August 22

2 Chronicles 32-34, Psalm 80

There is and will be a continuous fight for the souls of mankind between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Light and darkness can't co-exist. In every society, though the struggle continues, light or dark will take the forefront. Last year, Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie has been forced to take down his billboards depicting him holding a Bible in his right hand advertising his upcoming "Harvest" outreach. The ads had been posted at a popular mall in Southern California for the event that was held last week. The ads provoked multiple complaints stating that the religious imagery (the Bible in his hand) posed a "serious threat". Though Greg Laurie agreed to alter the ad the company in charge decided instead to remove the ad completely. Greg Laurie responded to this turmoil by stating, "It's sad that our culture is at this degree of intolerance...There's such intolerance against Christianity that we aren't allowed to state that or to publicly advertise this event. That's amazing". Though many still like to refer to our nation as a "Christian" nation, most every move from the removal of the ten commandments from courthouses, to the removal of nativity scenes in public areas, to the removal and intolerance of Christianity from our school system has revealed just how "Christian" our nation is. Darkness is intolerant to the light, and our nation has largely become intolerant to Christianity.

As we go through the book of Kings and the book of Chronicles, we notice this revolving pattern on the part of the kings. There are times of light under kings who love God and times of darkness under kings who choose to serve pagan gods. Notice the strength in King Hezekiah, perhaps Judah's best king, as he is literally surrounded by the horde of the evil Assyrian Empire. Realize these Assyrian warriors were the original terrorists, well known for their acts of savagery to their victims. Encouraging the people inside the walls of Jerusalem, we read in 2 Chronicles 32:7-8, "Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles." And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah." Paul said in Romans 8:31, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" When little David faced off against the giant Goliath in the mismatch of the century, David realized the same thing as Hezekiah, as we read his words in 1 Samuel 17:45-46, "Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will take your head from you...". Another example of this is in 2 Kings 6:17, when the Syrian army surrounded the house of the prophet, Elisha, who was at complete peace because of the angelic army who surrounded the Syrians.

We are in the middle of evil times and are in a lifelong fight with the enemy. We can respond to this fight in one of two ways: either we can allow ourselves to be beaten into submission and cower before the seemingly relentless attack by the dark side or we can become emboldened realizing that as we read in 1 John 4:4, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." We say this, but do we believe it and act on it. When we see the side of evil claiming victory after victory in the public arena are we allowing ourselves to be intimidated and becoming closet Christians? May we never forget that only one-third of the angels fell, meaning the number of angels on God's side outnumber those fallen by a 2:1 ratio. So, when we feel like we are outmatched and outnumbered, remember the comforting words found in Hebrews 1:14, "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" So despite how things appear, God and those who stand for Him will always be victorious, on this side of eternity or in heaven. When we feel overwhelmed, surrounded by the loud voices of the opposing side, may we remember Paul's words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster