As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many Christian ministers are tapping into God to find out what this all means. What is God saying to us as a church, as individuals, as nations? One common theme that I hear coming out, and which I have also received from the Lord, is that this plague, pestilence, calamity (call it what you will), is from the Lord and one of the reasons is to correct the misguided perspective that God is no longer to be feared. The Bible tells us that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). This is exactly what has happened to the nations of the earth. The hand of the Lord has moved against us because the Lord now says, “enough is enough”. As Christians around the world have interceded for the atrocities that have been taking place around the world prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have asked the Lord on many occasions in our prayers to arise and cause His enemies to be scattered. We never know just how God will answer but what we do know is that He will answer the prayers of the righteous (Prov. 15:29; 1 Pet. 3:12). Truly this is God’s answer to the prayers of many Christians. We need to be as the Sons of Issachar and correctly discern the times and seasons. We need to understand this move of God and see what is happening from His perspective. Many would say, “How could a loving God do or allow this plague to come upon the world?” This is exactly the reason why He could not allow what has been going on in the world to continue unabated. The scriptures tell us that as a good Father, God must chasten us as part of His evidence of love (read Hebrews 12:5-11). I therefore encourage us as the Apostle Paul did in Hebrews 12:13:
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
But even as I encourage us in this manner I also sense an increasing urgency for us to better understand “the fear of the Lord”. In addition to being a loving Father, God is also a righteous judge and we have been found guilty. We need to understand what God requires from His church (the Body of Christ) first and then from the nations. Yes, judgment does begin in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). It is time for a return of the fear of the Lord in the Body of Christ. God has been speaking this warning through His prophets for several years now but many church leaders have deafened their ears to what the Holy Spirit has been saying to the Body of Christ. We are instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:20 not to despise prophecies. Because many of our leaders have not heeded, we see familiarity with God, dishonouring of God’s presence, diminishing of the importance of holiness, leaders taking the place of God (idolatry & pride) and an entitlement spirit (murmuring and complaining) have overtaken the Body of Christ. This has come up as a stench in God’s nostrils.
I want to preface this discussion with this scripture, which I am sure we have all quoted but many of us do not fully understand its implications. By the end of sharing what I believe the Holy Spirit has downloaded to me, I trust we will all have a full grasp of what this scripture means.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10, NKJV)
To be fair, many Christians do not fear the Lord because they do not know Him fully as He is to be known. Many Pastors, Apostles, Teachers and Prophets have pandered to itching ears. Focusing their attention, and that of their members, on the grace and mercy of God while at the same time failing to emphasize the righteous judgment of God. The Apostle Paul foretold of these events (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
As I sought the Lord for His mind concerning the fear of the Lord, He led me to three accounts in the scriptures that show evidence that God is not to be played with or taken lightly. Let us understand that this knowledge to be shared is the first step in coming closer to the fear of the Lord that God requires from each of us. Let us not be fools, despising wisdom and instruction.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7, NKJV)
Moses and the Striking of the Rock
We all know the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. However, God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land, even though it says this of him in Deuteronomy 34:10-12.
But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.
Why did God find it necessary to forbid Moses entry into the Promised Land? We join the account of what transpired in Numbers 20. The Israelites were complaining bitterly again to Moses and Aaron because there was no water. In their anguish, Moses and Aaron went off by themselves to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and fell on their faces. God’s glory appears to them and the Lord tells Moses,
Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. SPEAK to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals. (Numbers 20:8, emphasis mine)
So, what did Moses do?
So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and STRUCK the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 20:9-12, emphasis mine)
God’s response to Moses’ action may seem somewhat drastic. Truth be told, I have held this view on several occasions after reading this account. However, as I have grown in spiritual maturity I have recognized that when you are in leadership you have an even more earnest responsibility to be obedient to God as He is depending upon you to represent Him accurately to the people who you lead. To whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48).
The only part of God’s command Moses obeyed was to take up the rod. It all went downhill from there. Moses took God’s glory onto himself. He said to the Israelites, “Must WE bring water for you out of this rock?” He did not attribute the power for this miracle to God. Further, he allowed His frustration and anger with the people to cause Him to misrepresent the Lord in striking the rock rather than speaking to the rock. What was ultimately at the root of God’s decision? He told Moses and Aaron that they “did not hallow” God in the eyes of the children of Israel. What does it mean to “hallow”? We see this word also mentioned in the Lord’s prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name.” To hallow is “to make holy or set apart for holy use; sanctify, consecrate, honor as holy; consider sacred; venerate; to respect greatly (Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com). Moses’ disobedience was an indication that in that moment he lost respect for the Lord and failed to give Him the honour due to Him before the people. When we fear the Lord we have a reverent awe for who He is. If we truly fear the Lord, we would never think to act in opposition to the instructions He has given. This is dishonouring and disrespectful in God’s eyes. We fail to give God His rightful place and ascribe power, might and honour to Him alone. I think 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 puts everything into perspective.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE. (emphasis mine)
Church of the Living God we have been weighed in the balances and been found wanting.
This will be a daily series due to the urgency of what God is requiring of His church in this season. See you tomorrow for the continuation.