Do you ever just want to run and hide? Do you have trouble focusing on the task at hand? 2020 seems like the year for hiding and running, except we have to do so at home. It’s hard to stay on task and do the job we’re supposed to do with all that is happening in the world right now.
Despair is one of the side effects of living with catastrophe after catastrophe. Feelings of inadequacy. Feeling that anything you do is pointless in the face of the adversity. Feeling that it’s better to eat, sleep, and binge television shows in the downward spiral we are in right now.
In I Chronicles chapter 21, Satan tempts King David to number the people. David sends Joab to get a count of the men, but after the census is done, God shows His displeasure.
“And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel.” 1 Chronicles 21:7 (NKJV)
David is humbled and begs forgiveness, so God gave him three choices as punishment: three years of famine, three months of defeat at the hand of their foes, or a plague with the angel of the Lord bringing destruction throughout Israel. David chose the plague.
“And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 1 Chronicles 21:13 (NKJV)
Seventy thousand men of Israel died in the plague. But, David chose correctly, because God looked and restrained the angel of the Lord. David saw the angel of the Lord with his sword pointed at Jerusalem and he and his elders fell on their faces before God and begged for the people’s lives. God heard them and stopped the plague.
“Therefore, the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David that David should go and erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” 1 Chronicles 21:18 (NKJV)
Here’s the interesting thing. The country has been hit with a horrible plague. They have far fewer people than we have in the United States, so seventy thousand deaths would be a good percentage of the populace. Fear must have been rampant in Israel. How do we know that? Because when Ornan saw the angel of the Lord, Ornan’s sons fled in fear. And, what is Ornan doing? What is his reaction?
“Now Ornan turned and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves, but Ornan continued threshing wheat.” 1 Chronicles 21:20 (NKJV)
Ornan continued with the job he’d been given to do. He was doing the work God assigned him to do. Not running and hiding in fear. Not spreading fear. Not wailing about what was happening to his fellow Israelites or could happen to him. He was doing his work. He stayed on task despite the plague and uncertainty.
Ornan ended up selling the threshing floor, his oxen, the implement, and the grain to David for the sacrifice to God. (He wanted to give them to David, but David insisted on paying him.) Ornan worked and he gave to God. What a testament to what we are to do.
When we are tempted to give up, to stop what we are called to do and say it isn’t worth it, we should think of Ornan’s example. We must continue to do the work God has given us and not listen to the whispers that tell us we are unworthy. Or the whispers that say what we’re doing is useless. Or the whispers that strike fear within us.
If God has called us to do a work, no matter what, then we must continue on. We must be faithful to Him.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV)