These days, military strength is soldiers, missiles, tanks, aircraft, ships, and bombs. In simpler Old Testament days, military might was chariots and horsemen. The Lord shattered Egypt by burying Pharaoh’s chariots and horsemen in the Red Sea (Ex 15:6, 19). The Syrian king sent “horses, and chariots, and a great host” to besiege the city and capture Elisha. The prophet knew that “they that be with us are more,” for the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire (2Ki 6:14-17). Earlier, Elisha had reckoned that, when Elijah departed, Israel’s chariot (singular) and horsemen likewise departed (2Ki 2:12). At Elisha’s deathbed, Joash lamented the imminent loss of Israel’s chariot and horsemen (2Ki 13:14). Israel’s might, her chariots and horsemen, were men who spoke for God and were in touch with God. The Philistines did not invade Israel all the days of Samuel’s ministry (1Sam 7:13). One such man lent more might to God’s people than thousands of chariots and horsemen.
Counting this month’s magazine, the twelve most recent issues of Truth and Tidings chronicle the passing of eight preachers, men who have spoken for God among assemblies in North America. No, they are not a clergy. Yes, others besides preachers speak for God. Nonetheless, these were men of spiritual influence. Since the compilation of the unofficial Address List in the June, 2004, magazine, almost 10% of the active workers in Canada and the USA are gone. Some went to heaven after years of service. Some were taken in their prime. Each loss leaves its unique sorrow for their dear families. In addition, these losses diminish the strength of the work of God on this continent. This is a serious loss of spiritual chariots and horsemen.
The Psalms express our burden: “Save, O Lord; for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of men” (12:1 ESV). “Return, we beseech Thee, . . . and visit this vine; and the vineyard which Thy right hand hath planted” (80:14, 15). We need help from our God! The work on this continent calls for persistent, focused prayer and for more believers who are in touch with God.
No one will replace these who have gone home to heaven, but will any fill the ranks they have vacated? Only a spiritual solution effectively resolves a spiritual problem. The Lord, before sending out laborers, said, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest” (Mat 9:38). Let all who are willing work diligently to reach souls, but let no one appoint himself to full-time service! Let those thus busy in service, burdened with the need, and bowed in the thrice-holy presence of God, learn their brokenness and cry, “Woe is me!” These may hear the beating of the heart of the Almighty asking, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” At that point, their only possible response will be, “Here am I; send me.”