From the Pulpit: Pastor Lucious W. Smith Friendship Pasadena Church
“From Bondage to Breakthrough” Revelation 12; Numbers 13
Of all the accounts of people experiencing breakthrough in the word, Israel stands out the most to me because they experience a lot of things.
From God’s call of Abraham to these modern times, the nation of people in Israel have had their share of challenges but God has seen them through them all. The Lord will always be faithful to His people. Since we are His people and the sheep of His pasture, then we can expect the very same thing.
People will say prophetically that you’re about to experience a breakthrough. God is about to do something incredible in your life today, type amen and share if you believe. I see this on Facebook and it concerns me. It’s like a blanket post and anyone who reads it can take it to heart.
You know you get these chain letters that say send this to 20 people immediately and the Lord will provide all of your needs. All of your problems will end if you simply reply to everybody in your inbox. It’s amazing to me how many times I get that from Christian friends. I don’t know if they are rolling the dice and saying I might as well try this because life is tough. But God is very specific in how blessings come our way. God is very specific in how He requires us to live.
It’s not a gamble to trust in God, it’s not a crap shoot when we put our faith in Jesus. In the end, things will always work out the way God intends—that’s why the scripture says that all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. It didn’t say all things would be good, but that all things will work together for our good if you love the Lord and you have been called according to His purpose.
There is a purpose on the church today like never before. This purpose is not just to make it through the storms that are coming or to escape the crisis in the world. You are on assignment and Jesus made the assignment very plain. He said you are the light of the world. But the darkness that is in the world has become common place. People have become used to the darkness and the vile things that are everywhere. They’ve become used to an ungodly atmosphere, so much and so that if anything even resembles genuine Christianity, we become like an object of ridicule and scorn.
If you really want to live your life the way God wants you to live it, and I’m not talking about some kind of rigid thing where you can’t have any joy and folks don’t even like being around you because every word that comes out of your mouth is ‘thus saith the Lord.’ Can you say hello first? Can you say how are you first? Can you ask me how my day went before you tell me that I’m going to hell?
Remember Jesus meeting the woman at the well? He didn’t just go in hard on her about her lifestyle. He said, hey let’s have some water. Let’s talk. I’m interested in who you are. Now let’s deal with some spiritual things—go call your husband.
She told Jesus she wasn’t married. He said, ‘That’s right and a matter of fact, you’ve been married five times and now you’re with your fiancé and y’all been engaged for 17 years.’ But after that He began to cause her to realize that this was not a judgment of her life. This was an offer of water and she had a water pot that was her testimony. The fact that she had this water pot in the middle of the day was a testimony that she was carrying a burden to keep her away from other people who may have been critical of who she really was.
Women would not gather in the middle of the day, they would do it earlier in the morning so that they could do their household duties and chores so the fact that she was coming in later in the day could have been a get away from those prying eyes that always were criticizing her for her faults. We don’t know why she had five failed relationships—could have been her choices, could have been something completely outside of her control.
Too often we view people where they are. We come to conclusions based on where they are and not how they got there. So, we drive by the person on the side of the road and look down on the fact that they are so dirty. They don’t have access to showers like you do. Maybe they lost their jobs because the company folded and they pulled the rug out from under them. Maybe they were abused as a child. Before you judge people for where they are, find out who they are first.
God is trying to get us out of bondage. If you know anything about the history of Israel, you would know for 400 years they were in bondage to the Egyptians. Sometimes we focus on the bondage but we forget the blessings. Sometimes you can stay too long in a place of blessing that it becomes a place of bondage.
It feels good in the beginning and it starts off well, you bought that car with every intention of it taking you to church but now you’re struggling under the car note. But you’d rather struggle under the car note than send the car away because people look at you differently when you roll up and you can’t go back to the bucket anymore. So now you’re stuck in something that should have been a blessing but now it becomes bondage.
You prayed for that job and it started off well. You got paid but now you’re never home and family never sees you. So, what was a blessing for your family now becomes bondage. Sometimes the place we were once blessed, the place where your spiritual river was running so deep has now become a place of bondage because you are married to God’s last blessing that you can’t realize God has something deeper, richer and fresher for you. So, the place God blessing that God moved in your yesterday, becomes the bondage that keeps you from moving into your tomorrow.
Bondage can become a pattern, bondage can become a habit that we grow accustomed to, we know there is something better but you’ve never experienced something better so sometimes it is easier to stay in a comfortable place of bondage than to risk moving out into a place you’ve never seen. There’s ultimately a better place for us but the question is whether we are willing to go through and willing to do what it takes to break the bondage of our yesterday so that we can reach the destiny of our tomorrow. Sometimes we can get stuck in the prison of our past, the past should be a place to celebrate what it was that happened that allowed you to be where you are.
Israel was stuck in a place that their past blessing became a present bondage. So when God said it’s time to leave, they were so ready to go because God had promised them a land filled with milk and honey. There is a bigger place for your life and God is going to build on it. The glory of the present house is greater than the glory of the past house. God wants to do something greater, He wants to give you more than you’ve ever had.
Some of you are in desert phase in your life and you wonder why you are going through such a dry season. It could very well be that God is trying to test you in your dry season to see if you are going to be worthy of the blessing He has in store. Have you grown comfortable in a place of just enough and God wants to move you in a place of more than enough?