This morning I was toasting a bagel and going through my new Covid 19 handwashing routine. Since this Global pandemic began, I find myself washing my hands much more frequently when handling packages or recently purchased items. For some reason, this sensation of weariness came over me and I began to lament this unprecedented time in History. Perhaps you’ve felt the same? We get tired and weary when we have to now worry about social distancing, wearing masks when we go out, wiping down packages, washing hands over and over. Everything we do has become much more complicated and difficult. Gone are the days when we can just go out and take a walk in the park, or visit a local restaurant or retail establishment without feeling like we’re risking our health or our lives. People have become very edgy, and there have even been some fights that have broken out when some people have broken the social distancing rules. Neighbors are being encouraged to “report” on other neighbors who are violating social distancing. I don’t know about you, but all of this feels very exhausting.
So this morning, I was thinking about all of this, and feeling weary, and a word of wisdom came into my mind….”When you’ve done all you can do to stand…then stand”. I thought to myself…Hmmm, I’ve heard that before. Is this a verse in the Bible, it sounds familiar.
I went to my computer and looked up the verse. It is a Bible verse, found in Ephesians 6. I knew that it sounded familiar! It’s about the armor of God.
Ephesians 10:6-13: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to STAND firm. 14 STAND firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
This verse is about our Heavenly armor, something that is greatly needed in these last days. We are living in a “new world”, one in which we can no longer take for granted our sense of safety, security, health, freedom, or even our ability to gather together to comfort one another. Even family members find themselves separated from one another. We are now living in a world of isolation and fear. There is a silent, invisible enemy prowling around seeking whom he may devour. No matter what we are doing, whether we are taking a walk or just trying to buy a few groceries, we are painfully aware that this INVISIBLE ENEMY could sneak up on us at any moment and steal our health, our loved ones, or our lives. What can we do?
I personally have been praying and interceding…alot. I spend quite a bit of time applying the blood of Jesus every day (spiritually speaking), and often twice a day to self, family, and friends. I feel this is an absolute necessity for navigating through these dangerous waters filled with sharks. Even this can get exhausting as I feel absolutely compelled to intercede for others. Many families are taking severe financial “hits” as childcare and schools are closed, so someone has to stay home with the children. Moms and dads are now working in situations where they feel “unsafe” or at-risk. There have been stories of healthcare workers literally sleeping in RV’s outside of their homes because they do not want to infect their families.
Then…we turn on the news and see fear, fear, and more fear. Harrowing individual acounts of horriffic pain and suffering by infected individuals go a long way in stirring up an atmosphere of fear and dread. News stories highlighting how cities like New York have struggled coping with the number of dead bodies that are “piling up” seem to be purposely embellished to create a feeling of panic within individuals. Suicides have increased. Mental health issues have surfaced. Unemployment has skyrocketed. The global economy is now extremely unstable and apocalyptic food shortages are predicted. Another very real fear that many people are feeling is the fear of a tyrannical government. They see the tight controls and restrictions by the governments of the world, as well as the rapid erosion of freedom, and they FEAR tyranny. People, even those who are not well versed in Bible prophecy, SEE fear being used as a weapon against the masses of people to keep them under CONTROL.
This crisis is also bringing about the best in some people and the worst in others. There are beautiful accounts of heroism, generosity, kindness and compassion. At the same time, we see other accounts of physical violence, threats, division, anger, selfishness and greed. For some reason, toilet paper has become the new “liquid gold” as it has been horded by greedy customers who seem to think they can sell it “on the black market” for an exhorbitant amount.
Our neighbor recently went to the corner drug store and was told by an employee that she was using her gloves improperly. She was severely chastised for “touching everything”.People are now looking at other people as “vectors” or as disease carriers instead of as human beings. The love of many is waxing cold.
Where does this leave us? Exhausted? Worried? Depressed? Anxious? Frustrated? Angry? All of the above? What do we do? When we’ve done everything we can do to protect ourself and our family; when we’ve prayed and applied the whole armor of God, then we STAND and let God fight the battle for us.
What is the armor of God? It is found in Ephesians 6. We are in a Spiritual battle against an unseen enemy. Like demonic powers, the Covid 19 is an unseen enemy.
Ephesians 6:14: Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
We need to put on the HELM OF SALVATION. This means that our thoughts should be on Jesus Christ, His finished Work at the Cross. When we do this, we are given an ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE that helps us focus less on the troubles of this world and more on the promise of the Kingdom of God (Heaven).
The BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS guards our hearts in Christ Jesus. The Breastplate of Righteousness speaks of LOVE, of God’s laws written on our hearts, of the Holy Spirit, who pours out rivers of living water within us so that we can bless others.
The BELT OF TRUTH will hold up our “pants” and keep us walking in the truth of God. God’s truth can only be found in the Bible, the Word of God. There is only one truth in the world, and that is the Word of God. We should not get our truth from the News, as there is much fake news and propaganda pouring out over the airways. The news seems to have one goal these days….create an atmosphere of fear. Truth comes from Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit, the Word of God. Truth keeps us grounded and moving forward.
The SANDALS of the GOSPEL of PEACE, God’s Gracious Gospel grants us peace in the storm. The Gospel of Jesus Christ IS the Good news that Jesus died for our sins and that as soon as we accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to pay the debt that we owe God because of our sins, we can walk in newness of life. We have the peace of knowing that no matter what storm is raging in this world, our citizenship is in Heaven. Jesus has prepared for us a Heavenly home that cannot be touched by the devil, cannot be moved by evil, and is there waiting for us. There is no Corona Virus in Heaven. We don’t have to wear masks in Heaven. Thankfully, this turbulent world is not our permanent home. We are just sojourning here for a purpose..to do the Will of God in our lives.
The SHIELD of FAITH is necessary to defend ourselves from the fiery darts of the enemy. Fear..that’s a dart. Sickness…that’s a dart. Anxiety…that’s a dart. Depression and lonliness….all nasty darts! During this global crisis, the devil is working overtime, throwing these darts at us. Faith is needed to stand up and lean into God’s promises OVER what we are seeing with our eyes. God tells us that perfect love casts out fear. He tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind. God reminds us that He will NEVER leave or forsake us. He is with us in the storms so we will never be truly alone. Jesus is our friend! We need to Trust Jesus, that He is always working on our behalf. We also know that by His Stripes, by the scourging that He endured on our behalf as our sins were pressed into His flesh, our flesh has been healed. Even if we’re not feeling it yet, at some point, this will manifest. Our flesh will be redeemed as our spirits have already been redeemed. Now, it may not be until we are in Heaven that this manifests fully, but we press into this now and believe the promises of God. Divine healing is part of our inheritance. We need faith, which is a GIFT from the Holy Spirit, to believe and stand on God’s promises. Faith and belief in God’s promises will extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy.
The SWORD of the SPIRIT is our only offensive weapon. Our sword is so powerful it is all that we need to fight the spiritual battles of life. I don’t think that we really understand the power of the sword that we, as believers, have been given by Jesus… because if we did, we would use it more often. The Holy Spirit is God living inside of us. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God and Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh. Through Christ in us, God has given us AUTHORITY to trample on “serpents and scorpions”.
1 John 4:4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
Luke 10:19: “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
Luke 10 is not telling us to go out and find a snake or a scorpion and step on it. This verse is telling us that the spiritual powers of darkness cannot really hurt us when we are in Christ Jesus. God’s Holy Spirit within us will illuminate Scripture, will help us avoid the deceptive traps of the enemy, will keep us connected to the Father through prayer, will guide us through the quagmires of life. God’s Holy Spirit gives us WISDOM and DISCERNMENT to help us discern truth from lies, to help us make better choices, to even alert us and keep us out of harm’s way. But in order for God’s Sword of the Spirit to be beneficial, we must unsheathe it, we MUST WEILD IT! We must READ the written Word of God! We must PRAY! Sometimes Christians FORGET that GOD’S SPIRIT dwells within us, and that the power of God that healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead…lives inside of us!
God’s wisdom will help us make necessary choices in these unprecedented times…Do I go to go to work or try to stay home? What about child care? If I don’t go to work, how am I going to pay my rent or feed my family? When and where do I need to wear gloves and a mask? Can I visit that store, that hair salon, that family member? What news can I believe and what news is selling propaganda and fear mongering? We need God’s Wisdom and protection in these unprecedented times. We need to READ, KNOW, and UNDERSTAND the Word of God to remain undeceived!! God loves us, He is with us, and He will help us make difficult choices. But first, we need to include Jesus in the decision making process through prayer.
Now that we’ve put on all of our armor, now that we’ve done everything in the natural that we can think of to do such as wash hands, wear masks and gloves, maintain social distancing, limit our news intake and pray for discernment…now we need to STAND. God says that once you’ve done everything that you can do..then STAND. Don’t give in to fear and anxiety….STAND.
Stand and let God fight this battle for us. Stand.
Deuteronomy 3:22: Do not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God Himself will fight for you.”
Deuteronomy 1:30: The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;
Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
You might be wondering…HOW will the Lord fight my battles? Our God is creative and nothing is impossible for Him. In the story of the Exodus, the Egyptian army pursued the Israelites to the Red Sea. The Israelites were trapped! With the powerful Egyptian army coming up rapidly behind them, the Red Sea standing forbodingly in front of them, they were hemmed in from all sides. The Israelites were certain that they were either going to die or go back into captivity. Just when all seemed lost and hopeless, God opened up a way where there had seemed to be no way. God Almighty parted the Red Sea, a supernatural and powerful act of God, so that the Israelites could cross over safely on dry land. The Egyptian army tried to pursue the Israelites across the red sea, but then God stopped holding back the sea, and it washed over and drowned every last member of the Egyptian army. God fought for Israel.
Another one of my favorite stories of God’s faithfulness in battle is found in the Old Testament book of 2nd Kings 18-19. In this account, King Sennacherib of Assyria told Israel to either continue to pay them all of their gold and treasures, OR Assyria would destroy Jerusalem. Sennacherib reminded Judah’s King Hezekiah of all the MANY military defeats that the POWERFUL Assyrian army had already won, and how all the “gods of the land” had been unable to save any other city! In his famous taunt, the commander of Sennacherib’s army taunts Israel by saying “so what makes Hezekiah King of Judah so sure his God (The God of Abraham/Isaac/Jacob..the Father of Jesus) can save Jerusalem out of the hands of Assyria? ” King Hezekiah was REMINDED by the mocking and sneering Assyrian commander that Assyria had already conqured Samaria (the northern tribes of Israel). Would Judah (southern tribes of Israel) lean on Egypt for assistance? That didn’t work out so well for Samaria! So Assyria was using its military power, money, and might to coerce and force other smaller, weaker nations to pay them tribute. When Hezekiah heard this, when he heard the commander of the Assyrian army mocking the God of Israel, he prayed to the Lord and sent for Isaiah the Prophet. In those days (Old Testament), God’s people did not have the Holy Spirit living inside of them, so they used prophets and priests as intercessors. (a mediator between God and man). Today (New Testament), Jesus Christ, who tore the veil in half at the time of His Crucifixion, is our intercessor! We now have direct access to the Throne of God through our King and High Priest, Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!!
2 Kings 19:15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 17 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 19 Now, O Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God.”
The prophet Isaiah delivered to King Hezekiah the Lord’s response to Hezekiah’s prayer..
2 Kings: 19: 32 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, “He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield or throw up a siege ramp against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he shall not come to this city,”’ declares the Lord. 34 ‘For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”
God Almighty had responded KINDLY to Hezekiah’s prayer and humility! God declared that HE would FIGHT for ISRAEL!!! As an enormous army ammassed outside the gates of Jerusalem, something miraculous happened. God did EXACTLY what He said He would do through Isaiah the Prophet…
2 Kings 19: 35 Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh
God struck DEAD every member of the mighty Assyrian army, 185,000 men! One single Angel of the Lord, carrying the power of the Lord God Almighty, killed an entire army of 185,000 men in a single night, men that were preparing to go in and SLAUGHTER the people of Jerusalem. The Lord God fought for Israel! The invading army never entered the city’s gates, and not a single Israelite died. The attack never happened BECAUSE God Almighty went BEFORE Israel and fought the battle for them. Israel did not even have to do a thing…God fought for them!
This is just a single story, out of MANY stories, where God shows us that He will go before us and fight our battles for us. This was true for Israel, and is true for every single believer today. King Hezekiah of Judah (Jerusalem) humbled himself, he trusted God, he was angry when the enemy mocked and belittled the Name of God (YHWH/YESHUA), and He PRAYED and sought the Lord’s help…..and then WAITED for the Lord’s response!
What Hezekiah did not do.
- Hezekiah did NOT cower and attempt to appease an enemy who was threatening to kill, steal, and destroy!
- He did NOT seek the assistance of a neighboring kingdom such as Egypt.
- King Hezekiah did NOT try to defeat the Assyrian army without the help, assistance, and guidance of God.
- Hezekiah did NOT move ahead of God, but WAITED for God’s response to prayer.
- King Hezekiah did NOT doubt God’s promises.
Instead, King Hezekiah put his complete faith, trust, and hope in the God of Israel who promised to FIGHT his battle for him. Because of Hezekiah’s humility, reliance on God, faith and trust in God’s promises, God showed up in a BIG, BIG way and fulfilled every word He had promised.
We are not fighting a giant Assyrian army that we can SEE with our eyes. We are fighting an insidious, secretive, INVISIBLE silent killer who slithers around like a serpent, seeking whom he may devour…with fear, with sickness, with lies, and with famine. God is telling us thatwhen we’ve done everything we can do, when we’ve put on the whole armor of God, then STAND and TRUST HIM. When we’ve prayed, sought the Lord, relied on Jesus to guide us through the landmines and traps that the enemy has set for us, at the end of the day, hand the battle off to God and TRUST in His promises for us. I know, easier said then done.
Can I share a dream that I had a few nights ago? The Lord Jesus Christ is pouring out His Holy Spirit on ALL FLESH in these last days, and many, many people are receiving dreams and visions from the Lord.
When God says something three times, it’s important. There are a few places in the Bible where God speaks a word 3 times. Every word that comes out of the mouth of God is important, but when God speaks the same thing 3 times…it’s super important! Whether it’s to feed the flock of God (John 21:15-17), or to not call unclean what God has cleansed (Acts 10:9-16), or that the prophecies of God are going to have a future, endtime fulfillment (Dan. 8;17-19), God thought all of these were important enough to say them three times. God wants us to BELIEVE what He says and to Act upon it.
What was God saying by “I’ve got this..”? He was telling me (us) that He is in control, NOT satan! God is not taken by surprise by this Corona Virus. His promises still stand. We can TRUST that Jesus Christ is present with us and will protect us through the storm. Ultimately, what was meant for evil will be used by God to bring about His purposes, fulfill His Word, and bring BLESSINGS to many, many people. What did God then say for me to do? I am to do as He asks, as He (God) directs. I am NOT to worry about the virus, but instead to focus on God’s commands, on His Word, on His Direction. He does not want me to waste my time worrying about something that I cannot control. The virus is His battle to fight, not mine. Instead, I am to love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, and strength and love my neighbor as myself. I am to press into God for Wisdom and discernment, read His Word, and act upon His teachings. I am to listen to the Holy Spirit for guidance and directions and do whatever God says to do…Go when He says go, move when He says move, be still when He says be still. I am not to be afraid, to be dismayed, or to be overwhelmed by this virus and its effects. I am to trust in God and believe that He is still on the Throne and still in control. This Word of Wisdom from the Lord is not just for me! It is for you too!!!
So at the end of the day, once we’ve done all that we can do to stand….THEN STAND….and let GOD fight our battle for us! God cannot Lose!
Blessings to you!