But Seriously Folks … (Sound Familiar? Part 2)

“You shall have no other gods before Me.”       – Exodus 20:3

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.     – I John 5:21

The book of Jeremiah contains the writings of the “weeping prophet,” who was routinely ignored and persecuted as he tried time and again to warn the people of the coming judgment for their blatant unfaithfulness to their God (idolatry). The book of Lamentations follows, written during the nightmare of the siege of Jerusalem, just before the Babylonian Empire defeated Israel once and for all, carrying them away into captivity. Sadly, Jeremiah suffered along with everyone else when the starvation was so severe that people were eating their own children. I’m sure it gave him no pleasure to say “I told you so.”

How could a loving God allow such horrors? Good question.

Another good question would be, How could Israel abandon the Lord and worship idols after all He had done for them? He had freed them from slavery in Egypt, opening up the Red Sea, feeding them supernaturally in the wilderness, conquering nations far bigger than they, and giving them the “land flowing with milk and honey”? For centuries God pleaded with His people to come back to Him, sending one prophet after another to warn them of the consequences of their disobedience. But time and again God’s people turned to the idols of the nations they had conquered, preferring the false prophets who assured them that all was well, believing that God either didn’t see their sin or didn’t care. Finally, through the Babylonians, the nation was defeated and scattered, even as the Lord promised He would bring them back someday. (Notably, although Israel has sinned in various ways like any other nation, since the Babylonian siege she never again returned to idolatry.)

Sunday our pastor delivered a message on line centered around the Exodus, especially regarding the ten plagues God sent to Egypt. He pointed out that every plague was a blow to a false god. One by one, Egypt’s deities were attacked, including the gods of the Nile, frogs, the earth, the fly, the bull. The last two plagues were three days of darkness, attacking the sun god, and finally, the death of the first born, even the first born of Pharaoh, who considered himself a god.

In preparing for the last plague, the Israelites were told to stay in their homes. (Sound familiar?) To protect their own firstborn, they were to sacrifice a lamb without defect and place its blood on the sides and tops of the doorframe – a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who centuries later would be slaughtered to save us from the slavery of sin. Those who believe in Him will be saved from eternal death.

That afternoon, I received a timely email with yet another perspective of the Corona virus, seemingly taken right out of the Old Testament:

“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, “you want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church”
“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 will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Maybe we don’t need a vaccine, Maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters. Jesus.”

While I am not saying that every word of this “prophecy” is true for everyone, it has been “food for thought.” America certainly has many examples of idolatry today. We have allowed the preborn to be slaughtered by the millions in the name of “freedom of choice.” While we have decried the proliferation of human trafficking, we’ve ignored its connection to the porn industry, which we have allowed into our movie theaters, and even into our homes via television. We have worshiped the rich and famous, devouring every bit of gossip about them that we can get our hands on, while ignoring the true heroes, those who minister to the poor, the sick, and the oppressed.

Do I believe everyone in America deserves what is happening to us? No, other than the fact that without Jesus we are all hopeless sinners. There are many in this country who have remained faithful to the Lord in the midst of the evil all around them. But I have no reason to believe that they won’t suffer along with the rest, as Jeremiah did.

Is the Corona virus the work of a loving God? I don’t believe so. But Scripture is clear that nothing happens without God’s knowledge and permission. So, why is He allowing it?

Is it a loving thing for a parent to yell at his child and yank him so hard that he dislocates the child’s shoulder? That depends. Was the child just being annoying, or was he ignoring the parent and running into the path of an oncoming semi?

For centuries Israel ignored the warnings of God, running headlong toward spiritual (eternal) destruction.

When times are hard Scripture shows God disciplining His children, destroying His enemies, or both. Israel was eventually gathered again, even becoming a nation. Egypt has never again been a major world power. The mighty empires of Babylon, Assyria, Persia, and Rome all have disappeared.

How we apply this to ourselves depends on where we stand with Him. The hard truth is, He will do whatever it takes to bring back His wandering children. We can make it easy on ourselves, or we can make it hard.

Right now His children should bear a striking “family resemblance.” When others are suffering, Christians should stand out as the most generous, loving people on the planet. But there also comes a time when we must have the courage to speak the truth in love. After all, what’s loving about letting a child run out into the street when a semi is barreling his way?

Prayer: Lord, as Your children, help us to reflect Your heart – a heart of both holiness and grace. Help us to speak the truth in love, even when it is hard, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

21 thoughts on “But Seriously Folks … (Sound Familiar? Part 2)

  1. Annie, kudos to you for having the insight, eloquence and courage to speak the truth. I don’t believe that God is causing this corona virus plague either, but like you said, he is allowing it to continue. Maybe not individually, but as a society, we have been pushing God to the periphery. Now that we have “banished” him, can we expect him to suddenly reappear only to answer our cries for help? It’s a sobering wake up call for all of us, like you said, to turn back to him with a sincere heart. Thanks for writing this.

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  2. You covered a whole lot of ground in a single post Ann and if that’s not the truth, then I don’t know what is. Very powerful, gut wrenching and sad, all at the same time. Amen to your prayer Ann and thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. There is so much powerful truth here. I so agree with you about feeling like God has removed all that we tend to place before Him today. May we as His people spend more time in prayer and His word drawing closer to Him and be courageous to share with others His saving grace.
    Blessings 😊💙

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “But there also comes a time when we must have the courage to speak the truth in love. After all, what’s loving about letting a child run out into the street when a semi is barreling his way?”

    Nailed it.

    Lord, help us to hear and obey your Holy Spirit. Without your guidance, we can not balance love and courage.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You have given us so much to consider. It seems that God is extending a grace filled warning to His children to return to Him as you indicated. I think back to 9-11 when there was a surge of people calling upon the Name of the Lord. We do well to pray that His will be accomplished.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I remember the turn to God after 9-11 … and after the Columbine shootings, and the Oklahoma City bombing, etc. … and how after a while everyone went back to “business as usual.” I would love to see us run to God and STAY there, but apparently it’s not in many people’s nature to do that.

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      1. It’s in nobody’s nature to do that unless God recreates our inner man. And then we can still be tempted by the things of this world. Back in 2003, God used a cancer diagnosis to draw me back to Him. It was the worst of times and the best of times.

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  6. This is so full of truth, Annie. And a lot to think about. Many Christians talk about the judgment of the world as if they are glad to see it happen, but they forget that Christians often suffer alongside the unbelieving – as we see happening with this virus. God does not delight in judgment, but will do what’s necessary to save as many as will come. Thanks so much for directing my attention here. God bless you, Sister.

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  7. I understand! I thought that with the lockdown I would have so much more time to read and write blogs, but apparently everyone else does, too! I feel swamped and will have to start narrowing down what I read and limit it to the blogs with substance. 😉 I’m glad we reconnected, though. (BTW, I love your Cross/Star of David. 😉 )

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