Dear Rehoboth Church Family and Friends,
At a time when we need more prayer than usual, our churches are prohibited from meeting together due to the contagious nature of the Coronavirus. Without a definite end in sight, it is tempting to become fearful and think the worst. I have heard this comment over and over again since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, “I just don’t know what we’re gonna do if this thing keeps spreading.” I’ve wondered about it too and thought of a couple of things all of us can do.
1. We can be Positive. We can turn off the non-stop negative news and social media and follow the apostle Paul’s advice to the struggling Philippian church in Philippians 4:6-9 (NKJV):
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Somebody has said, “worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, it’s something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere”. Filling our minds with negative fearful information does nothing to help during any crisis; it only makes it worse. We can be positive in our remarks especially around our children, who understand more than we might think they do, and are watching us to know how to react.
2. We can Pray and Praise God. God promised King Solomon that He would hear the prayers of His people especially in the Temple dedicated to His worship, 2 Chronicles 7:12-16 (NKJV):
12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
The Church holds a special place in God’s eyes and heart.
Just a few chapters later we see that God honored His promise, 2 Chronicles 20:5-9 (NLT2):
5 Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the LORD. 6 He prayed, “O LORD, God of our ancestors, You alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against You! 7 O our God, did You not drive out those who lived in this land when Your people Israel arrived? And did You not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? 8 Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor Your name. 9 They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in Your presence before this Temple where Your name is honored. We can cry out to You to save us, and You will hear us and rescue us.’
They did cry out to God, they prayed, and they praised God and look how He responded in 2 Chronicles 20:15-30 (NLT2):
15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!” 18 Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the LORD. 19 Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout. 20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the LORD and praising Him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the LORD; His faithful love endures forever!” 22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped. 25 King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! 26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the LORD there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today. 27 Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, overjoyed that the LORD had given them victory over their enemies. 28 They marched into Jerusalem to the music of harps, lyres, and trumpets, and they proceeded to the Temple of the LORD. 29 When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the LORD Himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. 30 So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
Perhaps the Lord would hear and answer our prayers regarding this Coronavirus. Perhaps there is a Valley of Blessing awaiting God’s people who trust Him with thankful hearts. Let us not be remiss in asking, seeking, and knocking upon the doors of heaven to remove this pandemic from us, and be equally fervent in thanksgiving and praise when our prayers are answered.
3. We can be Productive. Even though right now we can’t come into our sanctuary and worship together personally, we can do so prayerfully. We can remember one another, our nation, and others in prayer faithfully.
We can communicate through the use of the internet in various ways, and call/text each other as needed. In other words, we are not isolated from one another, though we can’t physically be together in worship at church.
However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t stop by the church in our travels and sit in our cars and raise our hands and voices to the Lord in Praise and Prayer. We should praise God that we can still be made aware of specific needs and encourage one another. Perhaps this social distancing would give us more time to write that letter, send that card, make that phone call or reach out in other ways to that person we have intended to contact but just haven’t taken the time to do so. It wouldn’t hurt us to read our Bibles, meditate on specific Scriptures, and spend more time with our children and grandchildren playing games or working on projects around the house.
Let me close with a reminder that we have much to be thankful for and to look forward to. Regardless of what happens concerning this pandemic, as believers in Jesus Christ we have a future that is truly “out of this world”. May that simple truth help put our ultimate concerns in perspective. And whatever we do during these uncertain times, let’s emphasize our praise and thanksgiving rather than our problems.
God Bless You,
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we face the uncertainty that lies before us, help us to honor You before a watching world… and may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, Amen.
Suggested Scripture for personal meditation: Ephesians 4:29-32; Habakkuk 3:17-18; Psalms 145:1-21; (Psalms 27:14; Isaiah 26:3 are great verses to memorize.)