Most of us, at some time in our life, have faced an insurmountable problem with no apparent solution in sight. This can lead to fear, confusion, panic, or despair. For many, the COVID-19 disease is a real and present danger, with no solution, vaccine, or foreseeable cure. Some experts predict a high degree of doom and gloom with little or no hope or optimism. Some go to the other extreme of down-playing the threat or even outright denial.
At the time of this writing, cases of contracting the disease and number of deaths are still on the rise at an alarming rate. How should we then live, think, or respond? Particularly, how should we as Christians handle this? Scripture says we have been given…”all things that pertain to life and godliness”…which include…”exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lusts”-2 Pet. 1:3-4.
I don’t have all the answers, but God does. Aand He has given us all we need in the Scriptures. So let’s look at a case when God’s people faced an insurmountable enemy with no human solution in sight. We don’t have the time or space to deal exhaustively with this passage, but I would encourage you to carefully read 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, and think your way through the following seven observations.
The PREDICAMENT- vs. 1-2
King Jehoshaphat reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah. Of course they had no radar or satellite detection system to give advance warning, so his scouts came suddenly to tell him of a vast multitude of soldiers coming their way. Three nations had combined forces to destroy Jerusalem and the nation of Judah. Judah was grossly outnumbered and there was no way they could successfully defend themselves or survive. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? America and the world is facing COVID-19, a new virus that is dangerous and deadly. It has afflicted virtually the whole world in a few short months, and there is still no known cure. So many feel helpless, doomed, and filled with fear and panic.
The PARTICIPATION- vs. 3-4
King Jehoshaphat was not a foolish, fearless leader. The Bible says he was afraid but he didn’t panic. He prepared himself to seek the Lord, proclaimed a season of fasting and prayer for the nation, and invited everyone to come from far and near to gather together to fast, pray, seek the Lord, and listen to God’s Word. They came in mass from all the cities in Judah and stood before the Lord as families, including men, women, children, and little ones. Thankfully our president proclaimed a recent Sunday to be a Day of Prayer. We have heard a lot about this being a time of “all hands on deck.”, Our passage leads us further.
The PRAYER- vs. 5-13
As the entire nation of Judah listened in rapt attention, King Jehoshaphat led them in one of the most eloquent and moving prayers recorded in the Bible. In his prayer, He:
- Addressed God as completely sovereign and all-powerful.
- Acknowledged how God has provided for His people and protected them in the past.
- Described their dire situation and formidable enemy.
- Admitted their helplessness and total inability to defeat this foe on their own.
Then the King said these crucial and beautiful words… “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” I believe God is waiting for the leaders, citizens, and even the physicians of America (and all nations) to acknowledge this kind of humble faith and focus upon the God of creation.
The PROCLAMATION- vs. 14-15
When the King and the people of Judah humbly acknowledged their dependence and need of God’s help and mercy, God raised up a Spirit-filled prophet to give them hope and assurance. The message was both comforting and clear:
“Don’t be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
Wow! Don’t you think we could use this same message right now? It seems that most are controlled by fear and focusing only on what man can do to combat this COVID-19 enemy. God did have things He wanted the people of Judah to do, but it did not involve conventional means of warfare.
The PLAN- vs. 16-18
God did not want his people to directly engage the enemy with swords or hand-to-hand combat. He told them where the enemy would be. He told them to go and get in position opposite the foe, and then “to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” God wanted His people to watch Him wage war and win , and then to worship Him in gratitude.
As I said earlier, I don’t have the answers, and I certainly don’t know what God plans to do with the COVID-19 virus pandemic. But I am certain that God has a plan and wants His created beings to humbly acknowledge His Person, providence, and power. He wants all to seek His face in repentance and faith, for victory and healing, choosing to believe in His protection and presence as of our Heavenly Father.
The PRAISE- vs. 19-21
After the King, the leaders, and the people bowed before the Lord and worshipped, King Jehoshaphat urged them to believe the Lord and His prophets, which would lead to their safety and prosperity. As a sign of their faith, the King ordered the spiritual leaders and musicians to march ahead of Judah’s army, singing as they marched toward the enemy and praising the Lord for his beauty, holiness and mercy. How wonderfully impacting it would be if our president and congress would schedule a national assembly on the mall in Washington D.C., simply for the purpose of praising the one, true God! (although it would the social distancing rules), How wonderful it would be .to hear faith-filled musicians play and sing, “How Great Thou Art,” “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” “To God Be the Glory,”,“Amazing Grace,” “He Will Hold Me Fast,” and more. “For praise from the upright is beautiful”- Psalm 33:1
The PROVISION- vs. 22-30
As they began to sing and praise the Lord, God began to defeat their enemies in astounding and miraculous ways! He confounded Judah’s seemingly insurmountable foe, and the enemy soldiers turned on each other, self-destructing before the wide-eyed citizens of Judah. Soon there were no survivors among the attacking hordes, and the jubilant Judeans were gleefully taking the spoils of war which took three days to haul away! God had kept His promise. He fought for them and won the victory! Again, a grateful nation gathered in Jerusalem to joyfully give God the glory for the great things He had done for them.
I readily acknowledge that God has not specifically promised us this kind of sweeping victory over the COVID-19 virus. But in His sovereign providence and wisdom, God has allowed this disease to sweep over the world. Doubtlessly, the Lord desires that we would have the humility and honesty to respond as King Jehoshaphat and Judah did. I believe if we truly followed the 7 steps mentioned above, then God would do great and mighty things that we could not comprehend.
Jer 33:3 Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
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Do not be anxious about anything. (Phil 4:6)
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control. Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19. As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.”
Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it: Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live: Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.
God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble. When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19
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to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
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