BE STRONG, AND DO IT Andy Hollifield 3-17-18
1 Chronicles 28:9-10 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever. (10) Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.
1 Chronicles 28:20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee,nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.
I ran across this scripture the other night and I didn’t even read the whole story but this phrase jumped out at me because of the simplicity of the instruction: “Be strong, and do it.” What encouraging advice from a father to his son and it applies to everyone for everything the Lord has for us to do: “Be strong, and do it.” that is two different instructions and the first is “Be strong.” When you are taking on a monumental task for the Lord, it is not just a good idea but a matter of survival to “Be strong.” I can’t lay claim to that as far as H.O.P.E. Ministries is concerned because I never set out to do anything but just go to Kentucky one weekend a month. God just kind of slipped that one to me a little at a time over the years. I don’t really know when it hit me but there came a point when I suddenly realized that it had long since outgrown me. I have always said that if God had of told me up front what he was going to allow our ministry to become, I would have probably ran like a scared rabbit. I have to admit though; it is definitely a wild ride when you just sit and watch God do things on a regular basis that you never dreamed of and realize that he has allowed you to be a part of it. It is a very humbling realization.
I do however remember a couple of times that God has given me those instructions: “Be strong and do it.” Not necessarily in those words but that was the gist of it. When God called me to preach, if I hadn’t of known better, I would have thought He had just made his first mistake. When I think of my faults and failures, I have often wondered if God has ever repented of the decision he made. Not “repented” in the sense of having sinned, because we know God has never sinned or made a mistake. But, I am talking about “repented” to the extent of being sorry or regretting like in Genesis 6:6 where it says, “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” I can still remember conversations I had at the time that I was running from the call. I wasn’t as tough as a lot of preachers, I didn’t make it but about 2-3 months on the run. When I did get assurance of it from the Lord, I immediately started trying to change his mind. I even went so far as to recommend three men in my church that I was sure would be far better than me. One was not scripturally qualified and one I think is still in church and the other one I am still sure would have been a far better choice than me. After probably getting weary with me trying to get out of it by recommending them, the Lord finally just said, “I am not calling them, I am calling you.” He gave some circumstances and answered prayer in a miraculous unexpected way that confirmed it in my soul. Still scared out of my mind, I knew what I had to do and he did promise to be with me and strengthen me. It didn’t take long before I faced some unexpected opposition that proved to me that I was going to have to be strong and rely upon God.
There were a lot of times that God demonstrated his power and helped me to be strong, but I encountered a situation after 18 years of preaching that I had never encountered before. I won’t go into a lot of details but it involved me having to sit and hear myself being ran down by people who didn’t even know me for about 2 hours. The good thing was that I had about 24 hours to pray about it and looking back, I am still convinced that I conducted myself just exactly as God wanted me to. That night after having been asked if I would like to speak my peace in my own defence, I calmly proceeded to do so. God gave me a boldness that night that I didn’t even realize I had and a calmness to the point that no one could find fault with how I conducted myself. That proved to be the hardest spiritual battle of my life. But, that night, as I left the place where I was, going down that driveway I felt the burden just lift off of me. The weight of the world was off of my shoulders and I knew that night that God had strengthened me and I just did what had to be done. A lot of people paid a price for my earlier disobedience in that matter, and I did later for several months, but God is still rich in mercy to those that call upon him and he sent me a Nathan and brought my sin to my attention. Just like David, when I repented he forgave and restored my joy.
I am at a point in my life now, and maybe it has to do with getting older, that I am more content with what the Lord has got for me to do than I have ever been. I don’t think that even as a young, single, preacher when I really had it made and wasn’t smart enough to know it, I was near as content and satisfied in the Lord as I am now. Many of you know about our next project with H.O.P.E. Ministries being to get the Gideon Home For Unwed Mothers up and running. Sometimes I just tremble at the thoughts of the cost and how big of a task that is going to be and how little I know about what I am doing. But then, I look back at nearly 32 years of ministry and some of the storms that God has brought me through and that great calm like in Mark 4:39 comes when Jesus says “Peace be still.” Immediately after that, “…The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” begins to flood my soul like a river. Don’t get me wrong; I am not always that calm but the Lord is always that present and he is always that calm. He’s not worried about me perishing because he saved me to go to the other side and I am not there yet and neither are you. We can’t perish when we are in him and he is in us. Besides that, we are in his hand and He is in the Father’s hand and “…No man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29). That right there is one of those written guarantees that are in his word.
Sometimes the will of the Lord in our lives seems far more than we can ever hope to do but God don’t leave us to do it alone. Just as David gave his son Solomon that great fatherly advice and told him that God would be with him, he will be with you and I. Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Just keep your trust in him and you will have that perfect peace no matter what God has for you to do. Just “Be strong, and do it.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!