Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel which describes the narrative of David king of Israel as he reigned over the nation and kingdom of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty-three through twenty-four of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will encounter the final chapters of David’s life as it was portrayed in the book of Second Samuel. If you read and study Scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the reality that the narrative of David is found once more in full detail in the book of First Chronicles, as this book provides us with a secondary account to the events which took place within his life. It’s actually quite unique and astounding to read the words which are found in the final chapters of the book of Second Samuel, for you will find within these chapters distinct events which would characterize the final days of David here upon this earth. If you begin reading with and from the opening verse of the twenty-first chapter of the book of Second Samuel you will find that within the final days of David’s life there would be a famine which would strike the land—one that would remain upon the land for three years. If there is one thing I love about the heart of David, it’s that he was a man who took very little for granted. As you read and study the narrative of the life of David you will find that more often than not he was one who would inquire of the Lord as to what he should do next and where he should go next. You cannot read the account of David’s life—from the events which are written and recorded within the book of First Samuel to the events which are found in the book of Second Samuel—and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and tremendous reality that he was a man who diligently sought the LORD for his guidance and direction. When I write and speak about David being one who took very little for granted I mean that he was one who would look upon certain events within his life and immediately inquire of the LORD. You will find when the Amalekites burned Ziklag with fire and captured and stole away all the wives and children of David and his men, David not only encouraged himself in the LORD, but you will also find that David inquired of the LORD whether or not he should rise up and pursue the Amalekites to overtake them. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded within the thirtieth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel beginning to read with the first verse:
“And it came to pass, when David and his m en were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; and had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or fall, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jeztreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but Dave encouraged himself in the LORD his God. And David said to Abiathar the priest, Abimelech’ s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David inquiredat the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them, and without fail recover all. So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the book Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor” (1 Samuel 30:1-10).
Within this particular passage you will find David and his men returning from the Philistines who had marched out to battle against the children of Israel only to find and discover that the city of Ziklag where they had lived and dwelt had been burned with fire. What’s more, is that not only was the city burned with fire, but also their sons, their daughters and their wives were carried away and taken as captives by the Amalekites. Upon returning to this devastating sight David and his men lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more power to weep. Scripture reveals how David would then become greatly distressed because the men who were with him spoke of stoning him on account of their wives. What we find, however, is David not remaining in that place of distress, but transitioning and moving into a place of encouraging himself in the Lord. What’s more, is that not only would David encourage himself in the LORD, but David would also call for the ephod and would proceed to inquire of the LORD. It’s worth noting that David’s inquiry of the LORD was very specific, as David would inquire of the LORD something very specific, which was whether or not he and his men should rise up and pursue the Amalekites. The LORD would indeed respond to David and declare unto him that not only should he rise up and pursue the Amalekites, but he would also surely recover all. Upon this direction and guidance from the LORD David and the men who were with him—a number which had now grown to six hundred from the previous four hundred that were with him—would depart and set out in pursuit of the Amalekites. It’s worth noting that not only would David and his men come upon the Amalekites suddenly, but they would completely and utterly overtake and destroy them. What’s more, is that David and his men would recover everything the Amalekites had carried away and stolen from them. All their wives, all their sons, all their daughters, and everything they had stolen and captured away from them within the city of Ziklag would surely be recovered. How absolutely and incredibly powerful it is to think about the fact that it would have been very easy for David to remain in that place of distress, and even that place of weeping over his wives, over his sons, over his daughters, and even those which were of the men who were with him, however, he would encourage himself in the LORD. Not only this, but beyond encouraging himself in the LORD he would inquire of the LORD whether or not he should rise up and pursue the Amalekites, to which the LORD responded by instructing him to rise up and pursue after them. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that David would not remain in the place of weeping and distress, and instead found a way to transition from that place of distress and weeping to encouragement and victory in the LORD his God who would instruct him to rise up, pursue and overtake the Amalekites, and recover all that had been taken.
If you continue to read and study the narrative of the life of David you will find in the very next chapter—the opening chapter of the book of Second Samuel—he would again inquire of the LORD. As you read the words which are written and found within the opening chapter of the book of Second Samuel you will find Saul the king of Israel being dead in the midst of the battle the children of Israel had with and against the Philistines after falling upon his own sword. What’s more, is that you will also find that three of Saul’s sons—including Jonathan whom David’s soul loved as a brother. Upon beginning to read with and from the opening verse of the first chapter of the book of Second Samuel you will find that a man had come from the camp where the battle had taken place between the children of Israel and the Philistines, and how this man brought unto David and his men news that the children of Israel were defeated in battle against the Philistines, and that Saul and his three sons were killed. Moreover, this particular messenger would make the fatal mistake of declaring unto David that it was he who had killed Saul upon Saul’s own request after he had been wounded in battle. This man came unto David bringing the crown that was upon the head of Saul, as well as the bracelet that was upon his arm thinking that he would bring good tidings unto David and would somehow obtain favor in the sight of David. Scripture, however, paints a very different picture, as this man would be put to death by David’s men, as David was repulsed by the thought that one would dare lift up their hand against the LORD”s anointed. Of course we know that this man had not killed Saul at all, however, his false report would ultimately result in his death before David and his men. After David and his men lifted up their voices, wept, and tore their clothes upon hearing news of the death of Saul, and after David had sung a song concerning Saul and his three sons, we find David once more inquiring of the LORD. After hearing how Saul was now dead, David inquired of the LORD as to whether or not he should go up unto the land of Israel, and unto one of the cities of Judah. It’s actually quite remarkable and astonishing to think about and consider the fact that here were find David once more inquiring of the LORD—not concerning rising up, pursuing and overtaking enemies, but whether or not he should return to one of the cities of Judah. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded within this book beginning to read with and from the opening verse of the second chapter:
“And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal’s wife the Carmelite. And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah” (2 Samuel 2:1-4).
Here within this passage we find David having just mourned and wept over Saul and his sons who were killed in the midst of the battle against the Philistines, and upon the conclusion of a song which he sang concerning Saul and his men, we find David immediately inquiring of the LORD whether or not he should to up into any of the cities of Judah. The LORD would respond to David and instruct him to rise, to go up and to return unto the land of Judah. Moreover—when David received instruction of the LORD to rise up and return unto the land of Judah, he would proceed to further inquire of the LORD concerning which of the cities he should go up to. The LORD would once more respond to David be instructing him to go up unto Hebron in the land of Judah. David would rise up from Ziklag—together with both his wives, the six hundred men who were with him, as well as their households—and would come unto Hebron in the land of Judah. It would be there in Hebron where the men of Judah would come and anoint David king over the tribe of Judah. I find it absolutely remarkable to think about and consider the fact that even after news of Saul’s death, David didn’t immediately take for granted, nor did he assume what his next steps would or should have been. It would have been very easy for us who might very well have found ourselves in a similar position to automatically and immediately assume that we knew what the next step(s) were for our lives in this moment of our lives, however, we do not find David operating under such a spirit of assumption. Rather than assuming that he should immediately return unto the land of Judah, David would inquire of the LORD to discern what the LORD would have for him. What’s more, is that even when the LORD spoke unto him and instructed him to go up unto the land of Judah, David would inquire even further of the LORD and ask unto which of the cities he should go up and return to. The LORD would once more respond unto David by instructing him to go up unto the city of Hebron. It would be there at Hebron where the men of Judah would come unto David and would anoint and make him king over the tribe and land of Judah. It would be in the land of Judah where David would reign as king for a period of seven years before all Israel would come unto him and anoint him to be king over all twelve tribes of the land of Israel. What’s worth noting, however, is the fact that David didn’t operate under assumption and thinking and believing that he knew what was best, and that he automatically knew what he should do next. The only thing David knew for sure was that Saul and three of his sons were dead, and that he was now faced with the decision of what he should do and where he should go next. How absolutely amazing it is to think about and consider the fact that David would inquire of the LORD concerning the next steps and next phase of his life rather than assuming he automatically knew what was best for him.
When you come to the final chapters of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel you will find David once more inquiring of the LORD—this time, however, he would not inquire of the LORD concerning himself, but rather for the nation and people of Israel. I feel a great and tremendous need to pause for a moment and underscore and highlight a powerful truth that is contained within this narrative within David’s life. Time and time again within the life of David we find him inquiring of the LORD concerning his next steps, concerning his next moves, concerning where he should go next, and even what he should do next. We have multiple and various accounts of David inquiring of the LORD as to what he should do and where he should go next, and almost every instance of his inquiring of the LORD dealt exclusively and specifically with him.What’s more, is that David’s inquiries of the LORD dealt primarily with battle, with conflict, with warfare, and with struggle against the enemies and adversaries of the people of God. There were times when David would inquire of the LORD whether or not he should go up against the Philistines and engage them in battle and conflict. It’s worth noting that what we find here is David not inquiring of the LORD concerning himself, nor even what he should necessarily do for himself, but rather we find David inquiring of the LORD concerning events which were taking place during that particular period of time within the nation of Israel. It should be mentioning that here within this passage we find David inquiring of the LORD concerning the nation of Israel, concerning the people of Israel, and concerning events which were taking place within the land. As you begin reading the twenty-first chapter of this Old Testament book you will find a famine striking the land, and one that would last a full three years. I would dare say that after the famine had reached its third year, David decided within himself that it was both wise and prudent to inquire of the LORD as to the cause and nature of this famine. This is actually quite telling, for it suggests that David had perhaps discerned that the famine which was upon the land had a deeper meaning behind it than simply a chance famine which had come upon the land. The fact that David inquired of the LORD concerning this famine suggests that David quite possibly looked beyond the external manifestation of the famine, and discerned that there was something deeper going on among the people and within the nation. The simple fact that David inquired of the LORD concerning the famine which by that time had been upon the land for three years suggests that David quite possibly discerned that there was something that was taking place behind the scenes which needed to be revealed. Consider if you will the words which are found within the twenty-first chapter of this Old Testament book beginning to read with and from the opening verse:
“Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children o fIsrael had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? And wherewith shall I make atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD? And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that I will do for you. And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them. But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armani and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: and he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest” (2 Samuel 21:1-9).
I find the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture to be absolutely remarkable and absolutely astounding, for within this passage we find David inquiring of the LORD concerning the famine which had now consumed and come upon the land for a full three years. The opening verse of this chapter describes how there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year, and eventually David would discern within himself that there was something much deeper that was going on than simply the famine itself. Though the famine was perceived, witnessed and felt in the physical and natural, David discerned that there was undoubtedly something much deeper in the supernatural and spiritual realm that was taking place. As I sit here this morning and consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture I can’t help but consider this particular narrative within the life of David in light of our present day and the crisis we have been facing—pretty much since the beginning of the year. It is true that the pandemic which the globe has been battling since the beginning of the year after it was first reported in China in December of last year truly reached a climactic point of alarm during the month of March, we must understand that this has been something that has spread upon the face of the globe since Wuhan was locked down back in December of last year. For more than a month this nation—as well as nations of the earth—have been struggling to contain the outbreak, and have been struggling to understand how to defeat and overcome it. While the entire globe focuses all their efforts, all their attention, all their energies on how to defeat and overcome this pandemic, I can’t help but see something of far greater worth and far greater value. The question I can’t help but ask myself is what good it does if we perhaps conquer, defeat and overcome this pandemic, and yet we miss the underlying message that is at the very heart of it. What if we are somehow able to defeat and overcome this pandemic, and the nations of the earth are somehow able to open back up again after being on lockdown for more than a month if we fail to miss the message which the living God desires to speak to us? Oh it is true we might very well come to a place where we are able to contain and overcome this pandemic and this virus which has killed countless thousands of people across the globe, however, as surely as I sit here this morning I fear that we might be missing the point concerning that which the living God is speaking unto us. What makes this particular pandemic so absolutely and utterly captivating and perplexing is the fact that not only was it not limited to the nation of China, and not only did it spread to the United States of America, but it has literally swept across the globe. What would begin as an epidemic in the People’s Republic of China would eventually move and spread throughout the earth, and would ravage nations, together with their economies. We must understand and come face to face with the fact that this pandemic has not only threatened specific countries, but it has hit certain countries harder than others—countries such as the United States, Italy, Spain, and even Iran as well.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but look upon the events which are taking place among us within the days and times in which we are living and wonder what the Spirit of the LORD might be speaking unto us. Oh it is true International leaders alike might be struggling to contain and overcome this virus, and yet I fear that there are countless thousands—if not millions and/or billions of people who are trying desperately to contain and overcome this viral pandemic, and yet very few are stopping to ask the question of what the Spirit of the LORD is seeking to speak to us. We know from history that the Roman Empire persecuted the Christians, invaded the holy land, destroyed the city of Jerusalem, burned the Temple of the LORD to the ground, and even put to death the Messiah upon the cross at Calvary. We know that the Islamic Republic of Iran used to be the Persian Empire, and that Iran as a nation has historically been a staunch adversary to the nation and people of Israel. We know that Spain during the years of King Ferdinand exercised a tremendous persecution against the Jews which were present within the borders of the country. We know that the United States has spent roughly three quarters of a century driving God out of its collective culture, society and psyche, and is responsible for gross atrocities in the sight of the living God. We would be incredibly naïve to think and believe for one moment that the Spirit of the living God is not and has not been speaking unto us in the midst of this viral pandemic and is not seeking to show us something beyond what we are seeing. As the number of confirmed cases continue to mount, and as the bodies and deaths continue to pile up and mount, we must ask ourselves what the Spirit of the LORD desires to speak to us during this time. Just as David inquired of the LORD concerning the famine which was upon the land year after year for three years, so I am absolutely convinced that men and women of prayer, men and women of intercession, men and women of faith and discernment need to rise up in this hour, enter into the secret closet of prayer, and inquire of the LORD concerning what He is doing in the midst of these days. There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that we are truly and indeed living in the Last Days, and there is a great and tremendous need for us to be aware of this absolutely astonishing reality. We would be naïve to try and ignore the fact that we are not living in the Last Days, and that we aren’t hurdling and barreling towards the day of the return of Jesus the Christ. There is absolutely no denying the fact that we are indeed living in the Last Days, and that we are closer than ever to the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I absolutely love how after the third year of the famine which struck the earth David inquired of the LORD concerning the famine in order that he might understand what was taking place in the midst of the land. David had watched and observed the famine as it transitioned into a second year, and then again as it continued into the third year, and it was during—perhaps even at the end of the third year that David inquired of the LORD concerning the famine. Scripture doesn’t reveal what David prayed, nor even what David asked of the LORD—only that David inquired of the LORD concerning the famine. The LORD would respond to David concerning the famine and would declare unto him that the famine was upon the land because of Saul and his murder of the Gibeonites. Here we are later on in the life and reign of David king of Israel, and Saul had long been dead and gone from the earth, and yet the LORD was striking the land with a famine because of actions which Saul had taken while he was still king. Pause for a moment and think about that reality—the reality that although Saul was dead, and although David was now and had been king over the nation of Israel, the LORD would still send a judgment upon the land on account of Saul’s murder of innocent individuals during the days he was king over the nation of Israel. The LORD would reveal unto David the tremendous truth behind the famine that had ravaged the land for three years, and revealed unto David that the famine was in direct response to Saul’s actions which he had taken years earlier. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible truth, for this truth brings us face to face with what we are facing within our modern generation and during the times in which we are living. There is not a doubt in my mind that while it is necessary to try and slow the spread of this virus, and while it is necessary for us contain it to prevent further death and devastation, there is an even greater need that many aren’t even thinking about, nor are they considering. What we must recognize concerning this virus is that it isn’t even touching physical bodies resulting in death of thousands, but it is touching national economies within and throughout the world. This virus has essentially shut down countless nations and countries throughout and across the world, and is crippling many economies which might very will have boasted tremendous strength prior to this outbreak and pandemic. Consider how many countries are absolutely reeling—not only because of the death toll this viral pandemic and outbreak is taking on the lives of countless thousands, but also because of the impact that it is having on the economy. This viral pandemic is touching more than physical bodies, for this pandemic is touching global and national economies and is bringing countries to its knees—perhaps even to the point of utter collapse and ruin.
If you look upon our own nation and our own country you will find that this viral pandemic has absolutely and entirely shut down the nation, and has absolutely rocked the economy. Despite the efforts of the President of the United States, Congress, the Senate, and the like to salvage the economy and to prevent a full economic collapse, there has been a tidal wave and flood of devastation and destruction that has already spread within and throughout the country. Countless business and companies have completely and totally shut down—even if only temporarily until this viral pandemic has been contained. Unemployment and jobless claims are the highest they have ever been, and people are flocking to grocery stores where they are hoarding items which are desperately needed to live on a consistent basis. What’s more, is that hospitals and medical personnel are absolutely and completely overwhelmed as the constant care for all those who have contracted this virus need and require medial attention in order that they might recover from this virus. It is true that there are countless thousands of men and women who are recovering from this virus, however, we must recognize and understand that this virus has absolutely and completely rocked this nation, and has resulted in the death of thousands of men and women. What’s more, is that there is something different about this crisis we are facing than what we faced during the days and events of September 11th back in 2001. There is something drastically and noticeably different about this current crisis we are facing, and that is when events of September 11th hit, and when the economic collapse back in 2008 hit and struck this nation, churches and houses of worship were still in operation and were still open. Men and women could freely enter into houses of worship and churches at their leisure and at their discretion. Church doors were not closed, and men and women could gather together on Sunday mornings, or perhaps even Sunday evenings, or during midweek services. Men and women could gather together for corporate prayer to pray for the events that were taking place within the nation. After the Twin Towers fell almost twenty years ago, and after the economy crashed twelve years ago, men and women could enter into the house of the living God where they could worship, where they could pray, where they could gather together with other believers and followers of Jesus the Christ. During the events of September 11th, as well as the events of the economic collapse churches were still open and men and women could still enter into the house of the living God to give themselves to prayer, give themselves to hearing the preaching of the word, give themselves to intercession, give themselves to fellowship and community with others. This isn’t the case during this viral pandemic as countless hundreds—if not thousands—of churches and houses of worship are closed and are no longer accessible to the public, as a federal order to limit gatherings of people to no more than two people was implemented.
Oh, what do you do when you find yourself in the midst of a crisis and the houses of worship are closed and shut down? What do you do when you find yourself in the midst of a crisis and church buildings are closed to you, and you are unable to enter in to pray, to intercede, and to perhaps even hear the preaching of the word. Oh it is true that many churches are restoring to “drive-in services,” and many churches are streaming their services using the internet, however, men and women aren’t able to simply get in their car and drive to their local church and/or house of worship. Men and women aren’t able to ride their bikes, take public transportation, or even walk to the house of the LORD where they will pray and seek the face of the LORD. I can’t help but feel within my spirit that there is something different about this current crisis as it is testing the faith of Christians and believers who perhaps relied solely on the house of God, and solely on the church building itself for their walk and relationship with the living God. Oh what do you do when that which you relied on for your relationship and walk with the LORD is suddenly inaccessible and no longer available to you? What do you do when you find yourself needing to dig deeper within yourself and to see whether or not you truly have roots within yourself in your walk with the LORD? I am convinced that this viral pandemic is exposing the root systems of countless men and women who attend church services, and who have come unto and into the house of God week after week, and yet they have relied solely on the pastor or preacher of the word of God, and solely on the worship leader and the worship team for their relationship with the living God. I am convinced that this viral pandemic is revealing and exposing just how deep the root systems of men and women truly are, and is exposing all those men and women who have trusted in buildings, and who have trusted in man for their relationship with the living God. Even more than this, this crisis is forcing men and women to perhaps get alone in the secret closet of prayer rather than coming to the house of the LORD and to the church building. At this present point in time we are unable to gather together in the house of the LORD, and we are unable to enter into the church building to pray and to seek the face of the LORD, and we are forced to do so from the confines of our own home. Oh, I firmly believe the living God is using this current viral pandemic and crisis to shake the hearts and souls of countless men and women in order that He might reveal the true foundation upon which they are standing. Oh, I can’t help but get the strong sense that what is taking place here in this generation is very much like what Jesus spoke at the conclusion of His Sermon on the Mount. What’s more, is that I can’t help but get the strong sense that this crisis is revealing and confirming the words which Jesus spoke when He delivered the parable of the four soils and the seed which was sown into them. Consider if you will—first the words which conclude Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and next the parable of the four soils and the seed which was sown in them:
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayins of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish men, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).
“The same day went Jesus out of the house, and say by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I unto them in parables a: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they year. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or spear union ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitful ness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also bareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:1-23).
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but get the strong sense within my heart and spirit that there is something drastically, something noticeably, something markedly different about this particular time within our generation. I can’t help but get the sense within my heart and my spirit that there is something different about this current crisis we are facing—not just on a national level, but on a global level—that makes it much different than previous crises we have faced. When the events of September 11th struck almost twenty years ago the houses of worship were still open, and men and women could still enter into the house of God where they could pray, where they could intercede, where they could seek the face of God, where they could truly cry out to the living God. Even when the events of the economic collapse took place twelve years ago the churches and houses of worship were still open and men and women could enter into any house of worship of their choosing and could entreat and seek the face of God. Men and women could enter into church buildings of their choosing and pray, and intercede and seek the face of the living God. In our current situation and crisis, however, this isn’t the case as churches and houses of worship throughout and across the nation are and have been shut down. No longer can you enter into houses of worship on a Sunday morning. No longer can you enter into houses of worship on a Sunday evening. No longer can you come into the house of God during a midweek service or during a prayer meeting. No longer are churches as open and accessible to you as they once were. I fear that for countless men and women during this time they are facing an existential crisis of faith within themselves, as that which they have trusted in, that which they have relied upon, and that which they trusted in for their walk and relationships with the living God is no longer in operation as it always has been. For many men and women the foundation of their faith was not in the word of God, was not on the solid Rock which is Jesus Christ, was not in prayer and a deep yearning and seeking of the face of God, but instead—their foundation was in buildings, their foundation was in preachers and pastors alike, their foundation was in worship leaders and worship bands. For countless men and women they are finding themselves experiencing a crisis of faith such as they have never seen or experienced before, as they are no longer able to enter into the house of the LORD, be led in worship by a worship leader and band, and even hear a message preached in their hearing. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are men and women among us in this generation who are finding themselves at a complete and total loss as to what to do during this present crisis, and what they should do next. Such men and women have been so used to relying on pastors and preachers alike, and yet they are finding themselves in a place where they are no longer able to function.
This current crisis which we are presently facing is such as we have never seen or experienced before, as men and women are coming face to face—both with the root system within themselves, as well as the foundation upon which they are standing. THERE IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS! I firmly believe that for countless thousands—if not millions—of men and women, this current crisis is revealing and exposing just how deep their roots go. Moreover, this current crisis is revealing to the hearts of countless men and women what foundation they are, and what foundation they truly have been standing upon. When Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount He presented two different individuals—that one who built their house upon the rock, and that one who built their house upon the sand. What’s interesting to note about both the wise and the foolish is that they both built houses, and they both went through the same storm and crisis, and in both cases the storm revealed the foundation upon which their house was built. I have long been fascinated by the fact that both the wise and the foolish went through and experienced the same storm, yet only the house of the wise actually stood and withstood the storm. This is precisely because they chose to build their house on the firm foundation of stone rather than the shaky foundation of shifting sand. There is not a doubt in my mind that during this current crisis men and women are experiencing and encountering the same storm, and yet what is being revealed is the foundation upon which they have built their houses, and the foundation upon which they have built their lives. Both the wise and the foolish alike can and will experience the storm together and at the same time, however what is presented within the parable which Jesus spoke and revealed is that only the house of the wise which was built on the solid and firm foundation of the rock would stand and withstand the storm. No longer are we speaking about a storm that might come, or a storm that could come, for this nation—yea, even the entire globe is facing this storm together. There is a storm that has swept and is sweeping across the globe, and men, women and children alike are encountering and walking through it at the same time. Regardless of whether or not you have been infected with COVID-19, you are still forced to walk through the storm this viral pandemic has produced and is producing within this nation and country.
If I am being honest with you who are reading the words of this writing right now—I would dare say that the greatest tragedy and the greatest sorrow facing this generation right now is not contracting COVID-19. Yes it is true that there have been countless thousands that have died as a result of this viral outbreak and pandemic, however, there are countless thousands that have successfully recovered from it. Though the path and process to recovery was not easy, and though it might have been painful and difficult to bear, they have nonetheless come through on the other side of the virus. The question is not whether or not you will come through on the other side of the virus, but whether or not you will come through on the other side of the crisis. I firmly believe that the crisis itself is far greater and far deadlier than the virus itself, and men and women must contend with the reality of whether or not they can and will come out on the other side of the crisis. I believe that the greatest tragedy of this current crisis is not contracting this virus, but in the condition of the house you have built in the midst of the crisis. Moreover, I am convinced that the greatest threat in this current generation is not recovering from the virus itself if you have contracted it, but the condition of your house on the other side of the crisis. I am thoroughly convinced that this crisis is without a doubt revealing the foundation upon which men and women have built their houses and built their lives, and all those who have built their houses on the shaking and shifting foundation of sand are going to find themselves in a place of great despair and sorrow as they witness and behold their houses and lives having crumbled and fallen apart. I firmly believe with everything that is inside me that this current crisis and this current situation is exposing the foundations which countless men and women have built their entire lives, and is bringing them face to face with the strength of their effort, or the sheer and utter futility of their effort. It’s important to note that the wise didn’t face and experience their own storm, and the foolish faced and experienced their own storm. We must understand that the living rains on the just and the unjust together, and this is especially helpful to understand during this current crisis as nations are facing it together, as the righteous and the wicked are facing it together, and as the wise and foolish are facing it together. There isn’t a single nation on this earth that isn’t facing this crisis right now, and even within this nation there isn’t a single state that has not been directly impacted by this viral pandemic—regardless of on what degree, measure and scale. Nations and states alike are facing this crisis together, and it is without a doubt exposing the foundation upon which men and women have built their entire lives—even their very relationship with the living God. Men and women are coming face to face and are being confronted with just how secure their foundation truly is, and there are countless men and women who are finding themselves in a place where the foundation upon which they have built their lives is nothing more than sinking and shifting sand.
With that being said, I am also convinced that as surely as this pandemic is exposing and revealing the foundations upon which men and women have built their lives, it is also revealing the root systems within the hearts and lives of men and women. This crisis and pandemic isn’t simply revealing the foundation upon which houses and lives are being built, but it is also revealing just how deep the root systems of men and women truly go—if they even have a root system at all. What’s interesting to note about the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the sower and the four types of soil is that He specifically speaks to those who have no root within themselves. Those who have no roots and those who have no root system within themselves are like those who received the seed into stony ground, and although they endured for a while—when persecution and/or tribulation arises—they are offended. Oh, I believe with everything inside me that there are men and women in this generation who if they are not and have not already become offended, are going to become offended in the coming days. I firmly believe that this crisis is exposing the root system which men and women might very well profess to have, and yet are quickly discovering is entirely and altogether absent in their lives. Jesus not only spoke of foundations being exposed in the midst of storms, but Jesus also exposed false and counterfeit root systems being exposed in the midst of tribulation and persecution. It is absolutely necessary and important for us to recognize and understand this as I am absolutely and without a doubt convinced that what are facing right now is reveling the root systems which men and women have thought and believed they have had within themselves, and yet are finding out that they either didn’t have a root system at all, or if they did have a root system, it didn’t go down very deep. The underlying secret to root systems is not only having one, but also how deep the roots actually go. Perhaps the single greatest question I can present you with at this juncture is how deep do your roots truly go? Scripture speaks about the righteous and how they are trees planted by streams of living water, which bear and bring forth fruit in their season, and we must recognize and understand this picture, for I am convinced that not only is it necessary for us to understand how deep our root systems go, but it is also necessary for our being planted by streams and rivers of water—planted by that which can provide us with sustenance, with life, with vitality, with strength, and with that which we need to survive. I fear there are countless men and women in this generation who are facing this current crisis, and who are not only realizing that they have built their entire lives—even their relationship with Jesus Christ—on a shifting and shaking foundation, but they are also realizing that they have no root system within themselves. This current crisis with all its uncertainty, with all its fear, with all its doubts, with all its questions, with all the chaos and turmoil surrounding it s thrusting men and women into straight panic mode as men and women are essentially fighting and struggling to survive. Men and women are realizing and coming face to face with the elements of fear, of doubt, of confusion, of turmoil within their own hearts and souls, and this crisis is bringing men and women face to face with the condition of their hearts and souls before the crisis began and a false reality which they believed was actually true.
I sit here this morning and I am finding myself considering the strong reality that the greater triumph is not overcoming the virus and somehow defeating and overcoming it. The greatest triumph during this crisis is a triumph of faith, of foundation and roots, as men and women will encounter and come face to face with a faith that desperately needs to be unshakable and unstoppable. There is not a doubt in my mind that this current crisis is bringing us face to face with just how deep our root systems go and just how stable and secure our foundation truly is. Those men and women who have placed their trust, their hope, and their confidence in man are finding themselves suddenly and almost without warning encountering just how absolutely and incredibly shallow that truly is within their hearts and lives. This current crisis has completely and totally shut down churches and houses of worship, and men and women are forced to deal with and interact with God on entirely new ground—ground that was perhaps altogether different and unfamiliar with them. I am absolutely convinced that there are men and women in this generation who right now are finding themselves having to completely alter what they believed to be their relationship with God, and what they believed to be strong in their own eyes. I am convinced there are men and women who have never interacted with God outside of and apart from the house of God, and apart from houses of worship, and they are now all of a sudden having to interact and have fellowship with a God they knew absolutely nothing about. I have long believed that we should never place our trust in man, and that we should never rely on man for our relationship with the living God. I have long believed that we should never rely on the worship leader for our worship, nor rely on the preacher or minister of the word to hear the voice of God within our lives. Even now as I am sitting here I can’t help but hear a strong and powerful cry in the Spirit—not only to enter into the secret closet of prayer, but also to wholeheartedly and completely give ourselves to fasting, to weeping and mourning in these days and in this generation. I am reminded of the words which are written and recorded in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew which presents us with more from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Moreover, I am reminded of the words which the ancient Hebrew prophet Joel prophesied, which are recorded for us in the second chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book which bears his name. Consider if you will each of these passages, and you will catch a glimpse of the tremendous and awesome invitation the living God is giving unto us in these Last Days—particularly and especially in the midst of this current crisis:
“And when thou pray East, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou pray East, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to the Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:5-13).
“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? Blow a trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should ruler over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied there with: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: but I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the East Sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill Saviour shall come up, because he hath done great things. Fear not, O lan; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the trees heareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the Palmer worm, my great army which I sent among you. Nd ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaid in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that show over shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:12-32).
WHO WILL EMERGE FROM THE SECRET CLOSET? WHO WILL EMERGE FROM THE SECRET PLACE? THE CHURCHES ARE CLOSED, BUT THE CLOSETS ARE OPEN! I am sitting here this morning and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the fact that although the churches in our nations are closed, there is one place that can never be touched during a time like this. If I am being honest with you who are reading the words of this writing, I feel the tremendous need to emphatically declare to you that even though the church buildings themselves might be closed—even if only temporarily—the secret closet of prayer has never been and will never be closed. I find it absolutely astonishing and remarkable to think about and consider the absolutely remarkable reality that while our churches and while church buildings themselves might be closed, the secret closets of prayer are still open. What’s more, is you almost get the sense that there is a greater purpose in this self-isolation beyond simply slowing the spread of a virus. Oh, I am convinced that this process of self-isolation transcends any attempt to slow this virus, and is in all reality and invitation of the Spirit to shut yourselves in with the living God, and to shut yourselves in the secret closet of prayer. What do you do when you cannot go to the house of God as you used to for Sunday morning service, or even for mid-week Bible study, or even for prayer meetings? What do you do when you can’t go out and enjoy the comforts and pleasures you used to? I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that all the venues we have used and restored to for pleasure, for comfort, and for our desires are shut down now, for it’s forcing us into a place and time of isolation. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not are willing to hear the call and voice of the Spirit and recognize that this is a time when men and women are being called into the secret closet of prayer. What’s more, is that we must realize and recognize that the secret closet of prayer has always been there, and that reality has never changed. The “altar” we perceive within our churches and within the houses of worship isn’t and hasn’t been the only altar we have had access to, for there has always been an altar that more often than not has been right in front of us and before our eyes the whole time. There has always been a closet and there has always been an altar that has been available to us in our hearts and in our lives. One of the most remarkable and astounding realities we must recognize and remember is that there has always been the secret closet of prayer, and the power is still where it’s always been. Oh dear believer, I am convinced that this particular crisis is calling you to move beyond the church to the closet. Moreover, I am convinced this present crisis is calling you to erect an altar in your own home—one where you can truly get alone with the Spirit of the living God, and one where you can truly experience fellowship and communion with Him.
I am sitting here this morning and I can’t help but wonder who and what is going to emerge when everything finally starts opening up. Who are those who are going to emerge from more than simply their homes, their apartments and their condominiums, but are going to emerge from the secret closet of prayer? Who are those who are going to find themselves having been stripped and purged of all the comforts, all the pleasures and all the desires of this world with a single cry that echoes through the ages—the cry to “Take the world, but give me Jesus.” I am finding myself praying that during this time men and women would get alone with the living God, and would have absolutely every idol which they have set up in their homes, as well as their hearts would be completely and utterly removed. It’s quite remarkable just how pervasive certain realities are within this nation, and not only how much we trusted and relied upon them, but how much they were actually idols within our hearts and lives. What do you do when you take away restaurants, bars, movie theaters, stadiums, arenas, hockey rinks, and the like? What do you do when you strip away and remove all idols and all forms of idolatry within our nation? Oh I am absolutely convinced that not only has the living God shut down all major means of idolatry within this nation, but He has also shut down and closed churches in order that the idolatry of our hearts might be exposed and revealed. With that being said, I am firmly convinced that the Spirit of the living God is calling men and women from the church pew to the closed closet. Oh can you hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to you during this generation? Can you hear the call to abandon all comforts all pleasures, all desires, all idols, and that which has utterly and completely consumed you within your heart and life? The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD might be shutting down church buildings, but in the process of shutting down church buildings, we are finding secret closets of prayer being opened. Oh, it is my cry and my prayer that secret closets of prayer would be opened much like the graves were opened upon the death of Jesus on the cross. You will recall that when Jesus gave up the ghost upon the cross there was a great earthquake and the graves of righteous men and women were opened. At His resurrection countless men and women who lie within those graves emerged and began speaking in the holy city of Jerusalem. It is my prayer that the secret closets of prayer would be opened just as the graves were at the death of Jesus, and that the time and moment would come when there would not only be an emergence of righteous men and women, but also an emergence of resurrected individuals in the midst of the nations of the earth. Oh, the church buildings might be closed, however, the secret closets of prayer have never been and will never be closed.
The question I can’t help but find myself is who can and who will emerge during this generation? Who will emerge from this crisis once nations begin opening back up again? I am convinced that there is a powerful picture of who the LORD desires to bring forth from the midst of this crisis in the twenty-first and twenty-third chapter of the book of Second Samuel. If and as you read the final words of the twenty-first chapter, as well as the latter portion of the twenty-third chapter you will find a description of mighty men in Israel who not only engaged and confronted the enemy and adversary, but those who slayed giants, those who took on great hosts, those who defended ground, those who stripped the enemy of their weapons and struck them down with them, those who went down to strike down a lion, and others. Oh, I am convinced that when the nations of the earth open back up again the Spirit of the LORD wants to cause mighty men and mighty women of faith, of trust, of confidence and of strength to emerge within the land. Although the churches are closed, there will be men and women who will get serious about God, who will enter into the secret closet of prayer, who will be transformed, who will experience great victory and triumph in the secret place, and who will emerge as mighty men and women of faith, trust, confidence, victory and triumph. Consider if you will the words which are found within the twenty-first and twenty-third chapters of the book of Second Samuel:
“Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint. And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being birdied with a new sword, thought to have slain David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel. And it came to pass, after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant. And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philsitines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-Oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei the brother of David slew him. These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants” (2 Samuel 21:15-22).
“These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. And after him was Eleanor the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Phiilstines that were gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil. And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentils: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory. And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philsitines pitched in the valley of Rephaim. And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Beth-lehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Beth-lehem, which is by the gate! And the three mighty men breake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men. And Abishai the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lift up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three. Was he not most honorable of three? Therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lion-like men of Moab: he went down also and slew a. Lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow: and he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptians had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear. These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. He was more honorable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard” (2 Samuel 23:8-23).
You might be wondering why I would choose to include the narrative of these men whose lives were recorded in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, however, I am convinced that within the narrative of the lives of these men we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that during this time—not only is the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD calling men and women into the secret place of the closet, but the Spirit of the LORD is raising up mighty men and women of faith who can conquer giants, defend ground, and engage enemies and adversaries on multiple fronts. There is not a doubt in my mind that just as the graves of righteous men and women opened up upon the death of Jesus, so also will secret closets of prayer open up and from those closets will emerge mighty men and women of faith, Despite the fact that our churches are closed, the closets are fully and completely open. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or no the closets are full. I am finding myself asking that closets which were closed would once more be opened, and that the closets would once more be full and would increase in number. Oh that during and in the midst of this crisis there would be what I would call “Closeteers”—those men and women will enter into the secret closet of prayer and who will get alone with the Father and truly seek His face as Jesus spoke about in the Sermon on the Mount, and as the ancient prophet Joel prophesied about. Oh that we would turn our hearts to the living and would return to Him with fasting, with weeping and mourning. Oh that would find the strength, the comfort, the encouragement, the faith, the confidence, the trust, the hope and the peace we are looking for in the midst of this present situation, as well as when this present situation draws to a close and we come out on the other side—regardless of what awaits us on the other side. There is a great need for men of faith, men of confidence, men of discernment, men of wisdom, and men of knowledge to emerge from the other side of this crisis, for we do not know, nor do we have any idea what awaits this nation or the world when this is all said and done. I do not believe for one moment that life can, nor will life return back to normal, and we have absolutely no idea what to expect once we come out on the other side. Despite the fact that the pews of our churches might be empty, it is my prayer that the closets of our homes and the closets of our lives would be opened, and would be full of men and women who are earnestly and passionately seeking the face of the living God.