KEEPING THE FOCUS
We are in a time of national crisis as our country and many of our neighbors in the Caribbean have been devastated by the effects of three of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the United States and its territories. Relief efforts are continuing and rebuilding will begin. Thousands of lives and hundreds of churches have been affected. This will have impact upon all of us in the days ahead financially. With that said, this can also be a time for spiritual revival as we look to the Lord God for His power and strength.
Certainly, we also recognize that we are in a time of national distress and division. There are two disparate Americas, if one listens to the news media. Politicians go to Washington with great promise; yet even the godliest become highly frustrated at the deadlock and division that is found there. This national political division has affected us even within the fellowship of our Southern Baptist Convention.
If there was ever a day that we need the word from God recorded in 2 Samuel 22, it is now. David the king went through a very difficult time prior to his coronation. It was a period of national as well as personal crisis for him. Here is the worship song he offered to the Lord in the midst of his distress (2 Samuel 22:1-7, CSB).
1 David spoke the words of this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies and from the grasp of Saul.
2 He said: The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
3 my God, my rock where I seek refuge. My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior, You save me from violence.
4 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.
5 For the waves of death engulfed me; the torrents of destruction terrified me.
6 The ropes of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
7 I called to the Lord in my distress; I called to my God. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry for help reached His ears.
DAVID KNEW WHERE HIS STABILITY WAS TO BE FOUND (verses 2 and 3)
David knew that the Lord was his rock. In unstable times, our minds wander and our doubts explode. We blame others for the problems of life. Instead of doing this, David pointed to his place of stability—in the Lord. With all of the problems David had, have you ever wondered how, later, God would say about him, that he was a “man after my own heart”?
David had an unshakeable belief in the power and stabilizing influence found in his relationship with the Lord. We must continue to remember where our true source of strength and stability is.
DAVID KEPT HIS FOCUS SINGULAR (verses 4 and 7)
What did David do in his time of personal and national crisis? He called on the Lord. It is so easy to get distracted. Hurricanes of theological, methodological, and ecclesiological differences seek to distract us. Differences and arguments about how we do our work, as well as the work itself that we choose to prioritize, continue to divert us. However, we must keep our focus singular, as did David.
Many will remember hearing about the ill-fated mission of Apollo 13 in April of 1970. On day six of their mission, the astronauts needed to make a critical course correction. If they failed, they might never return to earth.
To conserve power, the onboard computer that steered the craft had been shut down. Yet, the astronauts needed to conduct a thirty-nine-second burn of the main engines. How were they to steer?
Astronaut Jim Lovell determined that if they could keep a fixed point in space in view through their tiny window, they could steer the craft manually. That focal point turned out to be their destination—earth.
As shown grippingly in the 1995 hit movie Apollo 13, for thirty-nine agonizing seconds, Lovell focused on keeping the earth in view. By not losing sight of that reference point, the three astronauts avoided disaster and returned safely to earth.
My Southern Baptist family and friends, we must keep our focus singular and call on our people continually to find their stability in Christ, the only One who can truly help us in our time of need.
*This post is excerpted from my sermon during the Fall SBC Executive Committee meeting, September 18, 2017.