TD Jakes - Shift Strategies
In the particular texts before us tonight, Samuel is not ready. He knows the order of the house, he knows how to dress the lamps, that's why the Bible says that ere the lamp of God went out in the temple, part of his responsibilities as an adjutant growing up in the house of God was to keep oil in the lamp. The lamp is starting to dim, and in the flickering light, in the flickering light, Samuel is about to go to sleep, and Eli is about to go to sleep, and the light is flickering, about to go to sleep, and all of this is signs that a shift is about to occur, a shift in the twilight. God moves in the twilight, he didn't move in the daylight, he moved in the twilight when all of our senses have come to ease, where we can hear him above hearing them. The noise has been too loud during the day, the activities have been too busy during the day, but now in the ebb of the tide of the day and the eve of the evening and the lamp of God getting dim, and the two, yesterday and tomorrow, are both laying down, tonight God begins to speak.
Oh my God. God speaks in the dark places. He did in the creation when he said, "let there be light". God speaks in the dark places. We don't need the great, big, rambunctious move of the spirit that we have in the church, where everybody explodes, and everybody's worshiping, and everybody is praising God, for God to speak. Sometimes the greatest words that we will ever get from God are in the twilight moments of our lives, in the twinkling lights of our lives, in the times that we are in the cave like Elijah. God speaks during the quiet times. We love the rambunctious voice of God, when he swoops down and takes over the service, but real shifts in your life are done in the quiet, in the stillness of a spirit who is no longer being governed by eyesight and ears and nose and mouth. All of that is laying down, and now God has a chance to be heard.
Write that down, God has a chance to be heard. Have you come to a place of stillness yet, where God has a chance to be heard? Or are you so busy doing what you're doing that if God would speak, you would never even notice it? All the activities have ceased. The table of shewbread is closed, the bread has been put away, all the artifacts have been cleaned, the bowls, the vials, the trumpets, everything has been put into its place, and when things get calm, God whispers. The whispering voice of God is so important to the development of our souls that we could hear him in the whisper, that we can hear him in the commons, and some of us refuse to be still long enough to hear from God, so we manufacture a voice that we think is God, but it is really coming from our emotions, and it is not coming from our spirit, it's coming from our soulish realm and not from our spirit man. But Eli is getting sleepy, and Samuel is getting sleepy, and the lamp is getting sleepy, and then the light of the world begins to speak. "Samuel"! Samuel leaps out of bed and rushes toward Eli. Clearly, he don't disrespect him. He says, "You called me"? Eli says, "I called thee not".
Young people, hear me good. It's not that older people don't have flaws, it's not that your previous generation didn't have flaws, is not that our previous generation didn't have flaws, but until you respect the fact that they have survived, you cannot unlock your own destiny, you cannot be drunken with the wine of youth to the point that you tear up the temple. Eli rose up, and Samuel rose up and went to Eli with great respect, and I want to read that, and he ran up to Eli and said, "Here am I, for thou calls me," and he said, "I called not, lie down again," and he went and lay down. He didn't argue, he didn't fuss, he was tryin' to make sure he was in the right place at the right time. He's a good son, with a declining, weak father, but he had nonetheless a good son.
I run into so many of our men who are angry with their fathers, both their spiritual fathers and their natural fathers, they're angry with authority, they have never been exposed to authority, they don't know how to respond to authority, they only know how to respond to mama. And they've got all kinds of issues, and they don't understand authority, and now they're in the situation where you think you can be rebellious against those who went before you and still build something successful. Until you understand your daddy's devil, you are bound to repeat the generational curse that preceded you. Samuel's respect for Eli is something that gets swept under the rug and it's never mentioned. It's just like David's respect later for Saul. He never did anything to kill Saul, even though he was his successor. He respected him, and the one who brought him the voice that Saul had been killed, David slew him. He still respected Saul as God's anointed, that's what we've lost in the church today. The respect for God's anointed. If there's something wrong with them, God'll fix it.
Samuel leaps up out of bed and comes runnin' to Eli, and Eli says I called thee not, told him to go lie down. He went back to the place he was told to lay, and he laid down again. There's something to be said for obedience, write that down. Obedience, obedience is better than sacrifice. He didn't argue, he didn't say, I'm tired of comin' over here don't call me anymore, if you don't want me, no opinions, just obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice, but it's not the children's fault, because they have not been raised to obey, they've not been raised to obey. Obedience has to be taught to us. If it's not taught to us, we don't know how to do it. Samuel has been taught obedience. He lays down, three times God calls him and three times he thinks it's Eli. You know why? When God first starts to speak to you, he always sounds like the mentor he sent to mentor you, and God sounds like Eli. He's familiar with how he Eli sounds. He runs to Eli, he's sure it's Eli. Eli three times says, I called thee not.
Now, listen at this, I want to go through this whole shifting thing and understand this a little better. Samuel, the young man, can hear from God. He can definitely hear from God. He hears from God three times, not one time did Eli hear from God. The young man could hear from God, and every time God called him, he reacted. He's young, Eli's days of leaping out of the bed are over. Samuel leaps out of the bed and runs toward Eli, and Eli doesn't even know what is going on. You may have the youthful nimbleness and agility and discernment to be able to hear from God, Samuel; but Samuel, you can hear from him, but you don't understand what you hear. Eli, on the other hand, has lost his hearing. His eyes are dim and his ability to hear from God is dissipated, but he has not lost his understanding, 'cause the Bible said that Eli perceived that the Lord had called.
Now, I want you to look at the contrast, and the strength between the younger and the older. The young man can leap out of bed, the young man can hear what the Spirit is saying, but he cannot understand how to act on what he hears. The old man can no longer hear what the Spirit is saying, but he can perceive what is talking to the young man and tell him how to respond to it. Samuel doesn't even know how to respond to what he hears without the wisdom of the elders. In order for us to move into the shift that God has for us, both generations, all generations have to come together in a respect, one toward the other, in order to get this done. Because no matter how gifted you are, no matter how talented you are, no matter how many people are coming to hear you speak, no matter how many people are interested in what you're trying to do, you got a blindside, and you need somebody to tell you how to respond to what you're sensing.
Eli says to him after three times of God calling, he says go back and lay down again, and if he speaks again, say speak Lord, for thy servant heareth. That was the missing piece that shot around and changed this whole narrative. You need direction, you need correction, you need instruction. You need direction, you need correction, you need instruction. Until you can bear direction, correction, and instruction, the shift will not occur.
Behold! I will do a thing in Israel at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. You will not have to promote yourself, you will not have to present yourself, you will not have to use all of these outlandish gimmicks in order to move your generation. I will make both ears of them that hear it begin to tingle, if you will listen. Tonight, when we consider the whole notion of shift strategies, and we're looking at this text, we're looking at it from a place of humility, because God is obviously shifting everything around us. The Philistines, unbeknownst to Samuel, are lining up, getting ready to make war with Israel. The stage is set, it is critical that Samuel hears from God in this moment.
If you'll read over the next few chapters, you will learn that Eli is almost finished, and we brag about, yes, Eli fell off his throne, they lost the battle later, in the next chapter, they lose the battle, and they're get defeated by the Philistines, and Eli falls off his throne and breaks his neck, and his daughter-in-law goes into labor and has a baby called Ichabod, and it says the glory of the Lord has departed and Hophni and Phinehas are dead. One big cataclysmic event, and the priest is gone, his sons are dead, the glory has departed, and God is starting to move. When God moves, everybody has to pay attention, everyone's ears start to tingle, and Samuel was snatched from the background to the forefront, because God has ordered a shift.
I don't know who this is for, but this is a prophetic word through this Bible class. There is major shifting going on in your life, and God is calling you into divine alignment to be prepared for what he's about to do, and if it's going to happen the way it's supposed to happen, you're gonna have to find your calm place and be still and stop telling everybody what ought to be done, and you're gonna have to get some direction, and you're going to have to endure some correction. You know why you have to endure correction? Because when you can take correction, you're showing that I know how to be a son. You're talkin' about who wasn't there as a father, you don't know how to be a son. Correction proves authentic sonship. You are not my son just 'cause I give you gifts, and I'm always doing what you want me to do, that doesn't make you my son. You are my son when you endure chastisement, and you are still there. Until you can endure correction, stop praying for spiritual fathers and spiritual mothers when you have a bastardized attitude. I'm almost finished.
And then God gives you instruction, and God begins to instruct Samuel because Samuel has humility. You cannot instruct people who are arrogant. We are where we are in this nation because we have too much arrogance. You know how many people are dead of COVID because of arrogance? Now some, many, many people died through no fault of their own, I'm not saying that, I'm not saying that, I know many people did all they could with what they had to do, but some people died because they wouldn't listen at instructions. They lost their life because they wouldn't take correction, because they refused to be directed. Any freedom that you have that gets you killed is too much freedom.
Well, go ahead and fight for your freedom, I'm all for being free, my ancestors was a slave, but any freedom that you insist on that ends up getting you killed is not a freedom I want. And we are in the middle of a shift, and the ground is literally moving right from under our feet, and God says I want you in the right place at the right time, so that I can give you the right instruction for what I'm about to do in your life, and I want you to stop being in a panic and an uproar about what I took or what you lost or what changed, because I am moving things around, and I have something for you in the shift, and you've got to stop having a tantrum about the change, 'cause it's all a part of my divine strategy. You say things are out of control, which means you think I lost control. I'm God, I have never lost control. I'm still in control. I bring up one, whether you like them or not I bring 'em up. And I take down another, whether you love them or not I do it because I'm God, and I'm sovereign, and I'm smarter than you, and it's time for you to be still, because I have a strategy.
When God got through shifting things around, everything had changed, and history began to clap its hands as the evolution and the development of the people of God began to mature. There comes a point... when my girls were little, we used to dress them in these little pretty Easter frocks, and we'd have their hair with bows and barrettes in their hair, and the mother would braid their hair, and they'd be all pressed down and beautiful, and little socks comin' up halfway up their little leg, and little shoes on, and they looked so cute. They were lovely, that was wonderful, it was so nice, I got some pictures that you would, you would laugh at, of all the beautiful little outfits that they used to wear, but there came a time, we had to put them away. No matter how beautiful they looked in them, we had to put them away and make way for what is and not hold onto what was.
When my oldest boys were young we'd dress them alike, and they'd come out dressed alike, and then they got to a certain age as twins, they didn't wanna be dressed alike, they wanted their own individuality. We had to put it away, and we had to fall in love with what is and not what was. We're in that kind of shift right now, and it's difficult and it's scary and it's painful, and we're folding up clothes we liked, and we have to put them away, because we are in the middle of a shift. Paul says, when I was a child, I spake, I understood, and I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I had to put away childish things. What do you need to put away in order to be ready for what's next?
The message tonight is "Shift Strategies". Are you open to it? Are you ready for it? Are you listening? That is the Word of God to you. Are you listening? Lift your hands for just a moment, take your hands off the keys, lift your hands and worship for just a moment. For just a moment, for just a moment, stop talking for just a moment, stop typing for just a moment and lift your hands and open your mouth and worship. Like this:
Oh, God, I love you. I thank you, I give you the praise, you're God, you're King of kings, the ruler of the universe, do whatever you want to do, say whatever you wanna say, we submit our selves before you, sir. We can do nothing but groan before you, because you're God. Have mercy on us, have mercy, mercy, mercy, have mercy, we are hungry for you. Our arrogance has destroyed not only years, but relationships and children and families, and we submit ourselves, and we are laying at your feet. Speak Lord, for thy servant hears. We humble ourselves, we're at your feet, we praying, we seek your face, we turn to you, we need you like we've never needed you before. We can't do anything without you. We can't move without you, we can't breathe without you, we can't do without you.
While you're in this worship moment, while the Lord is speaking to your heart, while the Lord is dealing with you, listen. Some of the problems that you have didn't have to be that way, didn't have to end that way, didn't have to go that way, but if you learn from them, you can use it to stop it from happening again, and again, and again, and again. I've read to you 11 verses out of 1 Samuel, chapter number 3, I want you to read them again. I want you to think about what you heard, and what you learned, I want you to apply them to some area of your life where you need direction and you need correction and you need instruction, and you're humble enough to go and get in a quiet place and let God talk to your heart.