Are you still overwhelmed by coronavirus news? We have non-corona news here, as in, did you hear the hottest book in town right now is the Bible?
Bible publishers have reported a jump in sales. In times of trouble and uncertainty, people turn to the comfort and clarity of God’s Word. Not groundbreaking news–in a crisis, people start looking for hope that only comes from God.
Brother Nobles preached a message on April 9 about encouraging ourselves and how there have always been conditions throughout the Bible and kingdom of God when the odds are stacked against us. He gave us four stellar examples of men from the Bible who, against all odds, encouraged themselves so they could keep on building and doing the will of God. Now we can follow their lead.
Share this with a friend who is working to remain thankful no matter what condition we are going through. You’re a lot like us 😉
God’s people are going to walk in impossible places. Men in the Bible faced trials and times they knew they were powerless, but they encouraged themselves and prayed, and God opened the doors of impossibility.
Enter, King Asa
“And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour. And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah. Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee.” 2 Chronicles 14:8-11
Pay attention to the overwhelming odds that are here: 580,000 men of valour coming out of Benjamin. Zerah the Ethiopian is coming at them with a million soldiers. You read that right. Asa was outnumbered two to one basically.
Totally Outnumbered or a Little Outnumbered?
It’s all the same to God. Whether it is a small or great strength coming against us, the odds do not matter to God. It’s all still God.
Asa leads the army into battle praying and resting on God. He knew despite the odds or whether it was a small or large number coming at them did not matter–it was nothing for God to help them.
That’s What You Call a Sweeping Victory
Not only do they drive back the million-man army, but Judah also manages to kill every last one. No exaggeration whatsoever there. And the warriors from Judah didn’t come out on the other side empty handed. “They carried away very much spoil.” The news today (don’t get wrapped up in it–yeah, you) and statistics will overwhelm us if we allow them, but whether our adversity is a small thing or a large thing, it does not matter. With God . . . it’s going to be a big win.
We Say That God Can. Let’s Live Like He Will.
We face smaller things individually, and as a group, larger things, but no matter, we all we have to depend on God. The condition before us today is a larger thing to us because it’s global. However, it is not a larger thing to God. It’s not different to God than anything else we’ve faced. It’s only different to us.
We’re Surrounded, Outmatched, and Outnumbered.
After Soloman dies, things go downhill fast. Jeroboam starts to rise up and war against the tribes of Benjamin and Judah and a battle ensues between him and Rehoboam.
Stay with us as we pick it up in 2 Chronicles 13.
“. . . the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the Lord our God; but ye have forsaken him. And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper. But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment was behind them. And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind: and they cried unto the Lord, and the priests sounded with the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.” -2Chronicles 13:10-15
While Abijah is talking, Jeroboam sends some guys to ambush him. The people of Judah see they are surrounded.
No matter what is happening, aren’t you glad the shewbread is still being prepared fresh every day to feed the people?
Speaking of Being Ambushed.
You know how you’re expecting one thing (like us now), and all of a sudden, here comes something else? Just . . . great.
It’s okay though because like 2 Chronicles 13, we don’t have a shout of fear, but of victory! We are not losing hope. We do not fear coming out of this condition having nothing left. In 2 Chronicles 13, their condition did not change them or where they were in the Lord. We are still on the same foundation, same love, same order, and same place we were.
In Case You Find Yourself In the Middle of a Bible Trivia Game.
God eventually kills Jeroboam, and in the meantime, Abijah waxes mighty. He gets stronger and stronger (which is a good thing because he has 14 wives and 38 children).
Strength to Strength
“They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.” -Psalm 84:7
We can’t allow this (or any) condition to make us feel like we are in constant need of encouragement, or we risk falling into the “woe is me” attitude. When we hear something encouraging, it adds to us. What if our condition lasts a long time? Are we going to get discouraged then? God will keep those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him. We have to encourage ourselves and establish ourselves in Him and any encouragement that comes along, look at it as adding strength to strength.
Our family prepares during the harvest for times of drought. We’ve been doing this for a lot of years, so we’re not empty. We already have the spirit, teachings, and an arsenal of scriptures in our hearts to reach for when we need to encourage ourselves.
Hammer (and Nail) Time
We have to still be building through this condition. No matter what it looks like, we cannot lose our mindset that we are coming out of this condition and others, with victory. Be able to encourage yourself when you need it. Let all the other encouragement add strength to your strength.
The mindset we need to have: if we need to encourage ourselves, do that, and get back to what God is doing and build the kingdom of God, even through this adversarial condition, as these four men do in four different, interesting, and suspenseful situations. You’ve met the first one, King Asa.
Now, the Next One.
After a showdown with a giant, this shepherd becomes insanely popular throughout Israel evoking one of the great leadership qualities of all time, mercy. Through every action he takes as a young man, he is trying to become like God in the embodiment of mercy and a pure heart. Even though Saul is eaten up with jealousy and should never be trusted, this shepherd’s kindness spares the sorrowful king his life—twice. The stage is being set for this shepherd to take the throne and unite the twelve tribes of Israel once and for all.
But first . . . we find him in dire straits.
See you in Part 2.