Scripture: Isaiah 54:1-6
The scripture for this message is found in the book of Isaiah. Let me share a little background about the prophet Isaiah, who was also called the prophet of redemption. He spoke to the children of Israel about God’s hatred of sin and idolatry and called them to repentance. He also prophesied about their redemption. In the New Testament, he is referred to by name 21 times and alluded to many times. Jesus began His ministry by reading from Isaiah 61. God’s promise to redeem Israel can be found in Isaiah chapters 49-57.
Now, I’d like to talk to you about thinking big and stretching, strengthening and spreading out. Clear lots of ground for your tents, make your tent large, spread out; think big! Use plenty of cords, drive the tent pegs deep. You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family. You are going to take over nations. You are going to settle desolate cities.
Are you a big thinker? Give yourself permission to set bold goals, don’t put yourself in a small box. God’s got your back and nothing is too big for God. The biggest thinker was God, who created the universe and all that was in it. The people of Babel wanted to build a tower to heaven, but their language was confounded by God.
Big thinkers in the Bible include David, who wanted to build a house for the Lord, but was unable to because he had blood on his hands, so acquired the materials needed for the builders. Solomon, David’s son, built the temple and dedicated it to God. Ezra, with the king’s permission, carried the first and second group of exiles back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple which had been destroyed. Nehemiah, who was sad about the conditions of the walls surrounding Jerusalem, was permitted by the king to return to Jerusalem with the third group of exiles to rebuild the walls.
The world’s big thinkers include Steve Wozniak, who created the Apple computer and was advised to sell it to the public by his friend, Steve Jobs. Bill Gates and Steve Allen created Microsoft Windows. Sam Walton created Sam’s Clubs and Walmart. Jeff Bezos created Amazon. Are you a big thinker?
Mary W. Jackson was the first African American engineer hired by NASA. Robert Johnson created the BET television network. John H. Johnson created Johnson Publishing Company. Barack Obama rose from a community activist to a United States senator to president of the United States. Joe Biden rose from the United States Senate to vice president of the United States. Kamala Harris rose from California’s attorney general to the United States Senate to vice president of the United States. Think big!
God is ready to do bigger things in your life. Enlarge your tent, stretch your curtains, go to the next place that God wants you to go. Lengthen your cords, strengthen your pegs. Dwelling in tents was very common in biblical days, prior to the exodus. Tent dwellers were nomadic people following their cattle from one grazing place to another.
Following the 40-day flood, Noah‘s sons were the first tent dwellers. The children of Israel were tent dwellers during their 40 years in the wilderness before crossing into Canaan. The Ark of the Covenant was housed in a tent. The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were tent dwellers. The tent was constructed of black goat hair or dark sheep wool, woven into large strips by the women on a large loom.
The women selected suitable sites for the tents and put up and took down the tents. The word tent in Arabic means house. The tent consisted of material about three quarters broad and laid parallel with the tent’s length. The tent poles were usually three in number, placed in three groups. The ropes which held the tent in its place were fastened to loops consisting of leather thongs tied to the end of a peg around which is twisted a piece of cloth that is sewn into the tent cover. The pegs are hammered into the ground with a mallet.
Around the back and sides of the tent runs a piece of material, which is removable to let air in. The tent is divided into two rooms separated by a carpet petition drawn across the middle of the tent and fastened to the three-middle post. I believe that God has something great planned for us, tent dwellers today, a new season of growth and new opportunities. Make room for the increase.
Deuteronomy 19:8-9 in The Message Bible states, “When God, your God, enlarges your land, extending its borders as He solemnly promised your ancestors, by giving you the land He promised, because you are diligently living the way I am commanding you today, namely, to love God, your God, and do what He tells you all your life.”
In Geneses 17:1-2, The Message Bible reads, “When Abram was 99-years-old, God showed up and said to him, ‘I am The Strong God, live lively before me, live to the hilt! I’ll make a covenant between us and I’ll give you a huge family.’” In verses 4-5, God says, “This is my covenant with you: You’ll be the father of many nations.”
Ask God to enlarge your mind to believe His promises and have faith to do the command, “Go and tell somebody.” When Jesus called the 12 disciples, He promised to make them fishers of men. After the resurrection and before the Ascension, He gave them a new command. Matthew 28:18-19 in the Message Bible reads: “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near…”
God had given them the Holy Spirit and power, telling them to take the good news of the risen Christ, not only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles also, enlarging their territory. This was not a suggestion, but a command. As Christians, we are commanded to invite our families, our neighbors, our friends and the community to come with us and share our tent of the meeting. Failure to do so would show disobedience to our Father, God.
The songwriter, Israel Houghton, penned these lyrics to a song entitled, “No Limits (Enlarge My Territory), which state: “No Limits, No boundaries. I see increase all around me. Stretch for, Break for, Release me, Enlarge my territory.”
The writer, Cassandra Grant, said while listening to this song, she heard the spirit of the Lord say: “My people have been asking me to enlarge their territory, but it is now time, saith God, to turn things around. I am calling for people who will enlarge my territory. Who will give me room and space to work in their lives.
“I am looking for a people who will enlarge my territory in their lives, in their families, in their purpose and in their destiny and in their space to allow me to lead and direct so that they will reach an appointed place at an appointed time to do an appointed thing.
“When I find you, brace yourself, because the best of what I have comes in with me. I heard the Lord say no more Hollywood ministry without holiness, no more conversations without consecration. A holy people shall be brought forth from out of my own storehouse who shall feed my people well, says the spirit of God.”
Are you ready to ready to enlarge God’s territory? Think Big!! Stretch! Strengthen! Spread Out!
Gwendolyn Williams is a licensed AME exhorter at Brookins-Kirkland AME Church, led by Pastor Mary S. Minor, in Los Angeles.