Beloved JAMA Partners,
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!
As COVID-19 continues to affect the world, causing fear and hardship, I pray that you all experience the grace and protection of God, as well as the shalom (peace) of Christ.
This morning (March 15), my wife and I shared an intimate worship service in our home, as we were unable to gather at church. As the president declared this day to be the National Day of Prayer, we repented of our sins, repented on behalf of the nation, and prayerfully approached our Father as we meditated upon His Word.
My wife and I read 2 Chronicles 7:1-22. This is a part of Scripture that we know well, and 2 Chronicles 7:14 has served as a key verse for JAMA over the past 27 years. However, God has once again powerfully given me a fresh revelation for repentance through these verses.
When we examine 2 Chronicles 7:1-3, the Bible records the completion of Solomon’s temple and the people of Israel praying and worshipping while giving thanks to the LORD.
1 As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
2 And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD's house.
3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
This was indeed an incredible celebration. When all the people who gathered returned to their tents, we read that the LORD granted joyful hearts to the people of Israel for what God has done (Verse 10). The country was of one heart, prosperous and peaceful. King Solomon was happy and satisfied that the temple building project was successful.
However, the LORD appeared to Solomon (Verses 12-13):
12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.
13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people,
Wow! The LORD warns Solomon that it is to “my people,” not gentiles or to enemy nations, that he will send pestilence to kill.
However, God says that if His people would repent and turn back from their ways, He would afford them a renewed opportunity.
The LORD promises in Verse 14, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
And from that point, in Chapter 7:15-22, the LORD continues to reveal His promises and warnings to Solomon.
The LORD reveals to Solomon that if he, like David, submits and obeys to the LORD’s commands, He will establish the royal throne and fulfill His covenant promise with His people. However, the LORD continues to warn Solomon that if he turns aside and forsakes the statutes and commandments of the LORD, choosing to serve other gods and worship them, then the LORD will uproot Israel from His land and cast them out of His sight.
Verses 21 to 22 continue, “And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’
22 Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’”
Yet, despite the warnings from the LORD, Solomon chose to raise idols and serve them, although the LORD warned that His wrath would not be imparted upon Solomon but upon Solomon’s offspring. Nevertheless, Solomon did not repent.
Because of disobedience, the LORD divided the nation, resulting in 400 years of conflict between the north and south. As a result of this divide, a once thriving nation was subject to living in poverty and slavery.
As I was reading this passage, I began to reflect on what kind of warnings the LORD is revealing to us today, and how we ought to respond in order to discern what His purpose is for us.
In 1620, the pilgrims and puritans arrived in America, and for 400 years they experienced the abundant blessing of God in their lives. I firmly believe that these blessings were a result of their obedience and commitment to Scripture, Biblically-focused families, Gospel-centered churches, Scripture-based education, and Biblically driven workplaces. I believe these strong Christian foundations provided them with the wisdom they needed to endure hardships.
When we witness hardships and struggles in the midst of God’s people, when people repent and turn from their ways to re-align themselves with the LORD, He has never failed to protect and bless His people.
However, in the last 100 years (especially in the past 60 years), God’s people have failed to submit to the authority of Scripture, dismissing the Christian principles that the Puritans worked tirelessly to instill. Growing increasingly arrogant and proud, they have fallen into continuous cycles of sin. In His anger, God has given signs and warnings in various ways, yet the Church and His people have not awakened.
Though God has given America countless warnings against living prideful and disobedient lives against His will, we continue worshipping idols and living unrepentant lives.
We cannot deny our failure of being salt and light in this world. We have not transformed culture but have been influenced by the very powers that work against the Gospel. As countless organizations and anti-Christian groups work to influence our children, the time has come for us to repent for thinking lightly of God, being embarrassed to boast of Christ’s light, failing to acknowledge our sins, and our humiliating witness against Christ. It is true that we live in one of the most divided times our nation has seen – be it in culture or politics – and that these are extremely challenging times.
We will experience healing that only God can provide when Christians come before God in repentance, seeking His forgiveness. It is for this reason that through genuine repentance and prayer, the nation will become unified despite the challenging situations before us, as we seek to restore and bring revival to the nations.
America may boast in its economy, military, and countless other strengths above the rest of the world, but these will not save us against God’s wrath. How much are Americans and people around the world suffering because of COVID-19? The wrath that we read about in 2 Chronicles 7:13 is upon us.
However, God has taught us the ultimate solution and remedy.
In 2 Chronicles 7:13, we read, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people…”
To combat this pandemic, the president, government officials, and countless experts have spent a great deal of time and research to develop a solution. As responsible citizens, we must also do our part to contribute and submit to the orders given by these leaders.
However, the most important measure we can follow is to come before God in humility. We have been so arrogant and prideful. When we pray, He will impart His holiness and direct us toward Him, away from the paths of evil. However, He is calling us to repent. Then, as we read in 2 Chronicles 7:14, our merciful God will hear from heaven and forgive our sins, and bring healing to this land. He declares that He will wipe all iniquity and heal even the diseases of our flesh, washing them clean with the power of Christ’s blood.
Now is the time to pray with the heart of Daniel, which is revealed in the book of Daniel chapter 9.
We witness Daniel seeking God by praying and making pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes (Daniel 9:3) as he awaited 70 years of desolation to pass, as was promised to the prophet Jeremiah. Daniel repents for his sins, the sins of his kings, leaders, ancestors, and nations, for acting wickedly and rebelling, turning away from the commandments and rules of the LORD.
15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16 “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us.
17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.
18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.
19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
Let us cry out to the LORD as we dig into the innermost parts of our hearts. Let us repent for our sins, the sins of this country, the sins of our policy makers, and intercede on behalf of the people of this country. If we do so, our faithful Father will forgive us of our sins, have mercy on the current pandemic, restore America, and bring revival to the ends of the earth. I am confident that He will do so.
As we repent with all that we have and take ownership, may we pray that God would not only pour His spirit upon America but that He would bring great awakening and revival to the entire world. God allowed some people of Korea, a small country in the east, once dubbed the Land of Morning Calm, the Hermit Kingdom, to become proud Americans with Korean tradition, history, culture and blood. God has called us to pray, repent, and embrace America in our hearts. It would bring God great joy to hear our prayers of repentance and restore and revive America again. This is JAMA’s calling.
As times become even more challenging, the Apostle Paul writes, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand (Philippians 4:5).
At this time, all JAMA ministries have been suspended. As a campus with a missional purpose, conferences, church retreats, and various gatherings which were scheduled to take place have now been cancelled. These events and gatherings helped generate support for JAMA Global, but we now face challenges and difficulties.
As the world is experiencing the effects of COVID-19, we too are experiencing the stressors brought on by the virus. However, we continue to press on to fulfill the mission and purpose of JAMA and the JAMA Global Campus. If, during this time, you feel compelled and/or convicted to pray for JAMA and its ministries, we would greatly appreciate your support.
Our staff is currently working to develop plans during this state of emergency with program alternatives and developments for the future. Though this is a challenging time for us, it is one of the few times where having a small staff has been a relief. We are doing our best and working diligently.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:6-7
As we endure the unknown as a result of COVID-19, be it fear or concern, I pray that you would experience the comfort of the LORD through His Scriptures and that you would be victorious in faith as He continues to protect you. God says that He will be exalted.
I pray daily that the supernatural power and grace of God may continue to overflow in the lives of our ministry partners who continue to pray, love, and support JAMA Global.
I ask that you include JAMA Global Campus in your prayers for your families, workplaces, and churches to overcome this challenging season.
Press On! The LORD is with you.
With much gratitude and love,
John C. Kim