Summary: If you want to grow in difficult times, get to know God, obey God, and cry out to God if you must; but no matter what, learn and grow from God’s discipline.
Richard Lee had been the lone police officer in the small town of Croydon, New Hampshire for 20 years. So, two months ago (February 2020), when the local board decided to outsource their law enforcement needs to the state police, Lee walked out, disgusted.
He also walked out in his underwear. The board had told him to turn in the key to his cruiser, his guns and his uniform — immediately. So Lee went into an office he shared with town officials and took off his clothes before the board chairman, who told him he didn’t have to do that.
Lee said, “I gave them my uniform shirt. I gave them my ballistic vest... I sat down in the chair, took off my boots, took off my pants, put those in the chair, and put my boots back on, and walked out the door.”
He walked for almost a mile in a snowstorm before his wife came with the car to pick him up. (Associated Press, “Police chief stripped of duties disrobes, walks into storm in underwear,” KomoNews.com, 2-19-20; www.PreachingToday.com)
People do stupid stuff when adversity strikes, and they really don’t help themselves. Instead, they make a bad situation worse. Please, in our current crisis, don’t do something dumb, which will only make thigs worse. Instead, do something wise, which can make things better.
The question is “what?” What can you do to make things better? What can you do to improve your situation? What can you do to grow in difficult times? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Judges 2, Judges 2, where the nation of Israel shows us what NOT to do.
Judges 2:6-10 When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. (ESV)
In the 1st chapter, the book of Judges describes Israel’s initial failure to depend on the Lord and their subsequent defeat. Here, in the 2nd chapter, the book of Judges describes the reason why Israel lived in defeat and where it all led in their downward spiral towards ultimate chaos and ruin.
And it all begins with a generation, “who did not know the Lord or the work He had done for Israel.” Unlike their parents, they did not experience the miracle of manna in the wilderness. They did not experience the miracle of crossing the Jordon River on dry ground, and they did not experience the miracle of Jericho’s wall falling flat. They had no personal experience of God at work in their own lives. They only had the stories of what God did for their parents, and that was not enough to sustain their faith. This new generation of Israelites did not know the Lord personally, and it led to disbelief, disobedience, and their ultimate defeat.
My dear friends, don’t want the same thing to happen to you. Develop a personal relationship with the Lord. Don’t depend on your parents’ relationship with God. Instead, get to...
KNOW GOD FOR YOURSELF.
Experience His presence and His power in your own life. Encounter the Living God in your own time and place.
When Harry Truman became president, he worried about losing touch with common, everyday Americans, so he would often go out and be among them. Those were simpler days when the president could take a walk like everyone else.
One evening, Truman decided to take a walk down to the Memorial Bridge on the Potomac River. When he grew curious about the mechanism that raised and lowered the bridge, he made his way across the catwalks and came upon the bridge manager, who was eating his evening supper out of a tin bucket.
The man showed absolutely no surprise when he looked up and saw the best-known and most powerful man in the world. He just swallowed his food, wiped his mouth, smiled, and said, “You know, Mr. President, I was just thinking of you.” According to Truman's biographer, David McCullough, Truman loved and never forgot that greeting. (Robert Morgan, Moments of Reflection: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation, Thomas Nelson, 2017, page 33; www.PreachingToday.com)