You know as well as I that we are prone to having occasional problems. How you deal with them is the question. Many times it is with anger accompanied with a sense of exasperation. Sometimes we throw up our hands and give up. The failure to adequately resolve a problem often results in repetitive outbreaks of the same.
But, do you ever try to consistently deal with problems with the application of Biblical principles? The Bible is full of clues how to deal with problems with the most satisfactory results.
From one Biblical example, we read that Israel was confronted with an infrequent problem. For ten years during the reign of Asa, the fifth Judean king after David, they had no wars. But, an invading army eventually came on the scene, posing a serious problem. It is interesting how the Scripture clues us in on what they did before the problem occurred, when the problem occurred, and after the problem occurred. Consider:
Dealing with problems well often has to do with what we do before the problems come. What is seen is that they grounded themselves spiritually. They were living with God in mind and heart. They “sought the Lord God,” and they practiced faithfully “the law and commandment.”
In a word, they were deliberately turned to God before anything happened. They consistently built up spiritual stamina and accountability with God before any problem manifested itself. They were in established fellowship with God before they became invaded.
Before whatever problem arises, it is clearly important to be prepared and established spiritually prior to. All too often people only turn to God as problems occur. And, during those moments, spiritual resources and strength are too inadequate to handle the initial and continuing stress. Have you ever accused God of not caring about you and your circumstances when things happen? Well, it ain’t God’s fault (!), particularly when you have previously given Him your coldest shoulder. In so many terms, be in “good graces” with the Lord before you get hit with a problem.
Next, we see how Israel dealt with the problem when it came. First, they responded forthrightly by lining up in front of the problematic invaders. Israel “went out against them, and set the battle in array.” If you desire to eliminate a problem, trustful and honest confrontation is a starter. You cannot hide or shrink from it, hoping it will go away. Problems typically do not just go away. They take over and keep on taking over if we do not start by drawing the proverbial line in the sand.
They continued by turning to God for His help. After all, they had previously established a strong spiritual rapport with God. Furthermore, they prayed, and were specific in their request, “Lord, it is nothing with you to help, whether it is with many, or with those who have no power to help themselves. O Lord our God, help us, for we rest on you, and, in your name, we go against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God. Let not man prevail against you.”
What a prayer! That last statement reveals that they ultimately realized their problem was in reality an anti-God manifestation, from which we can take that the devil actually tries to trouble God through our problems. So, when problems come, let God handle it (!), “for the battle is not yours, but God’s,” the Scripture asserts. Give Him time to work things out. Get out of the way.
Another clue is found in the fact that they did not settle for anything less than completed victory. They were not satisfied with just a partial victory on the battlefield, but they pursued and prevailed completely. Sometimes we stop short of taking complete care of the problem. If we do, it will oh, most certainly, come back. Insist on completed victory.
Lastly, after the problem had come, they rededicated themselves to the Lord. God had done them so good that they expressed heart-felt thanksgiving by gladly renewing their association with Him. If God releases you from the grip of a problem, either get faithful or stay faithful to Him. Do not act the selfish ingrate by giving Him the cold shoulder. This is a full circle consideration, for we can be sure of one obvious fact — other problems will come, needing the application of Biblical principles for best results.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.