HOPE CHAPEL - Sunday, November 7, 2021
Teaching Series - “Our Family Tree–Through the Bible in 2021"
Weekly Topic - “Actions That Follow Remembering” – IDOP & Remembrance Day
Texts – 2 Chronicles 34-35, 2 Kings 20-23, Romans 12, Hebrews 13:3, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6-7
“Never Forget” – Gary LeVox ft. Jonathan McReynolds
God gave the Israelites some interesting commands, one of which may seem particularly strange to us if we don’t read God’s purpose for it —the addition of four tassels of blue to the bottom of their garments. God knew that the people would need a daily, moment by moment reminder of whose they were and to whom they owed their allegiance.
It is good to remember—remembering good things can keep us encouraged; remembering God’s help in difficult times can help us hang onto hope for the future in the midst of difficulty. This week we will also take some moments to commemorate Remembrance Day, which is right and good for us to do. However, we should never forget the fact that remembering the past does not automatically prevent us from repeating mistakes. Just as remembering can produce hope in one person, it can produce bitterness in another. While one might be encouraged to give thanks when remembering, another may become overwhelmed with the desire for revenge. Remembering can both induce us to do good or evil. Today, we’re going to consider some of the actions that follow remembering…both commendable and some that fall short.
“ACTIONS THAT FOLLOW REMEMBERING – VENGEANCE”
Romans 12:19 – ‘Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.’
Vengeance in the hands of humans never produces good results. Why not? Genesis 8:21 provides us with a clue from God’s perspective. After the flood, Noah made a sacrifice to God and God was pleased. He promised never to replicate the flood despite knowing we would soon mess it all up again; ‘And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things.” And our history is full of moments when humanity has proven Him right and chosen not to wait upon God to exact His vengeance, and in the act of exacting our own have made matters so much worse.
This week, we will all have an opportunity to observe a moment of silence to commemorate Remembrance Day and the many lives that have been lost in the World Wars. Remembrance Day began after WWI—the war which was to be the war that ended all wars. And it might have had more of a chance of doing so except for the exacting of punishment by the winning side upon the defeated Germans. By the time Germany invaded Poland in 1939—the event that would cause Great Britain and France to once again declare war against Germany—the punitive measures taken against Germany following WW1 had left them vulnerable to Hitler’s propaganda. “…The invasion was preceded by decades of political conflict. The Treaty of Versailles, signed at the end of WW1, placed some very harsh restrictions on Germany, which created a feeling of resentment among the Germans. Due to the financial depression of the 1920’s, Germany simply did not have the funds to pay the reparation fees demanded by the treaty.” The desire for revenge by ‘the good guys’ was most definitely a contributing factor that landed them in another war that would envelop much of the globe in another epic struggle that lasted five years and cost millions of lives, both military and civilian—estimated at 63.5 million people in total, roughly 3% of the world’s population in 1939.
What might have happened if the ‘enemy’ had been met with a greater amount of compassion at the end of WW1 in 1919? We’ll never know. There will always be ‘Hitlers’ looking to assume power…but I think, there will not always be the level of support by others to make their dreams come true. Forgiveness will always provide greater positive results than exacted revenge ever can.
Rather than leading us to seek vengeance, God’s desire is that remembering will cause us to consider the part we are called to fill in order to see His goodness restored. Let’s now turn our focus to King Josiah, Judah’s last great king.
“ACTIONS THAT FOLLOW REMEMBERING - CORRECTION”
2 Chronicles 34:1-3,8,33 – “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.
3 During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young [at the age of 16], Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David. Then in the twelfth year [at the age of 20] he began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images…
8 In the eighteenth year of his reign [at the age of 26], after he had purified the land and the Temple, Josiah appointed Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, the royal historian, to repair the Temple of the Lord his God…
33 So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the Lord their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the Lord, the God of their ancestors.”
Under Josiah’s rule, the nation of Judah was set firmly back onto a corrected course—obedient to God, the land purified, and the Temple restored. What caused Josiah to turn to the Lord the way he did? His grandfather, Manasseh, who reigned as a king of Judah for 55 years, had done more evil than all the previous kings of Judah, despite the fact that his father, Josiah’s great-grandfather King Hezekiah, had been a good king and obeyed God. Josiah’s own father was also a disappointment to God and ruled for a short two years before being assassinated. The Bible doesn’t tell us why Josiah began to turn to the Lord at the age of sixteen, but I wonder if he didn’t have a little help from priests, older advisors and even his mother, who could recall the times of God’s favour during the reign of his great grandfather, Hezekiah.
The stories they shared with Josiah, their remembrances, led him to seek God and four short years later he had set himself the task of purifying the land and bringing the nation back into a place of faithful obedience to the One true God. The scroll found in the Temple had outlined the punishments that awaited the nation for their disobedience of God and the prophet Huldah had confirmed the message, but King Josiah’s reforms—the actions that he had taken as a result of being reminded of whose they were and how they should live—bought the nation some time.
But it wasn’t too last. Within 25 short years of being killed by Pharaoh Neco in battle, Josiah’s reforms would all but be forgotten and the people of Judah would be taken captive by the brutal Babylonian nation from the north…just as the found scroll and the prophet Huldah had predicted. But that’s another story for next week…
However, there is one more action that should result from us remembering that I wish to highlight today…not events of the past, but of our current connection with the global family of God. Today is designated International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) and we too are called to remember…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcIpDz4UCzw (Rome Reports – Report on Open Doors)
Will our ‘remembering’ produce God’s required response? How should we respond to such a huge problem found throughout our world?
“ACTIONS THAT FOLLOW REMEMBERING - COMPASSION”
Hebrews 13:3 – 23 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.
If it was you, who was in prison or being mistreated, how would you wish for others to act? We are not provided the option to turn a blind eye—pleading ignorance at the judgment seat of Christ will not let us off the hook for the good things we should have done, but chose not to.
Ephesians 6:18 - 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Even when we cannot physically support other believers who are being mistreated in-person, we can still do the one thing that can bring about miraculous intervention of their behalf—pray! But not just pray…we are also called to act in every way that is open to us on the behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ. God does not want us to tackle every societal problem because we cannot, but neither does He want us to throw up our hands in despair. Stay alert…be persistent in your prayers…do the good things that are available to do to support those who face persecution because of their belief in Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 - 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Pray the promises of God…for peace that transcends all understanding…into the lives of our spiritual brothers and sisters who face persecution so that their faith will remain strong amidst intense opposition.
To put this in perspective for us here in Canada, where we do not face full-scale persecution for our faith, I wanted to share an article I recently read in the Voice of the Martyrs weekly prayer bulletin about an incident that happened in India …
INDIA: Violent Attack During Worship Service
Sources: Indian Express, Hindustan Times
A frenzied mob of more than 200 people burst into a worship service on Sunday, October 3rd, and began beating Christians, vandalizing the building, and looting items belonging to the church. The violent incident happened in Roorkee, a city located in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand.
Two women sustained injuries in the attack, one of whom was taken to hospital in critical condition. The attackers alleged that the Christians were involved in religious conversion activities. According to Pastor Priyo Sadhna Porter, many of those involved in the violence were known members of Bajrang Dal, a militant Hindu nationalist youth organization. Some of the militants had previously demanded that the church be shut down. When approached about the attack, a local spokesperson of the BJP political party condemned the incident but then later justified the mob's actions by saying that "residents of the locality have been cautioning against religious conversions."
Based on a complaint from the pastor, a police report has been filed against some of the leaders of the militant organizations, as well as 200 individuals whose names were not publicized…
[We are asked to] lift up to the Lord in prayer those who were wounded in this additional recent attack, asking Him to fully heal them of their injuries. Also prayerfully intercede for the ongoing ministry of this church as it continues to serve God and others in the midst of strong opposition. May He fill these believers with strength and courage as they remain beacons of the light and love of Christ among their opposing community. Pray that those responsible for this attack will be brought to justice and, of even greater importance, that they will realize the error of their ways, repent and accept Jesus as their personal Saviour and Lord.
What would we do if, all of a sudden, an angry mob stormed into our church building or one of our homes simply because they did not share our belief in God? Would we not want the support of the Christian community? Would we not want them to pray earnestly for us? Would we not expect them to help us in any way possible?
Incidents of Christians being persecuted around the world—in India, Afghanistan, North Korea, Mexico, Sudan…the list seems never-ending—remind us of the battle we are all in. A war that Satan is waging against God and all those who have chosen to side with Him. And in this war, we need to remember who has already been declared the victor—Jesus! But as we’ve seen today…whether global conflicts between nations, the goodness of God to those who live in obedience to Him, the persecution faced by those who remain faithful or the conclusive work of God in the death and resurrection of His Son to provide for our forgiveness and renewed relationship…our remembering should prompt us to action.
Remembering comes with an expectation…that we will act with God’s love and compassion, that we stand up for justice and for all those being mistreated (Christian or not), that we will respond as directed by God and not simply as a knee jerk reaction that stems from a desire for revenge and that we will hang onto the sure hope of seeing God face to face someday as one of His children.
For further study…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_OlRWGLdnw (The Bible Project – Sacrifice and Atonement)
https://www.historyonthenet.com/world-war-2-facts (History on the Net – WW2 Facts)
Sunday, November 14, 2021- “God’s Unfaithful Spouse”- In-person and Online
Pastor Jane Peck, Hope Chapel
(Collingwood EMCC Church)
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!