By JIm Dunham
There are several things God wants us to learn or recall during any time of individual, family, church or national crisis. The latest health pandemic followed by economic upheaval followed by racial unrest is but one example. Confusion is possibly the first on that list. No one really knows what happened, why it happened, what can be done to solve the problem and if we have enough time and resources to solve it. Basically, confusion is defined as a lack of understanding and uncertainty. It can lead to panic and the breakdown of order.
We were told in the beginning of our current pandemic that masks were useless and of no value. Later you couldn’t go out without one. We were told that the summer heat would slow it down and possibly eradicate it. As of this writing, numbers are up. The experts are guessing.
On a spiritual level the church at Corinth was chaotic when Paul wrote his first epistle. There was division (3:4), pride and immorality (5:1-2 and 6:12ff), unrighteous lawsuits (6:1-2) and much more. They couldn’t even keep order during the church service in reference to the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Chapters 12-14). Yet in the midst of all of this disorder the Holy Spirit through Paul says, “For God is not a god of confusion but of peace.” Confusion and disorder is not from God; at least not if the church and every member in it are in fellowship with Him. He is our God of peace even in the middle of WWII, health and relationship issues, and the pandemic. He is even the God of peace to His children in Congress.
But to those who rebel against Him, those who refuse to live by His standards, those who are ignorant (without knowledge) of His ways, it can and often is a different story.
King Saul, his son Jonathan, and the army were fighting against Philistia. First Samuel 14:20b says, “And behold, every Philistine’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion.” IE: They killed each other! “The LORD saved Israel that day”(1 Samuel 14:23a).
Second Kings Chapter 7 has a fascinating story of Syria having Jerusalem under siege. Four lepers found themselves in a desperate situation. They deducted two alternatives. Go back into town and starve to death or attempt to go to the enemy and hope for mercy. They said, “If they kill us we’re dead already.” To their amazement “the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives.” I call that chaos and confusion.
Verse 8 continues, “And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing” (2 Kings 7:6-8 abridged). I call that confusion.
Consider what God did at the tower of Babel where the Lord confused the rebels with language barriers. We haven’t come close to translating the Bible into all of those languages five thousand years later.
In James 3:16-18 (recommend you read the whole section) God gives us a choice. Verse 16 says “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” That is one choice. Verses 17 and 18 give the other. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
My choice is Joshua 24:15b, “But as for me and my house (family), we will serve the LORD.”