We are in the midst of a global plague and it’s world-altering. So much so it seems somehow “wrong” to write and blog about anything else.
A news piece today went out about “Where is God during the coronavirus pandemic?” It’s one I want to study and answer, but right now life is pretty exhausting with the emotional demands of the situation in life I’m in.
My first thought though is, is there any thankfulness to God to the decades and years where no virus has broken out? Does God get credit and thanksgiving when things go well, or just blame when there are problems? Is there no responsibility of man to be held account when there was a doctor who sounded the alarm but was thrown in prison because of it?
But there is a valid question in this. How and what is God up to in this pandemic?
The Outbreak of the Plague
As I was thinking on these things I read of one of the first pandemics to break out in the Bible (something outside of the plagues brought upon Egypt in the Exodus). And this pandemic was brought upon by the Lord himself.
More than 10 times the Israelites tested the Lord in the desert arousing His anger. Finally they were disciplined in that they would not enter the Promised Land, but their children would. But there was another severe testing and that was of Moses. Time and time again they railed against him as their leader. Even his own brother and sister stood in accusation of him.
But now it had gone too far too many times. Dathan and Abiram gathered together 250 of Israel’s prominent leaders and accused Moses. They declared that “they too had the spirit of God” and Moses was taking it too far. Now remember, the Bible records Moses as the most humble man that ever was outside of Jesus.
To make matters worse this was the Kohathites. These were the people of all else that were selected to carry the most holy things. They were given the highest honor and greatest responsibility. And yet here they stood in rebellion.
Moses, with countless arrows in his heart and spirit, fell to the ground before the Lord. Then Moses spoke to the people and told them to come with their firepans the next day before the Lord, and the Lord would show them who was their rightful leader.
They did just that and it became obvious that Moses was their leader. Then the earth opened up like a sinkhole and swallowed Korah, Dathan, Abirim.
Just to make certain the people knew whom God had chosen as their rightful leaders, Moses asked each tribe to bring an almond branch to the temple with the name of their tribe inscribed on it. The next day when they came, the branch of Aaron had bloomed and even produced almonds. But the branches of the other tribes were just sticks.
With the complaining raging like a cancer, the Lord’s anger burned against the people. He brought judgment through a plague and over 14,000 died. Moses instructed Aaron and Aaron quickly brought a firepan and incense and ran among the people to make intercession for them before God, and the plague stopped. Aaron had stood as an intercessor and the Lord relented.
Plagues and Judgment
Clearly the plague here in Numbers 15 was about God’s judgment on a holy people. They were to be a set apart people and yet their hearts were bent entirely on complaining and rebellion.
Does this mean when we anger God he sends judgment? The reality is that Israel was a special nation set apart to God. They were not like the Gentile nations who do not know God. So things were different.
Bud does God send plagues and pandemics as judgment at times? Yes. Are all plagues and pestilence judgment? No. So how do know which is which? That’s hard to say. But we seek the Lord in this.
Does that mean this coronavirus thing could be an act of judgment? It’s possible. It could very well be that the Lord is giving humanity a wake-up call. But we shouldn’t be quick to call it an act of judgment, or dismiss it either.
There are two important things to garner from this story. First, we most be careful when we speak against the Lord’s anointed. It’s easy to be disgruntled with leaders, frustrated with what we see, jealous, etc… It’s not a small thing in God’s eyes to grumble against a leader.
Secondly, when the plague broke out among the people, just like it is doing now, Aaron ran among the people to make intercession for them. By doing so the plague halted.
We need to be making intercession for the stopping of this plague. Just watch the children of Mozambique leading the way. THIS is what intercession looks like…