Testing of Abraham
Lesson 2 in the series
Miscellaneous Lessons
Tim Temple

Introduction

This morning we are going to depart from our study of the book of Ephesians because I have decided that, because of the world situation which we are facing right now, it would be a good idea for us to think about some things having to do with the day of battle, the day of war. For the sake of someone who may listen to this tape at some point in the future, this is the time in our history when war has been declared in the Middle East between the United States and its allies and Iraq, so the things that I have to say will have some bearing on that situation and it may help you to realize that that is the historical setting of this particular message.

We are living in what must be one of the most fascinating times in the history of the world. There are many ways in which this might be demonstrated: clocks that speak to you with the time, computers that check your spelling, microwave ovens which cook in a fraction of the time that it used to take, which is of great interest to all hungry husbands and children, and wonder of wonders, diets that you drink like a milk shake. What an amazing time to be alive! There are many other things, too, but these are some that strike my mind; but nowhere is the wonder of this age more amazingly demonstrated than in the fact that war has become a spectator sport. During the past three or four days the average American citizen has seen and heard more of the details of war than many of the military personnel of previous wars. During World War II and the Korean conflict the news came days and sometimes even weeks after the fact in newspapers and newsreels and letters from the front. During the Vietnam “conflict” it was on the nightly television news, but in this particular war for the past few days we have had the opportunity to watch literally moment by moment, nonstop coverage of the unfolding details of the war. We have day and night radio and television coverage.

The first night of that television coverage it was amusing to me to hear it reported that even some of the officials in the Pentagon were hearing their reports from CNN just like the rest of us. They really weren't any farther ahead with their explanation than the man on the street. It was fascinating to me, and in a way horrifying, to sit in my den at home and hear the sound of antiaircraft guns and the whistle of missiles and see the sight of explosions lighting up the sky, all from the comfort of home. What an amazing thing! Because of all of that, there has probably never been a war in history in which there has been more widespread interest, in which there has been more involvement of the public living beyond the immediate boundaries of that particular war. Suddenly we find ourselves talking in terms that a few weeks ago were really unknown to most of us. Who ever talked about SCUD missiles before this past week? Who ever knew what they were except the military personnel among us? They have talked about sorties. I don't ever remember using that word in my life until this past week. Tomahawks, Thunderbolts, Tomcats and other names of aircraft were familiar only to the military among us. Our whole interest and our whole way of life has changed to some extent.

One of the questions that keeps going through our minds as we think about all this and as we see all of it and hear all of it is: How should I react? What should my attitude be? What can I do about all of this that I am seeing and hearing from thousands of miles away? So today I think it is appropriate that we spend some time thinking about what the Bible has to say about the day of battle. I am using that particular term as a title for this message because it is an interesting little term that is used three different places in the Scripture to speak of God's control of and even His use of war as a part of His overall plan and program for the human race. We are not going to take the time to turn to those references, but let me give them to you and you can look at them when you have the time. In Job, chapter 38, verse 23, the Scripture says that God has preserved the hail and the wind and the snow for the day of battle, speaking of that time when He will rain down judgment on the earth. In Psalm 140, verse 7, that term is used in the same way. In Proverbs, chapter 21, verse 31, it refers to the fact that we can put our trust in horses–by extension, other kinds of armament–but God is the One Who will preserve us in the day of battle, no matter how strong our reinforcements might be.

I want us to think about some things related to the day of battle that are brought out in the Word of God. I want us to think today about principles, not particularly the details of this particular war, but about some things related to war in general that perhaps would serve us in good stead no matter what particular war we might be thinking about. To do that, I want us to think about three things: the normalcy of war, what the Scriptures say about the need for war, and our nourishment in time of war.

The Normalcy of War

The first thing we want to think about is the normalcy of war. I ask you to turn to Matthew, chapter 24, verses 4-8. That passage speaks to us about the purpose of war. Jesus spoke of war in a very normal way. As you see and as you hear the term, “normalcy of war”, your first reaction might be, “What kind of weird talk is that? How can war be a normal thing?” Let me remind you that Jesus spoke of this age in which we live in just that way as He was teaching His disciples about the things that would happen between His two advents, His time on earth. Advent, of course, is a term that theologians use to describe His first appearance on earth as a baby and growing up to manhood and then His second appearance when He will come to sit on the throne of David and rule over all the earth. Before He left this earth, He outlined for His disciples what things would be like between those two advents. Notice Matthew, chapter 24, beginning with verse 4:

Matthew 24

4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8All these are the beginning of sorrows.

We will stop our reading there with verse 8. As I said, in this chapter Jesus is outlining for the disciples the things that will take place in history between His two advents. The first section of history that He outlines is in these verses, and it is the time in which we live. Notice in verse 6 that He uses the term, “wars and rumors of wars.” That verse surely describes the past two thousand years, doesn't it? There has been hardly a time in our lifetime, and really even since the day of Jesus, in which there hasn't been war somewhere in the world. During those few years when there hasn't been war going on somewhere in the world, there has always been the rumor of war. We have just gone through years of what was termed a “cold war”. As you well know, a great deal of our military preparedness that is useful in this particular war in which we are fighting now came because of the fear of war, the rumor of war. So Jesus spoke of war as a very normal part of the age in which we live. In the last part of verse 6, He says, “the end is not yet.” Then down in verse 8, He says, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Let me digress for just a minute and say that even though God speaks very clearly of wars and rumors of wars, and even though there will be a great deal of damage done and there has been a great deal of damage done in wars throughout the years, Jesus also clearly says in that passage that that is not the way the world will end. We have seen programs on television and read novels and heard stories about the nuclear winter and about what the world would be like after a nuclear strike. Certainly it is possible to have a nuclear strike, but we don't need to worry about one or the other of the megapowers of the earth blowing up the earth because wars and rumors of wars are not the end. God has outlined very clearly in His Word how He is going to bring this world to an end, and it is not in terms of nuclear conflict when one nation pushes the red button sooner than the other nation does. Wars and rumors of wars are a part of this age in which we live, and we shouldn't be surprised and shocked when it happens.

The fact that it is a normal thing shouldn't in any way minimize the sorrow and the suffering and the tragedy of war in our thinking. I am not in any way trying to minimize the loss of the men whom we have already lost in the last few days. We grieve with their families. Our hearts go out to them. We need to pray for the Streicher family and others whose names we do not know yet. I am not in any way minimizing all of this, but I am telling you that from God's viewpoint war, in this age in which we live, is a normal kind of thing.

The Need for War

Perhaps with all of that said, it will be comforting to you to realize that God has a purpose in allowing warfare. That is the second thing we want to think about today, the need for war. Why does God allow war to take place in the first place with all the suffering that it entails, with all the loss of innocent lives that it entails? Why would a loving God permit such suffering and loss? That is a question that has caused many people down through the years to turn away from the Word of God and to reject the ideas of the Bible and to not even accept Christ as Savior in some cases. But a careful look at the overall teaching of the Scripture will reveal that there are several reasons why God allows wars and the seemingly unjust suffering that accompanies warfare. The first and most general reason is what I am going to call “the purging of wickedness in the world”. God allows warfare as a means of keeping the world from coming under the hands of madmen and dictators and becoming even worse than it already is. As bad as it is, God, from time to time, brings judgment on the wicked in the form of warfare.

Some of the passages of Scripture which trouble people the most are those which speak of the Israelites going in in the Old Testament and slaughtering women and children in their conquest of the promised land. Those battles are recorded right here in the Scriptures. Sometimes people use that as a reason for not accepting the truth of God's Word, as I said a few moments ago. But what we often overlook in that kind of slaughter is the fact that that kind of slaughter and warfare described in the Old Testament was only a last resort on God's part. Turn with me to Genesis, chapter 15, verses 13-17, where God spoke to Abraham about the future of the nation of which God was going to make him the father:

Genesis 15

13And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not their's, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
14And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
15And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
16But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

You see, this passage is telling us that God told Abraham four hundred years in advance that that piece of land that he was standing on that day would someday belong to his descendants. One of the factors in the timing, one of the reasons that it was going to be four hundred years later, was what is described in the last line of verse 16, where he says, “…the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Do you see that? The Amorites were the people who were living in that area which would someday be the promised land. Basically today it is Israel and Jordan and part of Egypt–the Holy Land. The Amorites were living there then and God said to the Amorites, “Four hundred years from now I am going to give that to your descendants, Abram. You are going to die before it all comes true, but I will give it to your descendants.” Why four hundred years? Because, among other things, the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet complete. See, God gave the inhabitants of that land four hundred years to repent before He brought down that judgment in terms of warfare on the part of the invading Israelites four hundred years later.

War as Judgment

Now, we don't have a record of what went on during that four hundred years in terms of witness, but the Scripture tells us that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, and we can assume from the principles of God's Word that those people were warned. If God was going to wait four hundred years, why would He not warn them of the coming judgment?

I say we have to assume about those four hundred years, but we have clear evidence in the Word of God of at least the generation before the invasion. Turn with me to Joshua, chapter 2. In Joshua, we have described for us the invasion of that land four hundred years later. It is beside the point of our study today, but that four hundred years worked out exactly to the year, and within four hundred years the Israelites were ready to go in and take that land that God has promised Abraham all those years ago. That is when all the seemingly unfair and unjust slaughter that bothers some so much began to take place. In Joshua, chapter 2, Joshua sent some spies in. Joshua was the leader of the armies of Israel. He was the one who led in those battles. He sent spies in to look at that land, and in verse 9 we read about Rahab who had hidden the spies when they came in. You are probably familiar with that story. Notice in verse 9 of chapter 2:

Joshua 2

9And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
10For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

Incidentally, that was forty plus years earlier that the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea. It doesn't say how they heard it, but God saw to it that they got the information. The destruction of Sihon and Og had been some twenty-five years earlier.

Joshua 2

11And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Do you see what I am saying? God did bring terrible slaughter and carnage upon the Amorites and the descendants of the Amorites living in that area, but He did it not only to give His people a homeland, but to judge wickedness about which He had been warning them for four hundred years. We have the specific record of the warning of that immediate generation that died in the slaughter. There was no reason for anyone who was killed in the slaughters of the conquest of the promised land to have died needlessly. They had been told; we don't know how; but this woman who was a prostitute, probably not your normal churchgoer, had heard it. So we can't say that only the churchgoing people had heard it; even the prostitutes had heard what God had done for His people. She said, “Our hearts melted within us, and we know that your God is God.” So God brings warfare as a means of judgment of the wicked, but never without warning.

There are other illustrations of this in the Scriptures. We don't have time to look at them today, but when you have the time, you might look at I Peter, which tells us that in the days of the judgment of the world by means of the Flood, Noah was a preacher of righteousness, during the two hundred years that it took to build the Ark. Another thing to think about in this matter of warfare as judgment on wickedness is that sometimes that judgment comes upon the attacking nation. This does not mean that any nation that is attacked in a war is a wicked nation that God is going to judge. You look at the later history of Israel, and you will see that several times God judged Israel as they attacked another nation. So the wickedness involved may be on the part of the attacker or on the part of either nation. But God uses warfare as a means of keeping nations under control.

The Cup of Iniquity

There is an interesting term that God used as He spoke to Abraham. “The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Listen: With any nation, and I believe there is Biblical evidence to support the fact that with any individual, God allows wickedness to go on, but the day comes when the iniquity becomes complete. The prophets in the Old Testament speak of the cup of iniquity being full. Maybe I should just pause right now and ask you today individually, what about your cup of iniquity? You may be toying with some sin; you may be living in some sin and not willing to come to grips with it or maybe coming to grips with it but flaunting it in the face of God, and you are thinking, “I'm getting by with it; surely God is not going to do anything about it; He hasn't done anything about it so far.” For one thing, that is like driving down the highway sixty miles an hour and saying, “I'm not going to run out of gas; I haven't so far.” But for another thing, God operates on the principle of the cup of iniquity. You can rest assured that when your cup of iniquity comes to the full, God will deal with it. That, again, is beyond the scope of this particular discussion, but I just wanted to insert it to sober you up a little bit. We are talking about nations, and when the cup of iniquity of a nation becomes full, God deals in judgment with that nation.

It would appear, in the early days of this war, that it is not the United States that God is going to bring into judgment with this particular war; but as the military advisers on television keep telling us, this war is not over yet, and I think we need to pray carefully that God is not going to use this war as a means of judgment upon us. I will have more to say about that later. What I am talking about is that God uses war as a means of judgment upon the wicked. That is the first reason that God allows warfare.

Justice for God's People

There is another reason, a second reason. That is for the provision of justice for God's people. Turn with me to Romans, chapter 13, which talks about the institution of human government. It speaks of every area of government–local, state, national, the concept of human government in general. The first five verses of Romans, chapter 13, clearly establish the sovereignty of the government over the lives of its citizens. That is the means by which God keeps peace in our world and keeps wickedness from getting out of hand. Verse 4 of Romans, chapter 13, brings out a unique aspect of the government, which is the protection of innocent citizens–not only the punishment of wicked citizens, but the protection of innocent citizens.

Romans 13

4For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

You see, the purpose of the government is, among other things, to protect its citizens. So even though this verse doesn't specifically spell it out, by extension, it applies to any measure necessary for the protection of the citizens of the government, even to the extent of going to war. Carried to its logical conclusion, that protection of the citizens could include warfare. So another purpose for war, another need for war, is to provide justice for the citizens of any particular country, if they are attacked by another nation. Along with the law enforcement within the nation, the purpose of the government and the right of the government is to go to war to protect its citizens. That is the second reason for war.

Purification of God's People

There is a third reason for war. I think this one is in a sense the most important reason, more to the point in our situation. That is that I believe God allows war to come for the purification of His people. You know, it has been interesting to me in the past week or so particularly to see how often people have spoken out publicly about asking God's blessings. President Bush from the White House in nationally televised statements on several occasions lately and in news conferences has been very faithful to say, “Let us look to God for His provision.” I am thankful for a president who is willing to speak that way in public and deliberately speak that way. It is interesting to see how often others have spoken that way in the days leading up to this particular war. I even saw one news clip of what had to have been an illegal pause for a moment of prayer in a classroom in a public school.

You see, when the chips are down, when God allows the pressure of something like warfare to come, then all of that silliness about the separation of church and state falls by the wayside. I believe that God allows this kind of thing for exactly that purpose. Though it is a horrible thing, and though we grieve for the lives that have been lost and those that will be lost, there is a sense in which we can be thankful that God has brought us to this point in history because it has focused the attention of our nation upon God in a way that probably at this point in our decline, nothing else would have. God allows it for that purpose.

I believe that is exactly one of the purposes that God had in mind when He allowed things to deteriorate to the point of warfare; and the passage that states that most succinctly is II Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14. You probably know it already:

II Chronicles 7

14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

That is a verse that you ought to know from memory or, at the very least, have marked in your Bibles. As I said a few moments ago, it is entirely conceivable that God could use this war as judgment on our nation. It doesn't look that way at this point. Perhaps that is not what He is going to use this particular war for. But if there was ever a nation that deserves God's judgment, it is our nation in this day, a nation that will print the words “In God We Trust” on its coins and carve into the public buildings in its capital city words that will later be illegal to say in public. A nation that was built as a testimony to God's blessing and that later denies the very right to speak of God is a nation that deserves God's judgment. A nation that will allow the killing of unborn babies by the millions is a nation that deserves God's judgment and a nation that would follow in the steps of many other nations that God has judged for things of just that nature in the past.

This is certainly a time for us to seek God's face and to plead with God that He not bring judgment upon us. God's promise is to His people if they will turn to Him. He doesn't say in this verse, “If the nation will turn to me,” He says, “If my people within the nation will turn to me, I will heal their land.” That is why I have referred to this as the purification of God's people. If God's people will turn to Him, if we will walk with the Lord as He would have us walk with Him, He can use us to take care of the rest of the nations spiritually. He can use us to reach the rest of the nations spiritually. So the purpose of war is the purification of God's people.

Spiritual Nourishment In Time of War

Now, we have talked about the normalcy of war and the need for war, but there is a third thing that I want us to think about. It is our nourishment for war. For veterans among us, that may bring back unpleasant thoughts of C-rations and army cooks and mess halls and that kind of thing. I am not talking about that kind of nourishment; I am talking about spiritual nourishment. Where do we look at a time like this? How can we keep our heads about us in a time of war? Where do we turn? The military experts tell us that this may take a long time. In the immediate, quick flush of success of the last few days, it is hard for us to realize that. But what if this war does go on, as some say it could, for months? Interestingly enough, the Bible has a lot to say about that. I think the most obvious and basic statement of what God says about our nourishment in times of war is in Proverbs, chapter 21, verse 31. It is just one verse, and it says:

Proverbs 21

31The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

We have, by God's grace, in the United States, probably the most thorough and the most complex and the most well-prepared war machine in the history of the world. That is just by God's grace. But listen: We must not depend on that war machine. We are thankful for it, yes; we are praying for those who operate it, yes; but our dependence must be upon the Lord. History is full of illustrations of well-equipped nations who have been conquered by smaller, less-equipped nations. The horse [the war machine] is prepared for the day of battle, but safety comes from the Lord. It doesn't matter how elaborate our defense systems may be. Our only real hope is in God's blessings of those efforts and those preparations that have been made. Any experienced military man will tell you that. They have learned that in the foxholes and on the battlefields.

Incidentally, that is also going to be important if this particular war is victorious. You know, it is very easy to ask for God's blessing as we were talking about a few moments ago, and we should do that. We should be thankful when it is done publicly. It is easy to do that, but it is easy to forget to give Him the credit in the flush and the exhilaration of victory. If we are going to depend upon Him for the victory, let's also be sure that we give Him the honor and glory for the victory when and if it comes.

The Battle is the Lord's

Another statement of this same principle is over in I Samuel, chapter 17. You may remember that that is the story of David going against Goliath. It was an impossible situation, but one of those examples that I was just mentioning a moment ago of a well-equipped nation falling to one that was unbelievably underequipped. Do you remember what David said to Goliath as he got out there in front of him? He got his little sling and five smooth stones and he got out there and said to Goliath:

I Samuel 17

45…Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts…

In verse 47 he says:

I Samuel 17

47And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands.

With that he put a stone into his sling, and he slung it around his head and he let it fly. David had said, “The battle is the Lord's.”

There is one other passage that I want us to look at in that regard, though there are many others. In Joshua, chapter 5, verse 13, written on the night before the battle of Jericho, the Israelites were getting ready to go out and conquer the city of Jericho by just marching around it with no weapons of any kind. Joshua was an experienced military man. Can't you just imagine how he must have felt as he reviewed God's orders to go out there without weapons and march around the city and do that once a day for seven days, and then on the seventh day, do it seven times. I'm sure the military men here today can imagine the frustration that Joshua must have felt. On the night before the battle:

Joshua 5

13And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?
15And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

As I say, this took place on the night before the battle. Joshua was by Jericho on the night before the battle, worried sick no doubt, wondering what the outcome would be. Notice what he did there in verse 13. He lifted up his eyes and looked. Now, if we could read this in the Hebrew, we would see that this was not just a casual glance. That whole phrase, “lifted up his eyes and looked,” is a translation of one Hebrew word, the word raw-aw , which means “to look intently”, “to study”. That is why it says he lifted up his eyes and looked. He paid special attention to something, and we aren't told what it was that caught his attention; but the important point brought out by this particular Hebrew word is that fact that when he saw whatever it was, he stopped and paid attention. He looked more carefully.

Turn Attention to God

Moses had this same kind of experience back in Exodus, chapter 3, the story of the burning bush. It says that he saw that bush burning and he turned himself aside and he said, “I will now turn myself aside and see this great sight why the bush is not burned.” Verse 4 says that when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God spoke to him out of the burning bush. It is that same Hebrew word. When God saw that he looked, God spoke to him out of the bush. The lesson to be learned from that is that sometimes God waits until He knows that He has our attention before He speaks to us. What better way to get our attention than to plunge our nation into war?

Let me ask you a question. Have you turned aside to see? Have you lifted up your eyes and looked to see what God might have to show you in this time of war? Never mind the nation. “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray,” God says. What about you? Don't even worry about me. Have you stopped to think what God might have for you in having let your nation come to this point in history? Because whatever else His purposes may be, one of the reasons for this war is to get our attention. There are other reasons, too. We have talked about those, but one of His reasons is to get your attention and to get my attention.

There is a beautiful little verse hidden away in the last part of the Old Testament that very well sums up a situation like ours. Someone wrote it to me under their signature on a sympathy card when my dad died, and I have to admit that I had to turn and look it up. Isn't it something how people do that? They will sign their name and put a verse reference under it. It was Nahum, chapter 1, verse 7. It really spoke to my heart at that time, the loss of my dad, but the Lord brought it back to my attention as I was thinking about this situation. It says:

Nahum 1

7The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

Did you know that God keeps track of how closely we are talking with Him? Did you know that God cares enough that He makes note of it when you trust in Him not only for salvation, but in the various days of trouble that come into our lives? Our nourishment in this time of war is to let God convict our hearts and turn to Him for whatever our individual needs may be. The Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble. He knoweth them that trust in Him.

Hope In Time of Trial

It may be incidentally that I am speaking to someone today whose trouble is perhaps more immediate than this war. There are, no doubt, those within the sound of my voice today who are facing some trauma that really outshines and obliterates the war from their attention. Let me say that these same principles apply to those traumas. God has allowed that thing to come into your life to get your attention. He is a stronghold in the day of trouble. He knows those who trust in Him. Whatever need you see in your life in this day of trouble, God is willing to meet it. Maybe you need to realize in this day of trouble that you need to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Maybe there is someone here who has never put his trust and personal faith in Him. What other hope do you have in this time of calamity? Maybe you need to learn that your peace and safety do not come from the horse prepared for battle, but from the Lord.

Let me conclude by sharing a couple of wonderful promises in the Scriptures along that line. Whatever your need may be, if you will search your heart while God has your attention, I Peter, chapter 5, verse 7, then says:

I Peter 5

7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

I would think that that would be a wonderful promise for these parents who have sons and grandsons and nephews and other loved ones in this conflict. Some of you have close friends who are as close to you as your own family. God wants you to keep coming to Him with your cares and your concerns. There are some who are concerned about various aspects of this war. God says, “Casting all your cares upon him; for he careth for you.”

A standby in my life is Philippians, chapter 4, verses 6 and 7:

Philippians 4

6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

These are wonderful promises, nourishment for the day of battle; but whatever your need is can be summed up in Isaiah, chapter 55, verse 7:

Isaiah 55

7…and let [us] return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

If you have never trusted Christ as your Savior, He is waiting today to pardon you, to abundantly pardon you, to remove your sins from you as far as the east is from the west, make you His child. This is the day to trust Him as your Savior. As was mentioned at the Lord's table a while ago, it is as simple as putting your personal trust in Him right where you sit, right now. You can say, “Yes, I do believe that Jesus Christ paid for my sins with His death on the Cross; and I do believe, God, that You will accept Christ's payment for my sins and save me because of what Christ did.” It may be that there is some other sin that needs to be dealt with in your life, something that is keeping you from being able to have the fellowship with the Lord that produces that peace and security. God is perfectly willing to forgive that sin and forget about it, too, if you will confess it to Him, if you will agree with Him that that thing is sin.

Prayer

Father, our needs are many and varied, but we live in a time of national need. We pray, Father, that you would use this time of emergency, this time of tragedy, of suffering, of sorrow, of threat to fix our eyes upon Jesus Christ. We pray, our Father, that we who are Your people will humble ourselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from our sin so that You may bless our nation. We pray that if there is someone within the sound of my voice today who has not trusted Christ as Savior that this would be the day of salvation and that he would know the peace and security of the only One Who can protect us in a time of war. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.


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