A few days ago the church that I’ve been going to, First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Maryland, had a New Years Revival 2017 event. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see Marvin Sapp and Priscilla Shirer speak but I was able to see T.D. Jakes speak in person.
T.D. Jakes spoke from the book of Numbers 14:1-9 KJV and broke it down in a way that allows us to apply the words from this scripture to our everyday lives. I am going to go over the background of this scripture then list all the memorable lessons I received from T.D. Jakes’ sermon.
During this scripture, Moses was leading the Israelites to the land God promised them after God used Moses to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. To further understand T. D. Jakes’ sermon and the background of the scripture, here is information on Moses’ history leading up to this moment. Moses was an Israelite but he was raised by an Egyptian Pharaoh’s daughter. However, by God’s grace his biological mother (unbeknownst to the Egyptians) nursed him until Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him as her son (Exodus 2). When Moses grew up, he killed an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew slave. He later was approached by two Hebrews who questioned his right to judge and kill someone. Knowing news of him killing an Egyptian would get back to the Egyptian Pharaoh, he fled to the land of Midian where he met his wife and became a shepherd. While he was in the land of Midian, the Egyptian Pharaoh died. Then an angel of God came to Moses in the image of a flaming bush and told Moses to go back to Egypt to free the Israelites. Moses questioned God and let God know that he had a speech impediment. But for every question Moses had, God had an answer proving that He will be with Moses which will yield victory (Exodus 3-4). One thing to note is when Moses asked his very first question “Why me?” God responded by saying “I’ll be with you…and this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain” (Exodus 3:11-12 MSG). Moses and God’s conversation leads me to the title of TD Jakes lesson “My Battle is My Bread”. Moses stated all the battles he saw that would keep him from being victorious in freeing the Israelites (receiving his bread) but God’s responses confirmed that those very battles help show “proof that [God was] the one who sent [him]”. The battle is why God uses you and gives you unique passions/goals/purposes so that when you receive your bread you and the whole world knows it was because of God. Now here’s the scripture below and the list of memorable lessons I learned from TD Jakes’ sermon:
Numbers 14:1-9 – 1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 3 And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: 7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 8 If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 9 Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.
The List of Memorable Lessons I Learned from T. D. Jakes Sermon
1. Money is in land. Land is not in money…but this scripture is not about land. It is about food. Back then land was more valuable than money. In the previous chapter of the book of Numbers (Numbers 13), Moses sent a few Israelites to spy on the land the Israelites were preparing to conquer. (T.D. Jakes side note: Spy out whatever God has promised for you.) The spies came back and gave reasons as to why the land could not be taken. At this point, the Israelites were hungry and tired of fighting for land they already thought was theirs. They wanted the easiest way out. To them that meant going back to Egypt. Meanwhile God was waning them off of the Egyptian ways and getting them to a point where they had to solely depend on Him. The mixture of being hungry and being nomads that had to fight other nomads to gain the land they were promised made the Israelites feel like their blessing of being freed from the Egyptians was now becoming their burden. However, this burden made them seek God. Which leads me to my next point.
2. Dry places will make you see God. The Israelites were in a dry place. Have you ever been in a dry place in your life where no one (not even your close family and friends) understood what you were going through? All you knew is that you were surviving an unspeakable battle everyday (internal or external) that you could not articulate. Everyone has their own battles which make them unique to the person they are and the destiny God has for them. Including me. The great thing about being in a dry place is that while your hunger is leading you towards food, God is leading you in the right direction toward unexpected blessings that are much better than the food you thought you needed.
3. What do you do when what was working stopped working? You may think God has forsaken or forgotten about you when He is just waning you off of what you’re used to in order to prepare you for the better He has for you. For example, as a baby christian God gave me everything I wanted when I wanted it. I was good at Track & Field and never thought for a second growing up from 4 years old to high school that I wouldn’t make it to the Olympics. I still believe this but the difference is back then I had my family physically present as a support system, coaches that I didn’t have to search for, and thought I would be successful in anything I put a little hard work into. I believed hard work would always yield results. However in my junior year of college, I started to experience hard work without the results when it came to Track & Field. Then out of college I started to consider God was no longer with me when it came to Track & Field. So I tried to stop doing it. Then God made it clear to me that He didn’t want me to stop. He just had a different way he wanted me to achieve my goals; and working at the Pentagon was a part of that. He waned me off of the things that I was so used to having and put me in an environment where I literally had to pray all day everyday just to get me through the day. This has made me so much more stronger than I was in college.
4. The closer you get to the promises, the less miracles there are. When you are a baby christian, I believe God will do miraculous things to get you in the right position and headed in the right direction to achieve the destiny He has for you. Then He wanes you and grows you to become someone that can handle the destiny He has for you. I also believe when you’re closer to your promise, miracles are still being done behind the scenes of your life. It won’t be until you reach the right place and the right moment in time where you can look back to see all the miraculous things God has done for you. You then will begin to feel overwhelmed with the love He has for you. Thinking about all the times you cried and fought your way through (thinking He wasn’t there), you later see the indescribably beauty of His overwhelming presence in your life. The moment you experience the success of reaching your destiny is the moment you will realize how much God really knew you better than you knew yourself. You will be grateful that He orchestrated your path instead of you. While you were fighting your way through the battles, God was always one step ahead clearing the way for you and fighting the battles you couldn’t see.
5. The devil created walls for you before you even existed because he knew the plans God had for you. When there is a wall you’re facing and every time you approach that wall all hell breaks lose, keep fighting through it because there is a blessing on the other side. Before I elaborate more on this, I want to share this Bible story. The Israelites were nomads. They knew how to survive and fight other nomads. However when they got to Jericho, there was an issue. They could fight a man; but what could they do when they had to conquer a wall (or obstacle) to get to that man. Jericho had a wall around it and God told the Israelites to walk around the wall one time for six days then on the seventh day to walk around it seven times with loud trumpets sounds and shouts (Joshua 6 MSG). The Israelites did this and the wall came tumbling down killing the men behind the walls. To apply this to a modern day example, racism in America was created before any African American of this generation was ever born. In the goal of trying to overcome the African American struggle in America, we have our own ways of fighting through it. However, if we turned to God and let him tell us how we should break through those barriers and stereotypes in an unconventional way, it will yield the victory that we, as an individual, need. Thus causing another step toward yielding the victory that we, as a people, need.
6. Your power is in how you perceive your problem. You don’t need all of the things you think you need to claim victory. God was showing off when he used Moses who stuttered to speak on behalf of the Israelites and lead them into freedom. He also was showing off when the Israelites had less than what they thought they needed when they won battles as they got closer to the promise land.
7. The significance of the Israelites’ complaint in Numbers 14:3-4. For the generation of Israelites that never experienced slavery under Egypt but said they wanted to go back to Egypt was like them saying “I would rather fight my father’s devil than fight for the future I want to provide for my son(s) or daughter(s).” Why would you go back to where you’ve never been and fight a fight that your ancestors have already fought? Don’t allow yourself to fall back into who you used to be fighting the devils you or your ancestors have already conquered because moving forward to provide for your family for generations to come is too hard. It’s not fruitful and it is not worth it.
8. They can’t take my bread because they can’t take (handle) my battle. Don’t ever feel worried or threatened that someone else is going to take the things that God has already given you. No matter how hard they try, they cannot have “your bread” because they could not handle the battle that you went through to get “your bread.” Again, no one can take what God has already given you and do not allow the devil to make you think that they can. This goes back to #6: Your power is how you perceive your problem. If you perceive that you don’t have your bread then you will feel like you don’t have your bread. If you perceive that someone else has your bread then you will feel like someone else has your bread (and be jealous). However, if you know you have your bread and no one else can take it because they won’t be able to handle it, then you will be at peace knowing that bread was made only for you by God.
9. Seeing the bread and not the battle. TD Jakes admitted that preachers cause people to see the bread but sometimes don’t tell people about the battle it takes to obtain the bread. However, he also stated he’d rather have people see the bread but not the battle than have people see the battle but not the bread. I believe my first year out of college I went from always seeing the bread to seeing nothing but the battle. It’s a phase I went through but now have come out a lot stronger acknowledging the battle but doing much better at focusing on nothing but the bread.
10. How to be greater this year. After going through what I went through these past few years working at the Pentagon and pursuing Track & Field, I realized, as God was waning me, I was already doing the 3Cs daily just to survive the day to day struggle. Granted, I still need to improve on them but I wasn’t doing them in college anywhere near as much as I am now. These 3 Cs were repeated by TD Jakes over and over and over again at the end of his sermon. It was also the answer to the question I was asking myself throughout the whole sermon. I see the bread but how in the most applicable way do I get it (because I have tried everything)? His answer: Consecrate. Commitment. Consistency. Then repeat.
Consecrate – Dedicate ALL that you do to God.
Commitment – Dedicate yourself to whatever goals/passions/purpose you are thriving to accomplish/fullfil in the will of God (dictionary secondary definition I found interesting: an obligation that restricts freedom of action).
Consistency – Continue to be steadfast and unwavering in whatever goals/passions/purpose you are thriving to accomplish/fulfill in God’s will.