CRUMBLING IN CHAOS by Paul Hooper

I want to start by asking you a question that has been on my heart for some time.
When the world around us seems to be crumbling in chaos, how does God want His children to respond?
Let’s spend some time in the scriptures discovering answers to this question starting with 2 Chronicles 7:10-22.
Leading up to 2 Chronicles 7, chapters 1-6 tells of Solomon requesting wisdom and his military and economic power, his preparations to build the temple, the building of the temple, the furnishing of the temple, including the Ark being brought into the temple, all of which culminates with Solomon’s speech upon completion of the work and his prayer of dedication.
After the eight day celebration of the dedication, Solomon also led the people in celebrating the Festival of Tabernacles (or ingathering) for seven days, which commemorated how God had brought his people out of Egypt in Leviticus 23:33-44.
Verse 14 of 2 Chronicles 7 serves as a guiding statement — “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” This verse would apply, not only to the people as a whole, but to individual kings such as Manasseh. Might it apply to us today?
Micah 6:8 tells us – “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you: but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
James 4:7-12 gives further insight – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
God’s people cannot appropriately confront sin in other people’s lives if they have not done so in their own. Jesus speaks to this issue in Matthew 7:1-6, which brings us back to the question we started with…
When the world around us seems to be crumbling in chaos, how does God want His children to respond?
I would suggest God gives us three instructions.
1. Humbly look inward before looking outward. We can easily say that the problem in our culture is Hollywood or the media or something else, but revival does not start in the culture; it starts in the church. It starts in the hearts of God’s people.
2. Kneel down before standing up. Every documented revival in the history of the world started with one or two people who prayed that God would change their world. It has been said, “If the church is to advance, it will advance on its knees.”
3. Seek God before seeking solutions. As the people of God, we should make a declaration of dependence on God. What would happen in our world today if this generation chose to be God-centred rather than self-centred?
Each of these instructions is something that should be done before Christians ever speak a word to anyone else. Before we confront the culture, we must humbly look inward, kneel down, seek God and confess our sins.
So where do we go from here…no matter where here is?
How might we put our faith into action?
1. Consider fasting – take a break from media in all its forms, turning our attention toward forgiveness, healing, discipleship and renewal at the more intimate and communal level (first in the home).
2. Led by the Holy Spirit, invoke the power of the table. Invite family, friends, neighbors and coworkers (all of whom may see things differently than us) to sit down and break bread together. Create space to fellowship, listen one to another, and learn to find the nuance in individuals.
3. Begin to discover the “Imago Dei” in people. They are made in the image of a star-breathing God…just like you. Ask Him to help us see people as He does.
4. Learn to listen to better understand, rather than listening in order to respond and then prove our points. Sweeping generalizations are literally destroying the fabric of our societies.
5. Stop judging others…leave that to the only One capable…our Father!
6. Keep inviting. Keep setting the table. Keep a chair empty and ready. It may take some time, but they will come.
7. Pray! Pray! Repent! Pray some more!

(1) Adapted from commentary by Dr. David Jeremiah
(2) Adapted from the musings of Pastor Tim Woodcock

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