Psalms 126:1-6 “When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. 3 The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. 4 Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. 5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
We are the servant and God is the master. However, if we position ourselves, God will work through us.
God does a sudden work in such a way that not only do we notice but the heathen notices as well. We don’t have to testify, the testifying will do it for you.
God will turn something that has caused captivity in your life into a victory.
Joseph had no comfort from family. He was all alone, but suddenly, he was used of God and everything was turned.
There were four lepers in Elisha’s day and Israel was under siege. The people were starving and were boiling and eating their children. They had gone without for so long, they had lost hope and didn’t believe a prophetic word that food would be sold cheap the next day.
Can God trust you with hunger and lack before He opens the windows of heaven?
Paul and Silas had been beaten and put in prison. God turned their captivity into revival.
Can God trust you with ministerial failures before He gives you revival?
The Light, the Meal and the Stone are three stories of how God turned their captivities. You can exchange the word ‘captivity’ for ‘circumstances’ or ‘situations’ or ‘problems’ or ‘issues’.
You can gain God’s favor by letting your Light shine.
Judges 6:1 “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.”
They were in captivity because of their own doing. But, it wasn’t their own doing that got them out of captivity. That’s good because sometimes, we get ourselves into something we need help to get out.
Judges 6:2-4 “And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. 6:3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; 6:4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. 11 And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.”
Sometimes, we don’t see ourselves the way God sees us. Gideon did not see himself as a ‘mighty man of valour.’ Yet, if God says it, it’s true.
Gideon ended up with an army without weapons at a ratio of 400:1. God instructed Gideon to get a light and a trumpet. They had the odds stacked completely against them. They were in bondage and captivity. Their only hope was a miracle from God.
In the midst of their captivity, God turned the situation. If you can shine your light and blow your trumpet, God will do the rest.
Sometimes, you get the odds against you. The natural thing is to complain and it looks like you’re not even a Christian. Instead, let your light shine. Don’t complain and hope and see God do a miracle.
Because Gideon and his men let their light shine, God put panic in the hearts of the enemy. The enemy fought each other and died. Gideon watched as the enemy killed themselves off. God fought for them. They began fighting, grabbing spears and shields. Victory came because they shined their light.
Let your Light shine. Sometimes, you’ve got to blow your trumpet and hold up your own little lantern. The odds may look bad, but God is greater. Speak faith into your situation.
Another way to get the favor of the Lord is through a meal.
A king liked to have parties during the time of Esther. The king was furious that his wife didn’t obey his command to appear before the people at his party. The queen was cast out. So, the king was lonely. His advisors told him to have a beauty contest and pick the prettiest one.
Esther was chosen.
Her uncle told her not to tell anyone she was a Jew because God was up to something. Haman was evil. He loved when people bowed to him. Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, refused to bow. He was a Jew and Jews don’t bow to anyone except their God.
Sometimes, the world and your situation will get worse because of who you serve and who you are (a child of the King).
There was a way, through a meal, for God to get glory.
Haman tricked the king into signing an edict for the murder of every Jew on a certain day. Mordecai told Esther that she was chosen as queen for such a time as this. It was a dangerous thing he asked, and Esther put her life on the line, but she did it anyway.
‘If I perish, I perish.’ Esther pleased the king. She knew that she needed to get the favor of the king. Haman wanted to trick the king to get his way.
You can’t hide anything from God. It’s not through deceit that you’ll get a victory, it’s about pleasing Him. You can’t fool God, but you can please Him.
Esther asked to speak to the king. The king offered her up to half the kingdom and she didn’t take it. Instead, she spent two days entertaining the king. What does the king like? Parties, entertainment. Sometimes, you must please the king.
Esther made food for her king. He offered to give her whatever she wanted and she didn’t take it again but instead asked him to come back the next night.
That night, the king couldn’t sleep and had history read to him. They came to the part about the time where Mordecai saved the king’s life. The next day, Haman came with papers to kill Mordecai. The king asked, ‘What should I do to honor someone?’ Haman responded with all kinds of things he would like. Then, the king commanded Haman to honor Mordecai in all the ways Haman suggested.
If you will bless the Lord and entertain Him, He will humiliate your enemy in your presence. How can you please God? Faith, obedience, honesty, and integrity please Him. Get the sin out of your life. Honor Him. God will turn your situation to your favor.
Finally, the king asked Esther what she wanted. She said, ‘I’m going to die because of an edict wicked Haman tricked you to sign.’ That night Haman was hung on his own gallows. What was designed to destroy you will be your victory!
Esther never asked to kill Haman, she just wanted deliverance.
You’ve got to talk right (shine that Light). Serve and please God (the Meal).
The Stone is about a young shepherd boy who cared for the sheep. He loved praising God out there with the sheep. He learned how to use a sling to go the length of a football field in under 2 seconds. It had the stopping power of a .45 caliber gun.
When David went up against Goliath, Goliath came against him with a spear, a shield, and a sword. All David had was the name of the Lord. He had a stone. David came to a knife fight with a gun. If the rock didn’t kill him, there was another plan.
When Goliath fell, David took Goliath’s own sword and cut off his head.
David got to keep the sword. David had trained for that moment by learning to use a sling.
We have weapons that are not natural.
Remember your training. It has nothing to do with your talents and skill. A stone will do nothing against a sword unless you have training.
God can use what you have and turn your captivity around and bring freedom. Be a light (speak right), serve God (meal), remember your training. Please God. You will get His favor if you let your Light shine, serve (the meal), and use that stone (remember your training).
Today is a day that God will turn captivity around.
David used the sword of Goliath. Gideon used the sword of the Lord. Esther used the gallows designed to kill Mordecai. All these weapons were used against evil and brought good.
If we endure with the right mentality, the turning of our captivity will take place.
All of a sudden it can happen. Be patient and endure. 90% of the will of God is doing what you already know what to do. Keep doing the same thing as long as it’s the right thing. God is still in charge. You’ve got to water that plant every day. Keep on keeping on.
You are here for such a time as this!
A bamboo plant takes five years to pierce the soil, then, overnight grows 80 feet!
God will take what was designed to destroy you and bring victory.
More Questions for Personal or Group Study:
- In what situations are you tempted to complain? Why? How do you need to change your thinking to get in alignment with God?
- As you reflect on Sunday’s sermon, what one principle or insight stands out as being particularly helpful, insightful, or difficult to grasp? Why?
- Read Psalm 30. How does the attitude of the psalmist please God? Are you willing to trust God while in the midst of ‘mourning’? Will you trust Jesus to turn your ‘mourning into dancing’?
- Looking at the Light, the Meal, and the Stone, what do you need to incorporate more of into your ‘situation’ and life?
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.