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Let’s pray one more time. Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which You have given us in our saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
I wonder when is the last time that you cried. And I don’t necessarily mean a tearful, bawling cry, though it may have been accompanied with tears. Several years ago when I was leading our staff retreat, my icebreaker question, such that it was, was “tell me the last time when and why you cried,” and yeah, so that’s kind of the response that I got from people. [laughter] Real sensitive souls. So I had, you know, people’s different upbringings, different personalities, it’s not always the case but sometimes different genders, play out, so we had some people on staff that were “the last time I cried, um, this morning” and other people were “I guess technically I must have cried when I was a child and I cannot remember since then.” So, yeah, that, that may be you, so it may or may not have come with tears.
I mean, when is the last time you cried to the Lord out of a sense of utter desperation? We were praying as the elders and pastors do before the service, and Nathan prayed and he said if one of the psalm writers cried out to the Lord in our midst, we might feel a little uncomfortable with it. It might have been loud, it might have been dramatic, it might have been emotional, and yet the language of the psalms all over the place is cries lifting to the Lord, whether they’re with tears or not. When is the last time you said O Lord, I’m at the end of my rope. I’m at the end of my self. I am cast down. I am surrounded by trial, surrounded by enemies, and I need your help and if you don’t show up, no one will. I need, oh I need thee, every hour I need thee. O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee. When was the last time you cried out to the Lord? ‘
I invite you to turn in your Bibles to 2 Chronicles chapter 13, 2 Chronicles chapter 13 as we continues this series we began last week in 2 Chronicles, looking at the kings of Judah. As the united monarchy split into two with Israel in the north and Judah in the south, Rehoboam leading the people and Jeroboam splitting away to Israel, we have now the descendant, the second of the kings of Judah, after Rehoboam comes this next king, Abijah. Follow along as I read the whole chapter, 2 Chronicles chapter 13:
“In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam [that’s the king of Israel in the north], Abijah began to reign over Judah. 2He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.”
“Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah went out to battle, having an army of valiant men of war, 400,000 chosen men. And Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with 800,000 chosen mighty warriors. Then Abijah stood up on Mount Zemaraim that is in the hill country of Ephraim and said, ‘Hear me, O Jeroboam and all Israel! Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord, and certain worthless scoundrels gathered about him and defied Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them.”
“And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made you for gods. Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes for ordination with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are not gods. But as for us, the Lord, Yahweh, is our God, and we have not forsaken him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are sons of Aaron, and Levites for their service. They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices, set out the showbread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand that its lamps may burn every evening. For we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken him. Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed.”
“Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to come upon them from behind. Thus his troops were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them. And they cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets. Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. The men of Israel fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hand. Abijah and his people struck them with great force, so there fell slain of Israel 500,000 chosen men. Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers. And Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took cities from him, Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and Ephron with its villages. Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down, and he died. 21 But Abijah grew mighty. And he took fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. The rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo. Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place.”
We see here in the life of Abijah that even bad people can manage to do a few good things once in a while. Even a wicked leader can manage to stumble upon the truth and have something shining to show for himself. I remember hearing one of Trisha’s uncles say one time, who has a nice sort of Oklahoma drawl and he was talking about how he met his wife of now many, many decades, and he said “even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while.” So try that out, men.
Even a blind king finds his way to righteousness. If you read of King Abijah in the parallel account in 1 Kings chapter 15, you get a much different picture of this king. We read in 1 Kings 15 that he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not do what was right from his father David, did not turn aside from anything that he commanded them all his days. He says, rather, that this king was wicked. And in fact we can see part of that. If you look at chapter 14 here in 2 Chronicles, which Lord willing we’ll get to next week with King Asa, look at verse 3. Asa, who was mostly a good king except he didn’t finish well, says in verse 3 “he took away the foreign altars, the high places, broke down the pillars, cut down the Asherim, commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, to keep the law and the commandments. He took out of the cities, the high places, the incense altars.”
Okay, so if that’s all that Asa has to do following Abijah, then Abijah was not in the whole a very good king. He left all the incense altars; they were worshiping false gods. But what the chronicler wants to do, remember, is to help the returning exiles understand how do we come back now, has God forgotten us, and how do we return to a place where we enjoy the Lord’s favor and blessing? And the answer he wants to remind them, and us, again and again, is very simple: Humble yourself, humble yourself. Cry out to the Lord. Repent. Seek His face.
And so out of all of the nastiness from Abijah in these three years, the chronicler wants to give us one shining moment. So he begins by telling the story in the 18th year Abijah began to reign. As is often the case, we have mention here in Chronicles of the mother. Sometimes we’ll see that we have a mother who is a very good influence, sometimes one who is not a very good influence, here we just have the mother’s name, Micaiah, the daughter of Uriel. Uriel was probably the son of Absalom, David’s son, as it’s mentioned in 1 Kings 15.
The action moves quickly to this dramatic battle scene. We have massive armies, 400,000 chosen men of Judah and Jeroboam and Israel lining up with 800,000 chosen mighty men. Now just pause here for a moment. We all know that the Bible is inspired, is inerrant, is without any error in it, and yet if we’re honest, there are different parts in the Bible that sometimes we scratch our heads and we do ask honest questions and say “Huh. How does this quite work?” And I’ll be honest that some of these big numbers have often been one of those head-scratching moments for me when I read the Bible. It’s okay to be honest with them and seek answers for them, so I come to this and I think “really, 800,000 thousand men.” In all of World War II the US casualties were 400,000 dead, 600,000 wounded, but 400,000 dead and here we have by the end, 500,000 of Israel are slain.
We just remembered D-Day. There were 156,000 Allied soldiers and paratroopers engaged in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Massive operation, 150,000. Now here we have a battle of 400,000 versus 800,000, is absolutely massive. So how can this be? Well, one simple answer might be well, it just was, and they gathered for miles and miles and miles. The whole city of Charlotte gathered and stretching for supply lines upon supply lines, so that’s quite possible.
There are other explanations some have given. Some have pointed out that the word in Hebrew “thousand’ could be a military unit, one that would often have much less than a thousand soldiers, that was common in the ancient world. And we see similar terms even in the New Testament, that you might call this particular regiment by a numerical name whether or not they had their name, so the numbers come down to us.
Or I tend to think that they included all adult males in the size of their armies and so then when they calculated casualty numbers, it may perhaps not be a way of saying exactly 500,000, but this percentage of our entire serviceable army were killed. If you remember in Numbers chapter 2 they count the men able to wield the sword. Or if you look back just a moment to 1 Chronicles chapter 21,1 Chronicles 21 verse 5: “And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the word, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword.” That was the number of your males 20 years old and over, that’s how they calculated the numbers who could draw the sword, 470,000. Well, that makes sense.
By the time we get to 2 Chronicles, the number of chosen men in Judah is 400,000 in keeping with this number in 1 Chronicles of 470,000. In other words, when they are counting their armies, they’re counting all of the men 20 years and over, everyone who could have wielded the sword.
So when it says there was an army of 400,000 arrayed against and army of 800,000, it could mean that there were that many people and that many people, or it could be a way of the chronicler telling us that their whole army and their whole army were engaged. Now whether every single last person 20 years old and over were present at this particular battle, but that was the size of their countable armies.
However we are to make sense of the numbers, the point is rather with the proportion, that Judah was outnumbered two to one, not good odds when you’re fighting a battle, two to one.
Look at verse 4: Abijah stands up on this Mount Zemaraim, in between Israel and Judah, and he gives a kind of sermon on the mount. And the gist of the message is this: It is futile to fight against God. You can only succeed with God, you cannot succeed against God. And then we see here that Abijah is basically giving the prescribed set of pre-war instructions that the priest was supposed to give.
So turn again, keep your finger there, and go back to Deuteronomy. You may not have seen this before, what Abijah is doing, go to Deuteronomy chapter 20, fifth book in the Bible, Deuteronomy, chapter 20. Look at verse 1. Deuteronomy 20 verse 1: “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own,” all right, that’s what Abijah sees, “you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: Let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.'”
That was prescribed. That’s what was supposed to happen, a dramatic scene here. William Wallace riding on the horse, back and forth, getting the troops ready to fight the English. Here it’s the men of Judah to fight Israel. And Abijah takes the part, and he gives this sermon on Mount Zemaraim, and it’s more than a sermon. Abijah is literally doing things by the book. You know when all else fails, try obedience. Actually, before all else fails, try obedience. God has an easy way and He has a hard way, and most of us try the hard way.
Abijah’s sermon, if we can call it that, in verses 4 through 12, highlights two main sins. Jeroboam in the north and the Israelites have rejected the Davidic kingship number one, and they’ve rejected the Aaronic priesthood. Not the ironic priesthood, it was not ironic, but Aaronic, as in Aaron. In other words, they are not following God’s appointed leader, the sons of David, and they are not worshiping in God’s appointed way. These are their two big sins.
So first he talks about the Davidic kingship. You remember 2 Samuel 7:16, “your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me, your throne will be established forever.” That was God’s promise to David, and they took it serously. Your throne is going to endure forever. It’s David, it’s David’s line, and here they are with Jeroboam. He’s not of the lineage of David.
See this reference in verse 5 at the end of the verse. “He gave kingship over Israel to David and his sons forever by a covenant of salt.” Strange phrase. Salt was an essential part of the sacrifices. It was seen as not only would it flavor your meat if you could eat the meat later, but it would make them efficacious. Over time the notion of a covenant of salt was seen as a sort of ratification, a kind of handshake that sealed the deal. Leviticus 2:13: Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings. Add salt to all of your offerings.
So men, if your wife says “hey, ease up on the salt,” just say “being biblical,” ’cause right here, okay?
Salt, the offerings. Numbers 18:19: “Whatever is set aside from the holy offering the Israelites present to the Lord, I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring.” Just another way of saying we shook hands on this, we signed an oath, we ratified it with a covenant of salt. David and his sons are to be king over you, and they’ve rejected David’s sons.
They’ve also rejected the priesthood that was to come from Aaron. You see that in verse 19: “Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord?” They rejected the Lord’s prescribed worship and they turned to idolatry.
Do you remember this in Israel’s history? They made two golden calves. You would have thought that the episode in Exodus with one golden calf would have reminded them for all time: Whatever we do, golden calves bad idea.
But it was very common. People would have these golden calves. The sins that seem so obvious to us, how could you possibly do that?, were not obvious to them because they were everywhere. Everyone had them. So they got two of them.
You can read about it in 1 Kings chapter 12, 25 through 33. I won’t take the time to read it, but basically they argue look, if, if people keep going to Jerusalem for the sacrifices and for the feasts and to the temple, we’re never going to be free from Judah, because remember Jerusalem is in Judah. Israel is in the north. And the people are never going to have their own independent existence if they have to go to Judah to do their worship, and so we want to build our own religious spaces and we want to have our own religiously sanctioned items.
But you see at the end of verse 9 that these so-called gods they their so-called priests were leading them in so-called worship were actually no gods at all. Not gods. Not, as some people might say, well, isn’t that interesting? That was just an expression of their own religious impulse. Or that was their own appropriately, culturally informed method of spirituality. Or wasn’t it interesting to see that everyone worships God in their own unique, diverse ways. That’s not how Yahweh understood what they were doing, some sort of cultural linguistic religious historical mode. He say no, they are worshiping no gods.
Hosea 8: Throw out your calf idol, O Samaria. My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of purity? They are from Israel; this calf, a craftsman has made it; it is not God. It will be broken in pieces, the calf of Samaria.
This is exactly the same logic that Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 8: So then about eating food sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and there is no God but one.
You’ve left your appointed king, you have pushed out your appointed priests, and Abijah says God is with us. He is our leader. Do not fight against the Lord; you will not succeed. Do you see that at the end of verse 12? Do not fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed. So simple, isn’t it? And yet every one of us in here forgets it. You cannot succeed against God. Whatsoever a man reaps, that will he also sow. You cannot succeed against God.
It is somewhat similar, remember, in Acts you have the respected rabbi Gamaliel and the people are rising up against the apostles and this new Christian church and his speech basically says look, if this thing is not from God, it’s just going to fall apart, and if it is from God, then you’re not going to be able to stand against it. You cannot succeed against God.
A few years ago, I don’t remember when, but in the course of reading through the Bible in a year, which is what many of us try to do, I was reading from Zechariah 1:5 and 6 and I made note of these verses. “Your fathers, where are they? They did not pay attention to My words, but My words have overtaken them.” You cannot outrun the Lord forever, would be my summary.
See what the prophet there is saying? He was speaking to a disobedient people, a rebellious people, a people who thought that they could go and go things their way, and he says let me ask you this, where are your fathers? You know, the ones who rebelled against me? The ones who did things my way, the ones who had the Frank Sinatra blaring, and that was their whole life, I did it my way? How’d that go for them? Where are they? Are they alive? No. Is my Word still here? Yeah. You cannot outrun the Word.
It’s such a striking picture to me, and it’s what happens a million times a day in our world. People thinking that they can run ahead of the Word of God, the Word telling them what to do, the Word telling them what will happen if they disobey God, and they think that they can run ahead, and for a time it looks like their winning that race against God’s Word, and they always, always are overtaken by the Word of God. You cannot succeed against God.
But it looks as if they will. That’s what we see in verse 13. Jeroboam, classic military move, he sends an ambush. So he says men in the front and they’re solidifying their forces for a frontal assault. Remember, there are two against one, they can’t afford to separate their forces, but they can so they’re prepared for the battle in front of them, meanwhile Jeroboam has sent an ambush behind them and then Judah and Abijah realize “we’re surrounded, we have a front here and in the back. What do we do? We are outnumbered, we are ambushed, we are attacked at both the front and the rear,” and look at what they do in verse 14: “And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them,” this, I think, is the key for the entire chapter in this episode in Abijah’s life, “and they cried to the Lord.”
Remember, this is a book for exiles. This is a book for people saying “how do I live in this world?” Unless you think “well, this isn’t really for me,” no, it’s more for you than you realize. We are, Peter tell us, in the New Testament, strangers and aliens. We are exiles. I don’t care if you’ve been in Mecklenburg County your entire life and your great-great-great-whatever has been here. This is not your home. We don’t live here. We don’t belong here. We’re strangers, we’re exiles. We ought to be asking the same questions that they were asking. How do we live a life in God’s favor? How do we live a life pleasing to Him?”
And so here’s what God wants to remind them and remind us again and again: God wants us to feel weak. He puts us in the battle, and sometimes we are attacked from the front and attacked from behind by God’s design so that we will see our inability, we will see our defeat, we will see our complete dependence upon him so that we will cry out to Him. You say “why does God have to do it that way?” Because He gets glory when He does it that way.
Why do we pray if God is sovereign? Well, that’s a big question, but here’s one of the reasons we pray: Because God has designed that He will accomplish His sovereign purposes through prayer. Why? Because God gets more glory when He accomplishes His purposes through prayer, so that we see our need, we see our weakness, we pray to God, and when He answers, if we can remember anything, we say “God, that was You, it was all You, not me.”
So you constantly find this. Isn’t it some of the best stories in the Old Testament? Hey, you got too many men against the Midianites, no, just go get a few hundred of them. We want to make sure God gets glory here. No, let’s just get a little guy, no, don’t wear any armor, just find five smooth stones against the giant. We want to make sure God gets glory here.
And so as they’re surrounded, they cry out to the Lord, the priests blew the trumpets, and they raised the battle cry, and God routed Jeroboam. The Israelites fled before Judah. God delivered them into their hands.
Put this story with the one we saw last week from Rehoboam. Isn’t it the exact opposite? Look again at 2 Chronicles 12:1: “When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord and all his Israel with him.” His strength was his downfall. Abijah’s weakness was the moment of his great triumph.
2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake I delight in weaknesses and insults and hardships and persecutions and difficulties, for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Don’t you love that verse and don’t you hate that verse? You love it ’cause it’s such a comfort, it’s so beautiful, you want to, you know, put it on a cross-stitch somewhere and then hang it up, and yet you want it, really, we want it to say “and when I’m strong, I’m even stronger, and when I’m strong I get just stronger and then God gives me even more strength.” But it doesn’t say that. It says when I’m weak, I’m strong.
Where does God have you weak this morning that he might show His strength? Now let me hasten to add it doesn’t always look like it does for Abijah. It’s not always that you blow the trumpet and the next thing you know you have a great victory and all your enemies have fled and you have the day is yours. Well, we don’t see that, at least not immediately. Maybe God’s will is done in your life by bringing you to your knees and keeping us there.
I don’t like weakness; I doubt many of us do. I was talking to the Second Acts community during Sunday School about caring for hurting people and I was just telling some of my story, which I’ve shared before, just before I was diagnosed with, with celiac and removed all joy from my life, I, no, I have plenty of joy in my life, but I was very sick, and I won’t go into all the details, but I just, I felt rotten all the time for two years and now I feel better, and there are people here that quietly feel that all the time. Different symptoms, maybe the same. Different illnesses, different fatigue, different just scars; mental, physical, spiritual.
And I would get where I would feel like I was going to faint or I was going to pass out and I would feel lightheaded and all sorts of strange things, and it was taking the joy out of preaching. I would get really nervous about it; I’m sure that didn’t help either, and I would feel like I don’t know if I’m going to make it through. I would have some times where I would hold onto the pulpit like this the whole time because I felt like I was going to fall over. It’s strange symptoms, but I do remember in it the Lord reminding me every Sunday, before I walked up to preach, I’d pray “Lord, I need you if I’m going to get through this.” And I thought how, how foolish in my life that I hadn’t been praying this every Sunday because it’s true, every Sunday I need the Lord if I’m going to get through, and you need that every day. We all need that, and yet we go on sometime from strength to strength, almost managing life, relying on our gifts, relying on our blessings. We don’t like to be weak.
Where does God have you weak this morning that He may show you His strength instead of your own? Where may God be throwing you into the battle and you see an army here, an army here, an army here and an army here, and the only thing you can do is cry out to Him, that might give the victory and get the glory.
Where do you see weakness? Where do you see it in our country? Maybe you look at the problems of racism and racial harmony and racial reconciliation seems to be intractable at times. So you cry out. Maybe you see the continuing prevalence of abortion, or maybe you see the escalating opioid crisis, or maybe you see just in this past week two prominent people in the world’s eye committed suicide and suicide rates are the highest they’ve been in decades in this country.
Where, where might you see in our own church where God wants us to cry out? You know, we have the blessing. You can look in our bulletin. You can see that we’re, we’re ahead of budget, praise the Lord. One of the things we ought to pray for always is Lord help us to meet our budget. Lord, help us not to just to meet it, but help us to have a vision for what more we can do with it. God, to do more than we could ask or imagine. We don’t want to just say “hey, we know how to get that number.” What about missions? What might it look like, if we would see our mission dollars increase every year in this church? What might God use us to do to bring about revival in Europe or to open the doors in the Muslim world or to break through that 1% barrier in japan or to plant a church in another part of Charlotte where people don’t look quite like us?
Where do we see weakness? And the Lord is saying in the midst of all that He’s given us in the great space, and this place and these people, say where are you weak? Where might we cry out to Him with evangelism and ask the Lord for faith to invite people to church, for the boldness to share the gospel in everyday situations, for our faith to be a little less invisible, for our lifestyle evangelism to be a little more evangelism and not just lifestyle, would we pray?
I remember reading a book on worship one time and it was, you know, it was sort of these multiple views book and one, one view was we just have to do, re-tool this and with worship and music and we’ve got to do this and this or we’re never going to reach people, we’re never going to save people. I remember one of the other authors saying what if before we did this, what if, what if we were doubled over in prayer, on our knees, crying out to God that He might save sinners? Why don’t we start there? How might we grow in a church, as a church, in prayer?
You know, it’s this line, I don’t know who it’s original to and it’s not quite fair, but people say you know, you can, you can see your Sunday morning attendance who likes the music leader, you can look at your Sunday evening attendance and see who likes the preacher, you can look at your prayer meeting and see how likes Jesus.
It doesn’t have to be a formal prayer meeting, but it does have to be prayer. Are we a church crying out? We have heavy things going on in our church, and we shared some of them last Sunday evening. I can tell you there are a number of other very weighty pastoral care issues behind the scenes that your pastors and elders are dealing with. We need your prayers. There are serious health concerns among us; we could have a list that would fill up this room. And then there would be all the things that we maybe don’t feel are safe to share, marriages that are not nearly as strong as they look, addictions, sins, struggles, quiet discouragement.
What about in your own life? Where is the Lord showing you weakness that you might cry out. Perhaps a burden for unbelievers in your life. Maybe there are sins of commission in your life that you just, you can’t seem to get past: pornography, anger, gossip, bitterness, a preoccupation with wanting to be beautiful or successful, or the fear of man, or the love of the praise of man, or envy or pride.
Or maybe it’s sins of omission: Prayerlessness, biblical illiteracy, a lack of self-control, a disinterest in church.
I’m still trying to get my, my finger on, on 1800 members and 1200 people on Sunday morning, so I’m just trying to, we’ve got a lot of people traveling, a lot of people coming and going. I’m not quite sure. But I hope if you’re a member here, it is your place to be on Sunday and your priority whenever you’re in town.
What about your children? There’s, there’s nothing quite like our children to bring us to our knees and how us our utter helplessness. Or maybe you say, I don’t, pastor, I don’t have any of those big things. I just go through life every single day and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to get the house cleaned, and how I’m going to get the kids to bed and how I’m going to get the bills paid. Well, that’s weakness, too.
Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe it’s not overwhelmed, maybe you feel underwhelmed, purposeless, all alone. Where does God have you in the battle that He might bring you to your knees to cry out.
Someone once said that all of our prayers boil down to basically two things, all of our prayers are one of these two things: Thank you or help. Thank you for this, God; help with that.
So I want to give us some time to do the latter. To say help. I am going to close us in just a moment and then we have not long, maybe 7 or 10 minutes, and there is going to be pairs of elders and pastors all around here, there’ll be two pairs up here, there’ll be 10 down here, and we want to give you an opportunity, could be for yourself, could be for someone else, to come to one of those pairs and just ask for prayer, to cry out to the Lord. It may be as big as a mountain or it may look as small as a molehill; there’s nothing too small. It’s not going to be a time to get a lot of counseling, it’s going to be just quickly come and share your concern. The elders love to do this, love to pray, love to pray for you, love to pray for someone in your life. Just cry out to God and let us pray with you and for you and there will be music playing quietly in the background and if you just stay in your seat, that’s fine too and you can just pray where you are, but I’m hoping that a lot of you will have the courage to get out of your seat and just form a line and quickly come and meet with a pair of elders or pastors and cry out to the Lord that we might pray and humble ourselves before Him, and give Him the glory and await for the victory.
Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we thank You. As much as we run from weakness and myself as much as anyone, we thank you for all the opportunities we have to be reminded that we need you, that we’re not smart enough, we’re not good enough, we’re not capable enough, we don’t have it all figured out, we can’t run our own lives or our kids’ lives or our grandkids’ lives. We don’t have things working all the ways we want, and as much as it may look for an hour and about a half on Sunday morning like we have things put together, we don’t, and there’s a battle in front and there’s a battle behind and we need to cry out, so here us, Lord. For Jesus’ sake, who loves to intercede for us, in His name we pray. Amen.