
Do you know the disappointment of going after lightning or fire, and thinking that God was in it, only to find out, oh wow, I've wasted time? God was not in it. And then to deal with the enemy saying, "I thought you knew the voice of God, I thought you did dah dah dah dah dah dah". And then you have to humble yourself, and steady yourself, and still yourself, and come down to a place where God can whisper. And the Lord says he's got something to tell you. Now don't move. The Bible says the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he shall show them his covenant. God's got secrets to tell you. Whoo!
God's got secrets to tell you about your purpose, about why you're in the earth, about what he's about to do in your life. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him and he shall show them his covenant. And it was a game-changer. Because all up until now, all we hear out of Elijah is, "Yah, yah, yah, yah, this is wrong, and that is wrong, those aren't real, those people are hypocrites, and they're not doin' it right, if they see my life", we don't hear anymore about them and they after this. When God got through whisperin' to him, he suddenly recognized his problem was not about them and it was not about they, and it was not about the threat of Jezebel or anything like that, that God had that all up under control.
But I want to talk to somebody who's been worried about a whole lot of stuff that really doesn't matter, because God can handle your Jezebel. God can handle your enemy. God can handle your anxiety. God can handle the thing you're worried about. God can deal with the problem. She said, by tomorrow, I'm gonna do to you what was done to them. But it's way past tomorrow. 40 days has passed and more than that, and she hadn't been able to do it.
Look back and see how many places God has brought you from, you've escaped snares you didn't even know you had, overcome obstacles you didn't even know existed. God has brought you along with him. The enemy'd had his way, he'd have got you in 24 hours, but God gave you day after day after day after day after day after day. So he doesn't bring you to the cave because he's tryin' to save you. He gets you to the cave, brings you to the cave, to change your perspective.
Oh, God. Whoo! I know I'm talking to somebody. Somebody oughta call me on the phone and tell me, it's me, because God brought you to the cave to change your perspective. Because all you talk about is what happened. That's all you know, is what you've been through. That's all you know, it's who tried to kill you, who tried to hurt you, who did this, and who did that, and who did the other, but that's all you know. But if you can hear the still, small voice of God, he's going to lead you into your destiny and away from your history. In a still, small voice.
God does not deal with the prophets of Baal, he doesn't talk to him about Jezebel, he doesn't talk to him about outrunning the chariot, he doesn't talk to him about how hungry he's been, he doesn't even talk about his isolation and his confinement. He said, I want you to head for Damascus and bring your oil with you, 'cause I'm gonna take you from caves to kings. I want the same for you. I'm going to take you from caves to kings. I couldn't take you to the kings before, 'cause you're so busy talkin' about what you've been through, I couldn't take you forward. I couldn't show you what I'm going to do because you keep telling me about what's already happened, like I don't know what happened.
Do you think God doesn't know what happened to you? Do you think God does not realize the injustices of the pain and the trauma you've been through? God already knows that, but God wants to whisper something to you. And you need to hear what the spirit of the Lord is saying, 'cause he's gonna show you not only how to get out of the cave, but how to get to the king. This is the Word of the Lord for somebody. You were not meant to stay in this cave, this isolated perspective, this self-loathing, this agony, this rehearsal of the same story over and over again. Just over and over again, same thing.
You've run people away from you because nobody wants to be around you because I already know what you're going to talk about. They already know what's gonna come up. Nothing fresh is coming out of you. Everything that's comin' out of your well is old water, dank water, dank smelly water. You should have living water coming out of your well. You should have fresh revelation come out of your well. But you become bitter and toxic, and God wants to stop it. He wants to stop it tonight. And he wants to stop it, not in the lightning and the thunder and the fire, he's going to stop it in a whisper, if you shut up.
I know, that's kind of rude, but I'm gonna say it. If you'd just be still, he said, I'm going to show you that the second half of your life is gonna be better than your first. I'm gonna show you that the days of Jezebel chasing you are coming to a close. I'm gonna show you that your days of you dealing with famines and obstacles are coming to a close. I'm going to show you where your help is. I gotta boy down there plowing in the field that's gonna come and he's gonna lift the weight up off you. I'm gonna send you to anoint Hazael to be king. I'm Gonna send you to anoint Jehu to be king. I'm gonna snap you away from caves and take you to kings.
I don't know, I don't know if you can handle this Word, I don't know if you can receive this Word, I don't know. God, help me to pierce the noise of how you see yourself so that you can hear this still, small voice is talking to you. I know the cave is uncomfortable, maybe even dangerous and deadly. I know that is has physiological repercussions as a result of your isolation. I feel your frustration, your agony and your pain, I get it, I get it, I get it! But God wants to whisper something to you. Let's go change the whole thing. He's gonna take you from caves to kings.