We are becoming more aware of the global misery of human trafficking. But awareness is only the beginning.
In my Facebook news feed, I see more “likes” for tragic stories about human trafficking but little engagement on strategic action to counter it. But both are needed. Knowing without acting is like faith without works—it’s incomplete.
2 Chronicles 20 provides a roadmap for how we move from the emotional response of awareness to the righteous response of action. Read verses 1-30 and then explore the study below.
vs. 2-4: As people become more aware of the doom before them, there is an uptick in emotion. But it doesn’t end there. The king calls for righteous action (v3b) and the people obey (v. 4).
Emotion can be thought of as energy in motion. When we feel emotion—whether it’s anger, fear, sadness, love, and joy—we usually react. We do something. We run or scream, cry or embrace, This type of action, however, is usually not strategic.
These few verses, and the ones that follow, help set a pattern. The first action is to turn towards God. In v.3, the King inquires of the Lord and then calls for a fast—an appropriate first action against any fear, problem, or injustice. But moving from emotion into action isn’t enough either. There also must be obedience.
vs. 5-13: First, there is an acknowledgment that God is the God of history and creation, and therefore is all-powerful (v. 6). God is a God of action as well as friendship (v.7). Because of this, the people respond with worship. They stand in God’s presence, they call out to the Lord because of the friendship, power, and commitment (v. 8,9). They ask God to intervene because there is disaster coming (10, 11).
The next verse is powerful: “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (v. 12). This is faith, trust, and hope.
Reflect for a moment on these passages. God is all-powerful, the creator, sustainer, and savior and he’s our friend. Let that sink in. God is our friend!
Our reality isn’t shaped by current events, but by the long sweep of history and creation, of which God has full control. In the chaos of our everyday lives, we need to keep in mind that God is not powerless. In times of uncertainty and difficulty, our best response is to say, “we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you, God.”
And we operate within the context of worship. We stand in God’s presence. We cry out. We lament, and sing, and celebrate.
vs. 14-15: God shows up (v.14) and declares that there is no need to fear. There is no need to panic. Then comes this declaration: “The battle is not yours, but God’s.” (v15)
Our human nature wants us to be in control. We take too much responsibility. But the battle isn’t ours. The battle is the Lord’s.
This doesn’t mean we sit passively by. It’s about our posture of partnering with God, knowing God is in full control.
The Set Free Movement doesn’t rescue slaves. Jesus is our savior. Only Jesus rescues and saves. Instead, we stand in God’s presence and turn our eyes to him and follow.
v. 16-19: There is another call to action (v.16) and another reassurance to not fear because the presence of the Lord will be with them (v.17). The response is to worship (v. 18) with some loud praise (19).
v. 20-22: God acts within the context of the people worshipping.
The best initial response to the scourge of human trafficking is not just awareness, emotion, and human effort, but worship. In worship, we acknowledge that God is above all things. Worship aligns us with the true reality of God working in history and creation.
Working to end human trafficking and create new futures can only effectively be done by following the One who can set the captives free. It’s not our battle. We can’t end human trafficking–but God can.
Centering on Jesus and allowing the Spirit to move us into action is why observing Freedom Sunday is so critically important.
On Freedom Sunday, we are guided by these principles:
• Our initial response is to turn to God acknowledging God’s power and friendship.
• We want to be more than emotionally-charged—we seek to partner with God in transformational action.
• We want more than reaction–we want Spirit-filled action.
• We want to see more than captives being set free–we want God to transform lives and communities.
• We know God is in control leading us into battle.
• We want worship to be a catalyst for action.