David’s biggest battle was against fear. Sound familiar?

During our national time of quarantine, here’s a chance to let the land of the Bible teach you something new about some of the Bible’s most familiar passages.

For the next few days, we’re running a series of videos recorded in 2012 that feature Pastor Andy Cook’s teaching and great footage from Israel.

Today’s lesson (27:44) follows David into the Valley of Elah not once … but twice. His first giant – the one named Goliath – was an easy take-down. His next giant was a much bigger foe.

The “far country” isn’t as far away as we thought!

During our national time of quarantine, here’s a chance to let the land of the Bible teach you something new about some of the Bible’s most familiar passages.

For the next few days, we’re running a series of videos recorded in 2012 that feature Pastor Andy Cook’s teaching and great footage from Israel.

Today’s lesson (17:59) shows how close the “far country” of the pagan Decapolis was to everyone living in the Galilee. As Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal, his listeners may have been able to see the nearest city where a young man could squander his money!

Lesson One: All things work together for good!

During our national time of quarantine, here’s a chance to let the land of the Bible teach you something new about some of the Bible’s most familiar passages.

For the next few days, we’re running a series of videos recorded in 2012 that feature Pastor Andy Cook’s teaching and great footage from Israel. Today’s lesson is especially timely. The writer of Romans 8:28 spent two years in prison (think “quarantine”) in Caesarea.

What good could have possibly come out of that situation?

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Thank God we’ve got some new heroes fighting for us!

A medical team moves a patient in Tel Aviv earlier this week (Yossi Zamir photo).

One day toward the end of David’s life, troubling news came to Jerusalem.

King David had some pretty incredible men around him. The Bible even calls them, “David’s mighty men.” Their exploits usually dealt with military campaigns.

But one man’s accomplishments included an act of courage that is nearly impossible to imagine.

Benaiah “also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day.” (2 Samuel 23:20).

Now it’s possible you read that a little too quickly.

He killed a lion. In a pit. And it was snowing!

It was something like a bloody, to-the-death cage fight on a really slippery floor.

Praying like their decisions depend upon us

President Donald Trump at the White House. (Jonathan Ernst photo)

One day toward the end of David’s life, troubling news came to Jerusalem.

The seventh in a series of daily posts.

David’s son Absalom, the most popular young man in all of Israel, had been proclaimed king in Hebron.

A wave of support for Absalom had been building for months. With the decision in Hebron, a tsunami was unleashed. All of Jerusalem was stunned by the news. David seemed to be the only man able to comprehend what needed to happen next.

A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”

Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.” – 2 Samuel 15:13-14

David and his entire household left the palace, crossed the Kidron, climbed the Mount of Olives and made the long walk to Jericho as fast as they could move. There were 600 armed men with David, so close to 1,000 people were running for their lives.

Just the day before, they were living in luxurious normalcy.

Does that sound a bit familiar?

The crisis within the crisis: We’re losing touch

Reacting to the coronavirus pandemic, officials are forcing social distancing at the usually crowded Western Wall Plaza. (Mahmoud Illean photo)

I need a hug.

The coronavirus pandemic is killing thousands and making hundreds of thousands of people sick. It’s hitting billions of people in another painful way. It’s keeping us from social interaction.

The seventh in a series of daily posts.

Therefore, there are no hugs. No handshakes. No pats on the back. And for the most part, no gatherings.

That emergency run to the pharmacy or grocery store? Pay attention to the blue tape on the floor near the counter. It’s marking your six-foot perimeter. Over and over we’re told that we’ve got to be no closer than six feet apart.

Want to reach out to me as I reach out to you? The average arm length is 2.5 feet. Therefore, we’re still a foot short of touching in a six-feet-apart world.

The things that matter least

Normally, a Big East quarterfinal game would have filled Madison Square Garden. Officials played this tournament without fans in early March and then canceled the NCAA tournament and all other collegiate spring sporting events. (Sarah Stier photo)

Once, as Jesus was teaching, an unidentified voice shouted, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me!”

The seventh in a series of daily posts.

Jesus turned down the opportunity to settle the dispute, instead telling a story of a rich man who was totally focused on himself. “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years,” the man said to himself. “Take life easy! Eat, drink and be merry!”

“But God said to him, ‘You fool!’ This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (See Luke 12:13-20.)

With all the talk of pandemic and death swirling around us, have you noticed how quickly we’ve forgotten the things that don’t matter?

History will record how we faced this crisis today

Movie theaters across America have closed indefinitely. Millions of Americans are finding themselves suddenly out of work or working from home.

Fifty years from now, our grandchildren are going to talk about this week. They’ll tell their own grandchildren about the time when the world shut down, and how difficult it was to do without March Madness, school and toilet paper.

The sixth in a series of daily posts.

Older adults will remember how an invisible enemy brought the world’s economy to a crashing halt. Maybe we’ll remember how it humbled world leaders, brought a temporary end to war and left us hiding from our neighbors in fear a single sneeze could leave us gasping for air two weeks later.

The history books will surely speak of medicines and vaccines that brought an end to the crisis. Perhaps there will even be a sentence that begins, “In the course of time …”