Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you. (Psalm 91:7)
Faith is stronger than anything else on the earth. With faith, believers endured all things and became victorious in all situations.
Abraham left his native country and his relatives and believed God’s promise, which was Abraham’s initial victory in faith. When Abraham followed God, he did not know where he was going, and he was seventy-five years old. His wife was barren, but he believed God’s promise to become a great nation. Abraham trusted God although it was impossible. This was Abraham’s great faith. God was extremely pleased with Abraham’s faith. God made Abraham the father of all believers of all nations on the earth.
However, Abraham was also just like us who are imperfect with full of flaws, wrongdoings, and even sins that hurt others and also ourselves. Abraham was traped in this pitfall. When the world hit him hard, his faith was shaken. Abraham decided to leave the promised land that God had given him. Why did he decide? A server famine came, and he could not feed his family. On the verge of starving to death, he chose to move down to Egypt while he was thinking that Egypt would provide all that he needed because Egypt was really looked good. However, it was not the case. Yes, he found food in Egypt, and feed his family. But suddenly fear fell on Abraham that Egyptians might kill him and took away his wife, Sarah, who was extremely beautiful. Out of fear, he made a lie and spread among the Egyptians that Sarah was his sister. As planned, this lie saved Abraham’s life, and Egyptians took Sarah and presented to Pharaoh, the Egyptian King in the palace. Pharaoh was pleased and gave Abraham many gifts—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. Abraham left the palace alone. He lost the most precious one in his life, his wife.
That night, Abraham prayed to God. God, who is full of mercy and compassion, heard Abraham’s prayer out of his broken and repenting heart. Then God intervened Pharaoh. God brought down terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarah. Pharaoh summoned Abraham and accused him sharply. Abraham could see Pharaoh, who was truly angry at Abraham due to his lie. This made Abraham extremely fearful of being punished by Pharaoh, the Egyptian King. The punishment could be as deadly as execution.
Abraham fled to Egypt from the promised land while expecting everything would be good in Egypt, but it turned out to be losing his wife, and it was about to lose his own life also. His lie worked temporarily. But, his cunning plot did not pan out as he wanted. Does this sound familiar? Our cunning plot to end our misery brings in dreadful consequences and more pains and put us in a deeper problem.
However, God of mercy saved Abraham from Pharaoh because God loved him. God did not allow Pharaoh to do anything to Abraham. Yes, Abraham was falling quickly, but God caught him with His mighty hand. Then God snatched out Abraham from Pharaoh’s hand. God made Pharoah safely send out Abraham and Sarah from Egypt. All were done by God out of His love for Abraham. Why did God so much love Abraham? The answer is as follows.
Have we as earthly parents abandoned our beloved children because our children did wrong to us and others? No. We always love our children whether they did wrong or not. Then how much so for God? God loves us more than any parents in reality.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. (Isaiah 49:15)
God loved and save Abraham from Pharaoh despite his sin against God and people. It was God’s mercy. Out of his journey through Egypt, Abraham learned who God was — God of mercy and love. God also continuously blessed Abraham as promised to Abraham. When Abraham went down to Egypt, he just wanted to survive with food in Egypt, but when he got out of Egypt, Abraham became rich with sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. Amazingly, all these riches were given by Pharaoh. That’s why we trust him and His faithfulness – never changing His holy character.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (James 1:17)
Thus, we have an assurance in Him and can trust Him in all circumstances.
Then why does God faithfully love us despite sins and wrongdoings? It is not so difficult to answer. Please see what earthly parents want from their children. All parents want their children to grow and be mature, and they are always patient with their children with love. Then as needed, they gently nudge their children to learn more about the world, and most of all, our love for them. God does exactly the same to us, His beloved children. God sometimes gives a slight nudge as needed. God nudged Abraham, and it was manifested as a conflict between Lot, his nephew, and him.
The conflict brought unbearable pain. Abraham and Lot had a long and trusting relationship. Abraham left his native country and his relatives, only Lot followed him. When Abraham suffered from the famine, Lot was with Abraham. When Abraham decided to go down to Egypt, Lot went down with Abraham. When Sarah, his wife, was taken away from him, Lot was with Abraham. Lot was there when he was trembling before Pharaoh due to his lie. Lot again went with Abraham when Abraham was sent away from Egypt. Lot stayed with him when Abraham returned and settled again in Canaan. For Abraham, Lot was his son whom he could trust always. Lot always stood right next to Abraham, and supported and encouraged Abraham all the years. It was a truly heartbreaking moment when Lot came and said that he would leave Abraham.
Abraham returned to God and prayed. His heart was really heavy. Throughout that night, Abraham prayed to God earnestly and authentically while putting out all his heart pains, and concerns while asking for God’s help and wisdom. Following morning, Abraham came to Lot, and he saw Lot in pain. Abraham comforted Lot with kind words, as God comforted Abraham over the night. Then Abraham offered his blessings as God blessed while he was struggling over the night. Abraham lovingly told Lot to choose the best first before him, although Abraham could have used the fertile land for himself. Lot who was still growing in faith chose the best. Then Lot got separated from Abraham and went away. As Lot was leaving, Abraham could not take off his eyes from Lot. He kept watching Lot getting smaller and smaller and disappearing over the horizon as Lot walked away from him to the fertile land. Abraham’s heart was with Lot, and Abraham loved Lot.
Abraham, then, built an altar and gave thanks to God by calling His name. He knew every blessing came from God, and God could take away anything and anytime as He pleased. He trusted God and His faithfulness. He learned in a hard way in Egypt that all things worked together for good, and he did not forget the lesson.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
Abraham won the victory by overcoming the earthly sadness, pain, and temptation in faith. He gave the best to his nephew and blessed his nephew leaving him. Abraham experienced God and His absolute faithfulness in all circumstances, and he reflected God’s character on his nephew Lot. Instead of being defeated as happened in Egypt, he prevailed in faith in Him. The earthly sorrow, pain, and temptation became thanksgiving in his mouth instead. Yes, Abraham proved his faith before God by making a truly faithful step in faith in God. Can we describe God’s joy on Abraham at the moment? Probably not, but the closest one that we can think of is the joy of parents when just witnessing their child who makes the first step by itself!
God always loved Abraham whether he was upright before Him or he sinned against God. And God equally loved Lot because Lot was also His beloved child. The fertile plains of the Jordan Vally looked well watered everywhere, like the garden of God or the beautiful land of Egypt. However, it was a land of conflict and war. Without knowing, Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against God. Lot should have had left the place, but he was attracted by the beauty of the land in his eyes.
Soon war broke out in the region. King Amraphel of Babylonia, a King Arioch of Ellasar, King Kedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim fought against King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (also called Zoar). Two groups of kings fought each other. The war continued for years. At the final battle, the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah defeated, and fled. Some fell into the tar pits in the Dead Sea area, while the rest escaped into the mountains.
The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies. They also captured Lot—Abraham’s nephew who lived in Sodom—and carried off everything he owned. Yes, this is the end of following the world and its beauty. When he moved into the fertile land, he thought that peace and prosperity along with a comfortable and easy life would come. But he became a captive. This Lot’s example gives a great warning to all who want to follow the world and its beauty.
One of Lot’s men escaped and came to Abraham. The Lot’s man told that Abraham’s nephew Lot had been captured by King Kedorlamer and his fearful army. He continued how mighty the Kedorlamer’s army was because he saw what happened to the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah along with their armies. All were utterly destroyed and fled. The Kedorlamer’s army was formidable and brought victory after victory to their king. As soon as Abraham heard all, he removed from the place and went to God. He felt that he was so minuscule compared to King Kedorlamer and his army. It was impossible to defeat the formidable army and King Kedorlamer by himself. He prayed and prayed for a long time. Then Abraham emerged out of his prayer room and summoned all of his people. People looked at Abraham, who was full of faith in God. Abraham confidently talked about his plan to rescue Lot, his nephew. He also explained that the opponent is king Kedorlamer with his formidable army who defeated both the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and their armies. This new mission to rescue Lot would be very risky and dangerous. However, the 318 trained men readily signed up.
Abraham with his 318 trained men together pursued the Kedorlaomer’s army, and Abraham caught up the Kedorlamer’s army at Dan. Abraham could see them with his own eyes. Yes, they were numerous and well equipped as told. Abraham prayed again to God for His wisdom. Then Abraham divided his men. Abraham waited till dark, and he initiated a surprise attack that night by making initiating battles on multiple fronts simultaneously from multiple directions. Although the Kedorlamer’s army was much stronger and numerous than that of Abraham, Abraham’s surprise attack of multiple fronts made them confused and put them in chaos. Abraham and his 318 men fought bravely, and soon the huge formidable Kedorlamer’s army in chaos started fleeing.
Abraham chased them and destroyed the Kedorlamer’s army as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abraham recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives. God was with Abraham, and Abraham won the battle that was impossible to win. The opponent was the most powerful king in the region, and the king’s army was most formidable, who conquered the entire region. However, when God was with Abraham, the mighty king and his army could not match with Abraham and the mere 318 men. The ratio between the Kedorlamer’s army and Abraham’s men could be easily 10s or even 100s, but Abraham won the battle. God was with Abraham, and God brought a huge victory to Abraham.
What can we learn from Abraham and his rescue mission? We should not fear and move forward in faith although it might look impossible. Always cling to God rather than putting ourselves ahead of God. Just hear God’s voice by prayer with a broken and repenting heart. One thing that we should remember is that God is always faithful. Surely we will meet various challenges in our lives, but we can be calm because God is with us. Nobody can harm us as long as we are in Him, and instead we will be victorious in Him.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
We’d like to to share about how to wisely respond to the current worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. First, except our own family living together, consider all others as a potential source of transmitting the Coronavirus because people who are asymptomatic (no symptom of Coronavirus at all) can carry and transmit the virus. Thus, please avoid a physical contact with others, and maintain distance about two meters (or six feet). This social distancing saves lives. Please wash hands with soap about 20 seconds to wash out the Coronavirus that might be on our hands. Our hand skin is pretty thick and it protects well against the Coronavirus, but our hands frequently touch our mouth, then the Coronavirus on our hands will go into our body. We should prevent this type of infection by our own hands.
Most of all, this is the time to have a quality time with one’s own family and with God, Our Ever-Loving Father with prayers, and reading and medicating Bible every day. Please fix eyes on Jesus, who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, and follow the foot step of Jesus Christ together with our own families in this difficult time. When this Coronavirus pandemic is over, we will all find that we are one step closer to each other among our own family members in Christ’s love and have a deeper relationship with God. Then we will go out and share this Good News with out neighbors and even strangers.
May God’s grace, protection, healing on all and especially for those who are physically suffering from the Coronavirus and those who are mourning for the loss of the loved ones due to the Coronavirus.