17 Mar Pastors’ Update
Some thoughts about the Coronavirus situation.
This is a little longer than our usual updates but hopefully you find it helpful. I want us to look at what I think are the three main areas of focus at this time.
Firstly, the onset of panic that is causing people to stock-pile food and other of life’s essentials. These basics are unsurprisingly first in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid and not having them is a very real concern for many. I understand this completely.
Secondly, the essential need for each of us to maintain best practice in our day-to-day personal hygiene. That’s second in Maslow’s pyramid. Health, safety and well-being, that kind of thing. Also a priority.
And thirdly, the spiritual aspect to all of this. I’m a Christian so I’m keen to understand what God is saying and what God is doing at this time.
Whilst I know that for some it is unrealistic to be considering matters which would probably factor at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid – and which is obviously the whole rationale behind his hypothesis – I have nevertheless been seeking God about this matter.
The first two areas I’ve mentioned remain unquestionable factors in our response to the Coronavirus situation but let me share with you my thoughts regarding the spiritual aspect.
A couple of weeks back the global church assigned a day to pray and fast for God’s intervention to halt this sickness. We believe God led us to do this.
There have been various prophetic words from around the world suggesting that the end is in sight and even some timescales.
Christians around the world have been standing upon the truth of God’s word – particularly Psalm 91 – for Divine protection and intervention.
And yet, in spite of all that, the Coronavirus appears to be unstoppably sweeping the globe and therefore the focus is chiefly on mitigating its effects with regard to food and hygiene.
The thought being that we can’t stop it coming, so we simply need to prepare for the inevitable.
But as someone who has seen many significant answers to prayer over my Christian life I’m left feeling dissatisfied with not seeing God come through on this. Whilst it’s clear from the Bible that God hears the prayers of the righteous, he is also not deaf to the humble cries of unbelievers. Our entry into the kingdom of God when we cry, “Jesus save me!” is a case in point.
So we can have a confidence that God is listening. He is also speaking.
Amos 3:7 says this: ‘For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets’. Which is why various prophets are pitching in with what they believe God is saying.
Those of us who know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour can also all have the assurance that God will be communicating with us directly in some way or other. Which is one reason why, in response to my ‘how are you answering our prayers’ question, the Holy Spirit led me to Isaiah 59:19.
‘When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him’ is how the KJV translation renders it but there are other variations.
‘For He will come in like a narrow, rushing stream which the wind of the Lord drives.’ ESV
‘For He will come in like a narrow, rushing stream, which the breath of the Lord drives [overwhelming the enemy].’ Amp
‘For he will break in as a flooding, rushing river driven on by the breath of Yahweh!’ TPT
‘For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along.’ NIV
‘When come in as a flood doth an adversary, The Spirit of Jehovah hath raised an ensign against him.’ Young’s Literal Translation
I’ve also spend time looking at the original Hebrew of this passage and bringing all these renderings together, as far as I can see, the gist of this passage is that when the enemy seems to be prevailing, God himself will come to the rescue.
The rushing water would seem to represent the Divine agency, and the breath or wind is God who is the driving force behind it. Although water is often used in the Bible to symbolise the Holy Spirit, in this case it evidently isn’t. The Holy Spirit is represented by the wind or breath of God.
The only other Divine agency I’m aware of are angels who act in obedience to God and for the good of those who put their trust in God.
For example, in 2 Kings 6 we read how God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant to see the angelic host who were protecting Samaria from the Aramean army which was preparing to attack the city. When Elisha prayed to God the enemy was struck blind and they were delivered. Which begs the question, what were the angels doing if Elisha’s prayer saved the day?
Why did God allow Elisha’s servant to see the angels on the surrounding hillsides if they had no role to play? I can only conclude that they were the ones who implemented God’s response to Elisha’s prayer or there would appear to be no reason for the angels to be there.
Later, in 2 Kings 19 we have a similar kind of story, this time of the Assyrian army besieging Jerusalem during the reign of King Hezekiah. Long story, short. Hezekiah prayed to God and God answered by dispatching an angel to destroy 185,000 Assyrian soldiers.
It’s clear to me that God does hear the prayers of the righteous and such prayers are often answered by his angels.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says this:
‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’
I believe that on the basis of these biblical precedents, and the truth of God’s word elsewhere in the Bible, that God wants to intervene and deliver us from the unseen enemy of Coronavirus.
This should spur us to even greater lengths – like Elisha and Hezekiah – to humbly cry out to God to be rescued from this enemy and for his victory to be established by his angel messengers or by whatever means he chooses.
“Heavenly Father, I ask that you will not only sustain us and provide for us through this Coronavirus pandemic but that you will send your angels to deliver us from it and hasten its end.In the powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen”
With every blessing