“Preach the word in season, out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2)
By Sam Nadler
This period of time would certainly seem to be “out of season.” And with everyone hunkered down, self-quarantined and social distancing, one may wonder how in the world do I “preach the word” at all! PTL for technology, both social media and the internet in general. I’ll be teaching on Shabbat mornings for the foreseeable future via “live stream” (www.hopeofisrael.info), but, I’m also on YouTube, Facebook, etc. and so are you.
1) Be encouraging: On FB etc, encourage others with sure promises of God, for He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:9; Hebrews 13:5). He is with you in your house, at work, at the supermarket and in the hospital. Yes, you may have an “unprayed for” hospital ministry, just like the apostle, Paul. Galatia was not on his agenda, but it was on God’s heart. So, we read, “It was because of bodily affliction that I preached the Good News to you in the beginning” (Gal 4:13). If the Lord has you go to a hospital, you will interact with people you would not meet otherwise – people who are on God’s heart, if not on your agenda.
2) Be hopeful: For “it may be Friday now, but Sunday is coming!” Covid-19 will eventually be gone in a month or three, and we will all go back to near normal. Even more so, Yeshua is “our Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:14). This is vital, for in the world there will always be problems and tribulations, but be of good cheer, for Yeshua has “overcome the world” (John 16:33). And one day, for all who trust in Yeshua, we will be with Him forever! This is our eternal hope, based on God’s sure promises (Psalm 73:23-25; John 14:2-3, 1 Thes 4:13-18; 5:9, etc).
3) Be forgiving: many people respond poorly to a crisis and can be short-tempered, self-serving (did you see the run on toilet paper), and overreactive. Give grace. How? Remember the death of Messiah paid for all our sins, not only those that you committed against God, but those that were committed against you. On the basis of Messiah’s sacrifice, be forgiven and be forgiving. This will forever free you from resentment, anger and unkindness toward others. “But,” you may fear, “Won’t my forgiving them reinforce their bad behavior?” No! Though you forgive, it doesn’t mean you accept their bad behavior as part of a relationship. Not at all. There is only reconciliation when they apologize to you (after repenting before God).
4) Be prayerful: when tempted to be anxious, “cast all your anxieties on the Lord, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He can handle all your concerns, fears and worries. And while you’re at it, “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps 122:6; Romans 10:1). The enemy will try to tempt you to be self-consumed, but “submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). There’s nothing more that the enemy wants than for you to lean on your own (non-existent) resources – but you need the Lord.
a. Submit to God: yield to the Holy Spirit, trusting wholly in Yeshua, and pray as He has called us to pray, as well as preach, “to the Jew first.” When you submit to God, you are now depending on Yeshua and not on yourself. This empowers you to:
b.“Resist the devil,” which you cannot do in your own strength. This is the victory as you then obey God, resisting the devil’s temptations to just care about yourself, and pray for “the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matt 10:6). This is why “he will flee from you” – he’ll look for someone unsubmitted to God to tempt. Now, preaching and prayer may be “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16), but not to the Jew only! Pray for all people, nations and our leaders (1 Tim 2:1-2). He still loves the world, and now that you’re submitted to God, Messiah’s love will govern your heart for all people (2 Corinthians 5:14).
5) Be praising: for what? For who He is, for “Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb 13:8). So, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). Our God is greater than all – all the giants, all the illnesses, and all the trials of life. He is a great, mighty, all loving and all forgiving God. Praise the Lord! And praise Him again! And again!
“In season, out of season” yes, our occasions may change, but our cause never will – we are always to glorify God, share His Good News and pray for all people, even “to the Jew first!”