On Eagle's Wings
(Articles From A Pastoral Perspective)
Exodus 19:4 (NASB)
'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself.
"Wise Navigation In The Approaching Storm"
The Word: Luke 21:26 (NASB)
men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Matthew 24:6 (NASB)
“…See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.”
Revelation 6:8 (NASB)
I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
Enough questions have come my way concerning the coronavirus disease (COVID 19) and its broad impact, it seems to be the time to share my pastoral perspective. Before proceeding, please grasp this preamble:
“With this article I do not wish to abuse spiritual authority by somehow controlling your private decisions. Those decisions are your convictions between you and the Lord and I deeply respect that territory. Therefore, attempted manipulation or guilt-based communication is far removed from my burden.”
So, what is my burden? To communicate several considerations to your “influencers” or perspectives on the Biblical context for global “storms” or pestilence. Let’s begin with some questions people from various venues have brought to me.
1. Is the coronavirus the sign we are in the fullness of the end times?
A: No, perhaps a sign but not the sign. When God’s judgment is fully released it will
finished and final.
2. Is this infection from Satan?
A: Directly – no. While he has a “short time with great wrath”…the mismanagement of
the rule of man on earth is part of it as biological factors in humans and animals. Is
he involved at some point? Of course, especially in the spirit of fear.
3. Can darkness touch us through this virus?
A: The adversary can land blows but they will not succeed in their intended end.
Now our first consideration is a context of wisdom. Lessons of practical wisdom are for the purpose of God to happen through those who won’t flee, whimper or whine, but declare, “Lord we are Your people and this is our hour”.
An additional consideration is that panic is often worse than the disease. We are at a time that is sobering to any thinking and sensitive person. But let us not make blanket assumptions, especially from media, and maintain our focus on God’s Word. We know that when a panic seizes the mind, it is deprived of discretion; and they who ought to look after their own concerns, become stupid and inanimate. Therefore we must seek the spirit of discretion from heaven, which shall so govern us that we may do nothing by rash impetuosity, or immoderate severity. (Calvin)
25 See to it that you do not refuse Him (Jesus) who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN."
Please note this passage is requiring a DECISION to fine tune our ears to hear Him speaking. Do not refuse Him! He is shaking all things that do not belong to Him.
28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
Here is a clear call to personal wisdom in response to the Kingdom we are a part of. “Seek first, the Kingdom of God…”. All things unworthy in our personal history are eradicated as we receive “…a Kingdom…”, leaving a remnant of everything we invested ourselves in accordance with God’s way.
OK – how should we live for the next several months?
2 Peter 3:10-11
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
What sort of people ought we to be?
First, do not give ground to a spirit of fear. We see in Luke 21:26, people’s hearts failing because of the fear of coming disturbances. Open afresh to the love of God which kicks fear right out the front door.
The second recommendation is to fall back on the peace of God’s sovereignty for your life. He holds the power of life and death in His hand (Rev. 1:18) and numbers our days (Ps. 90:10-12). God, by the Holy Spirit has sealed you (Eph. 1:13-14) and nothing can snatch you out of His hand (Jn.10:28-29). The Lord is calling all of us to renew our trust in His character and love for you.
The third consideration is to recognize in this present threat.
Fourth, expect a movement of powerful, supernatural wisdom in your life. An intuitive wisdom relating to people’s age, habits, and awareness does exist. Add God’s wisdom (Prov. 2) to it and we have very decisive insight. The fivefold purpose of Proverbs is given in the introduction to the book (Prov. 1:2-4, 6): (a) “for attaining wisdom and discipline,” (b) “for understanding words of insight,” (c) “for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,” (d) “for giving prudence to the simple,” (e) “for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. People with wisdom can think their way through complex matters and see what lies behind them, and thereby make wise decisions about them.
Finally, we are called to move fully onto unshakable Kingdom ground by committing to be an instrument of redemption. An instrument of redemption is a person who will pray with power in the midst of a confused, sick world. Not one who sighs and whines with “Lord make all the bad things go away”, but one moving in the terms with place we’ve been called as people filled with Spirit to neutralize darkness around us and minister to people to find a love that casts out fear and brings hope beyond pain.
Personally, I was asked this week if I will still meet with people. We are aware that the fourth seal has been open since Pentecost. But my response was unaffected by that. In the absolute affirmative, I assured this dear individual that my office door is still open. My heart is here:
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God”.
Therefore, I will continue my normal course with wisdom looking for continual opportunities to be an instrument of redemption. My deepest respect for your decisions but I hope you will take these observations into consideration as we navigate through an approaching storm.