Have you been following the news lately? Admittedly it’s hard to put our devices down and turn off our tv’s for fear of missing the latest developments. But truly the best news comes as we look back in faith instead of ahead with fear. David, today’s author, takes us back in history to learn how God’s people trusted Him and how we still must trust Him today.
Be Strong and of Good Courage
As the world faces the current pandemic, I am reminded that the nation of Israel is no stranger in responding to crises. This goes for the small, yet strong body of believers as well. In 2014 Israel found herself having to respond to the daily barrage of rockets coming out of Gaza that were aimed at her civilians. The situation had deteriorated to being more than a thorn in Israel’s side. The daily disruptions had shut down schools and was causing an entire population to live in fear. The government was considering sending a ground force into Gaza to root out the source of this terror. It would certainly be messy and cost innocent lives. Those on the front line consisted of Israel’s youth—the 18-year-olds who are conscripted for 3 years after high school. These soldiers included the sons and daughters of our friends that we served alongside in ministry. Many were calling for a strong, hammer-like response to the terror.
In contrast to the outcries for blood, our pastor in Jerusalem, along with the elders, drafted a letter to the Prime Minister. In this letter, they assured the Prime Minister that they were aware of the heavy burden he carried on his shoulders. The elders let him know that this wasn’t the first time that the Jewish people faced a crisis that demanded a response. They assured him that there was a group of Jewish believers in Jesus who were praying for him. They implored him in the letter to turn to the One who would fight for them and not trust only in the weapons of war.
Our pastor wisely admonished us to pray. Pray for the Prime Minister. Pray for the soldiers and the army. Pray for the believers who live in Gaza. And pray for the terrorists who were behind the rocket attacks. Our focus was turned from one of fear leading to revenge, to one of faith leading to hope as we prayed for our enemies.
Today, we face a new enemy. COVID-19 is creating global uncertainty and panic. The world is watching how we as believers respond. On one level, we need to heed the advice and cautions of our government and medical professionals. Prudence regarding social-distancing and cleanliness is required. However, we must also respond as people of faith in the One whose hand is mighty to save. As fear and anxiety rise up in the hearts of those around us, we have the opportunity to give assurance that the One we serve cares for us and is in control. We have the opportunity to love our neighbors.
Joshua faced a critical situation after the death of Moses. The Bible tells us that the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel. Joshua in turn reminded Israel of all that the Lord had done for them as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty AND that they may fear the Lord their God forever. We need to remind ourselves daily of the great things God has done for us in the past so that we can be assured of his care for us in the future. Pray for your enemies; pray for those who don’t yet believe; pray for those who disagree with you politically. The hand of our God is mighty and his love for us is great.
David has served in the Middle East for the past 15 years, along with his wife. They have three grown children.