Humans can survive 30 days without food, 15 days without water, 10 days without sleep, five minutes without oxygen – but Baptists were reminded that they cannot survive one instance without hope, by Reverend Dr. Tellis Chapman, Galilee Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan.
Chapman reminded them that they are in good hands, during the 87th session of the Bahamas National Missionary & Educational Convention (BBMEC) in its return after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
“Whatever it is you’re dealing with – my God will keep you in His hands. You will be up sometimes, you will be down sometimes, but it’s alright. You are in God’s hands [and] I’ve got a feeling everything is going to be alright,” said Chapman.
“Even though it does not look like the Lord is with you, God will get His glory,” said Chapman during the 87th session, under the theme “God Builds A Wall of Protection Around His Church”.
“It does not look like Moses was in the Lord’s hands … he was pushed by Pharaoh’s chariots against the lapping waves of the Red Sea – but God crossed him over on dry land and got His glory. It did not look like Joshua was in God’s hand when fighting the battle of Jericho, but God tore walls down and gave him the land and got His glory. It did not look like David was in the Lord’s hand when he faced a nine-foot giant, but the Lord took a slingshot and a rock, took the giant out, and got His glory. It did not look like Samson was in God’s hand, his eyes were gouged out, he really had no physical strength, but when God came upon him, he destroyed a Philistine people and God got His glory. It did not look like Paul and Silas were in God’s hand – at midnight in a Philippian jail, God set them free and got His glory. It did not look like Jesus was in God’s hand on a hilltop called Calvary – they put nails in his hands, a spike in his feet and a spear in his side – it did not look like Jesus was in God’s hands, when he dropped his head and died a natural death, but three days later, he got up with all power and God got His glory.”
Chapman said God’s people are in good hands, and that there is a reality that no one can avoid called adversity with interchangeable terms that convey the same meaning and the same message – trouble, trial, and the things that jerk their tears. Things that he said are precipitated by evil, xenophobia, crime, classicism, and sexism that has plagued the world to the extent that people reach for, look for, search for and long for – safety and security.
Chapman said it was these kinds of things that accounted for genocide in the Sudan, ethnic cleansing in Albania, ethnic cleansing in Nazi Germany, apartheid in South Africa, slave trade in the Caribbean and North and South America, Jim Crow, and many other things. Despite it all, he said the good news is that people are in good hands.
“I know that sounds rather sanctimonious, and it is somewhat perceived as a glorified statement, but against the backdrop of our reality, of a society that is sorted, spoiled, soiled, sophomoric, and satanically saturated, is another backdrop – we are in the hands of Almighty God.”
Chapman, who spoke at the convention, which closes out today, said he is inspired by that through the Prophet Zachariah whose role at that juncture in history was to encourage the former Babylonian exiles – those whose fathers disobeyed the Covenant of God and were exiled in Babylon.
“When that tenure of God’s wrath was at its point of expiration and the Jews returned to Jerusalem, they needed encouragement to not only build the temple, but to acquire a temperament of obedience to God – that God would wrap His arms of security around them, provide them with serenity and grant them success. We are no different in that we live in a world of turmoil and distress, plagued, infused, infected and infested. He referenced dictators who play with bombs like toys and dictators who take it upon themselves to try to just take country by force. And that people need inspiration that reminds us that they are in good hands.”
Chapman referenced hints in the penmanship of the writer of the Book of Zachariah who, through a series of visions, revealed how God cares for His own, one of which presented angels in dialogical exchange, concerning the people of Jerusalem.
“It revealed that God was concerned with the measurements, the dimension and destiny of the place that bore His name. There was an unnamed character in this scene – a man who was full of questions which typifies those of us of our age and era who are forever loaded with questions: When will God turn this thing around? The essence of the answer in God’s or the angel’s response by God’s answer through the angel – tell the young man that Israel will become a town … a city without walls, because it will become so full of inhabitants and animals, there’s no one that could contain them and I will be a wall of fire around them, and I will be the glory in it. No wonder the lyricist put pen to parchment and composed these lyrics, ‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. … In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. … When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Chapman said mankind has hope because they have the “precious promise” of the Creator who said He would build a wall of fire around Jerusalem and occupy it with prayers.
“You must have the audacity of hope and believe in what God said. If you wonder as to whether what God said will happen the way God said it – go back and see what happened when God said what He said the first time He ever said what He said.”
Referencing the narrative by Moses in Genesis, which begins with the words “And God said”, Chapman said when God said what He said, light went running at 186,000 miles per second; dry land appeared; the aquatic creatures of the deep began to swim; and four-legged beasts began to crawl on the Earth.
“When God said what He said, everything happened the way God said for it to be. And you gotta have hope in what He said, because what He said has to happen the way He said it. He said I’ll be with you always up until the end of the age. He said I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you. We gotta have hope in the Almighty God.”
He said help is available and accessible and that the Lord said He would build a wall of fire around Jerusalem. And that fire, particularly in days now antiquated, was used for one of three things, if not all three – purification, to burn things to clean it up; illumination to show things up; and for elimination. Thus, fire was used to burn things up, clean things up or show things up. This wall of fire that God promised to be around Jerusalem, was not to destroy Jerusalem, but to expose Jerusalem. If fire serves for the purpose illumination, He would defend Israel in one instance and expose Israel in another.”
Chapman said this holds true to today. He reminded Baptists that there are people who are trying and will endeavor to engage in systemic cleanse to dispense with them – but that God will handle their enemy and them in the same space.
“So, be not dismayed, whatever the time, God will take care of you. Beneath His wings of love, He will take care of you,” said Chapman.
“These hands not only provide us with unprecedented hope and unparalleled help, but it will also provide us with unlimited happiness. There comes a time in your life when life really happens, and it affects your tear ducts to the extent that you shed tears, but God said I will be the glory in the city. Jerusalem becomes the typification of your life, your community, your country, your congregation, and you. When nothing else could bring you joy, God has a way of filling your life, your city, your country, your congregation, your convention, and you with nothing but happiness. You are in good hands.”
The preacher told them that to them, it may sometimes seem that they are not in good hands, but he encouraged them to keep the faith and trust in God. He said God will provide unlimited happiness, and that the Bible says God will get His glory, either way.