The New Year has come. The celebrations muted. The lockdowns have not eased. The entire world still faces the prospect of new waves of infection with new mutated strains.
As the clock ticks into 2021, I sat quietly in the darkened sanctuary during Watchnight. I was drawn to think of a scriptural verse.
“Give thanks to the Lord for His love endures forever” (II Chronicles 20:21)
The context of this verse and its numerical reference are so similar to what we are facing now.
The combined armies of Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites came to wage war against King Jehoshaphat (II Chronicles 20:1).
Today we are besieged by pandemic wars, trade wars and political wars. No nation is spared from these waging wars.
In that dire straits situation and hopeless despair, King Jehoshaphat turned to the Lord. He cried out in II Chronicles 20:9.
“If disaster comes upon us — sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine — we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.”
Notice the description of disaster is not quite unlike what we are facing today.
The “sword” that put an end to human lives, jobs and businesses. The “judgement” of what is essential, equality, greed and climate change. The “pestilence” of viral outbreak. The “famine” of closed borders and unopened economy.
Even more surprising is the strategic move King Jehoshaphat took in his battle plan as he face off the advancement of three invading armies.
He did not send his elite commandos. Instead he sent his elite choir. He deployed them ahead of his army. They were singing, “Give thanks to the Lord for His love endures forever.”
How did the king, the people and the soldiers confront those formidable enemies, the bad news and the dark prospect of imminent death, loss and end of a nation?
They made their eyes fixed on the Lord, their lips sing His praise and their hearts believe His love endures forever.
Such military strategy is unheard of.
But then the battle belongs to the Lord.
“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (II Chronicles 20:15).
Fast forward, the Lord set ambushes against the invading armies and they utterly killed and destroyed themselves.
The Lord turned what could have been a disastrous ending into a prosperous outcome for the people of Judah.
It took them 3 days to gather the valuable spoils they found because there was so much.
But it all began at II Chronicles 20:21 “Give thanks to the Lord for His love endures forever.”
Let’s step into 2021 in faith with this verse in our hearts.