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.

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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 …”

In all things, Scripture comes first.

This Israeli highway would normally see heavy traffic. But the scene on Friday looked more like Yom Kippur, when the entire nation comes to a stop. (Ahmad Gharabli photo)

Welcome to the most unusual Sunday in American history.

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The doors of our churches are shut. With very few exceptions, no one will attend Bible study groups, sing the familiar songs of worship or listen to a pastor’s sermon in person.

Even so, millions of people will connect with their church or another local ministry via the Internet.  Thank God new technology has made virtual church attendance possible while the COVID-19 pandemic keeps us home!

So here’s a good question for people who love God: Why not just meet together despite the warnings and “trust God” to protect us? Doesn’t that at least sound like something we should be doing?

In a fight against a giant? Use the brain God gave you!

Workers in Israel prepare to greet Israeli citizens diagnosed with the coronavirus. (Avshalom Sassoni photo)

The battle between David and Goliath is one of the most famous in world history. The idea of a boy defeating a giant with a sling and a stone is so far-fetched, we’ve simply never forgotten the day David pulled off the upset.

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But have you ever considered the thought that it might not have been an upset at all?

In a short time, our world will return to normal, though it’ll be a “new normal.” Our “Goliath” will be a virus that has killed thousands and will probably sicken millions before it completes its run through humanity.

Maybe it would be good to consider why David thought the odds were overwhelmingly on his side as he raced toward his giant in the Elah Valley.

When God calls us to walk difficult roads, rest assured … He’ll also provide all that you need for the journey!

More than ever, it’s important to stay positive!

David was so famous, we’re still naming our children after him. He was so well known, Jesus talked about him. His name appears more than 900 times in the Bible, making him second only to Jesus!

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But in the beginning, David wasn’t famous at all. In fact, he was nearly invisible to his own family!

That’s one of the downsides, perhaps, of being a shepherd.

A shepherd in David’s time could spend entire days without seeing another person. You think social distancing is a new idea? The concept may have been born in a shepherd’s field!

David the future king started out as a prisoner in wide open spaces.

So how did David go from zero to hero? How did he overcome unimaginable odds to become Israel’s greatest king in history? One of his strongest attributes was his positive attitude. That same positive attitude is critically important to all of us now as we battle a pandemic.