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“When King Hezekiah faced a national crisis he had nowhere to turn, but God.
We read about this in 2 Chronicles 20 where the eastern neighbours were at the borders of Judah ready to invade. Hezekiah knew that they were outmanned and out “weaponed”.
It was then that he recalled the words of his predecessors King Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
2 Chr 7:14 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
And that is exactly what he did. He assembled the representatives of the nation together and encouraged them in the spirit of 2 Chr 7:14 to humbly call on the name of our God.
I find it interesting that God’s first direction in a time of national crisis was a prescription for humility. Not to pray, not to worship, not to strategize but simply to humble themselves. See, humility was the single most important prerequisite that God was looking for in addressing the national calamity in their day. And so what did they do? We find out in verse 3 of 2 Chronicles 20:
3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.
The people fasted in humility. See, they exhibited their deference to God, not only by prayer, but also with fasting. As their fasting represented their heartfelt desire to debase themselves, while elevating God who was the sole answer to their crisis.
In our day, as the Covid-19 virus attacks our communities with a war-like rampage, we too like the Israelites of old need to humble ourselves before God. I believe that humility is indeed the key to facing this crisis head on.
Church we need to humble ourselves, and I want to leave you with 3 directives
- We must humble ourselves as a church for taking our eye off prayer
There is not much else we are called to do as a church except pray. Simply put, when God’s people pray things happen. We all have testimonies about how God moved, and what God did during those seasons of prayer. I love to share about the miracles God does on our missions trips. And when back home I wonder why I don’t see as much. I believe it’s because, those times away, we are vulnerable and dependent on him. And thus we pray. And when we pray, God moves. Church, we need to go back to prayer.
2. We must humble ourselves as a church for dealing with our affairs in human pride
Think about how much of our lives can be run on autopilot, without God. For many of us, we work, we bills our paid, we have the best healthcare system and so forth. Indeed sometimes I wonder what differentiates us from non-believers, for we both seem capable of living without God’s help. However, during this crisis, we are being reminded that our hope and trust must be in God alone. When the health system is feared to shut down, and companies are sending us home, we realize that our efforts can only get us so far. Even the worldly are being shaken to the core in many facets of their lives. No wonder Hezekiah said, “Power and might are in your hand o God”. Friend, can you pause and reflect on that with me? God owns all the power. He has it. Power to defeat plagues, pestilence and pandemics are in God’s hand. Surely he can destroy this virus, but he needs his people to depend on him.
3. We must humble ourselves on behalf of the world for their rejection of him
When you and I pray, we cannot forget to ask for forgiveness for a fallen and lost world. God has called us to be intercessors, standing in the gap for those who are far from him. I am reminded of prophet Jonah in Nineveh, how he preached destruction to them and many came to the Lord. But Jonah almost didn’t make it to Nineveh. Not until he had humbled himself did God use him to reach a lost generation. Friends, our intercessory role is very powerful, let’s take it seriously. My prayer is that God will indeed put a spirit of prayer on us and that it would be so burdensome, that we would feel the pain and weight of the lost, and cry out to God for people to come to know him.
Let’s continue to fight against Covid 19, but let it begin with humility in our hearts.
Please join us daily as we meet 12 noon and 6pm this week to pray as a church for one hour each time. Can I also challenge you to fast daily as you pray, and see what God will do?
Your pastor and friend
– Pastor Olu Jegede