“…..when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” ~Isaiah 26: 9
By Christine Darg, Jerusalem Channel
Over the years, the above Bible verse has been a comfort and explanation to me as I’ve watched society deteriorate. It is a promise that God will discipline us to learn righteous behaviour.
People aren’t fully getting it yet. God has allowed this dry run of an End-time plague as a wake-up call, and he is hoping that we will repent.
During the Great Tribulation in the future, while I believe many will be saved, yet many hearts will continue stubbornly to resist God.
Revelation 16: 11 is one of the most sobering warnings in the Bible:
“and they blasphemed the God of heaven on account of their distresses, and on account of their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.”
Presently people are scared because they don’t know God. They’re afraid to die. The call of believers at the moment its to lead people to God and help them to find peace with God through the risen Saviour.
According to a very clear formula laid out in 2 Chronicles 7: 13-14, if during a time of drought, locusts or plagues, if God’s people do four things:
1. Humble ourselves
3. Seek God’s face
4. Turn from our wicked ways
THEN, God promises to do three things:
1. Hear from Heaven
2. Forgive our sin
3. Heal our land
Concerts by vapid rock stars to entertain us while we’re in self isolation or lockdown is not the prescription.
Closing churches is not the answer. Yes, we must learn the value of social distancing, hand washing, etc., but there should be places of sanctuary for people to pray.
First, ministers took sensible precautions themselves — no shaking hands, no hymnals that may carry the virus. Then the order came suspending public worship for the first time in Britain since 1208!
As an editorial in the London Times newspaper stated, “Not for the first time, the word of God was communicated by tablets. Yet there is something about the very buildings where previous generations have sought deliverance.”
While supermarkets and gas stations can stay open, the clergy must stay at home? What’s wrong with this picture?
At a time of crisis, houses of worship are important bulwarks for the spiritual, mental and physical well being of people.
On Facebook I watched a video of a preacher in sackcloth walking through the empty streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, where many contracted the disease during the wild Mardi Gras celebrations. There were the usual sarcastic comments plus others lauding his bravery. The young man was a herald of the Gospel. He didn’t preach crazy things– he preached Biblical principles as he walked through the shuttered streets while people were on lockdown inside.
In Luke 11, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation.” Jonah was a street preacher commissioned by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian Empire, because of that city’s great wickedness. But the reluctant prophet tried to escape from the presence of the Lord by purchasing passage on a boat sailing far away west on the Mediterranean Sea to Tarshish, which some scholars interpret to be modern-day Britain.
However, perhaps you know the narrative—the rebel preacher was thrown overboard and was swallowed by a “big fish.” Not a whale. There is another word in Hebrew for whale, leviathan, לִויָתָן
Three days later, the mysterious fish vomited Jonah alive safely on land again. After his resurrection onto the shore, Jonah was recommissioned by God to travel to Nineveh and to prophesy to its inhabitants. This time the chastened and repentant preacher obeyed and walked across the city, crying,
“In forty days Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
Archeologists report discoveries of the fish-god Dagon in sculptures found in Nineveh, Assyria. No doubt telling his strange testimony of near-death in the fish, the people of Nineveh believed the strange messenger. Even the king humbled himself, put on sackcloth and sat in ashes, making a proclamation decreeing a fast, including the command to wear sackcloth, to pray, and repent. The entire city was humbled and broken with the people (and even the animals) in sackcloth and ashes.
God saw their repentant hearts and spared the city at that time.
Today our leaders say defiantly, “We shall overcome.” Good, but add, “With the help of God.”
Wrath and judgment have been pronounced against sinners, but thankfully we have the everlasting Gospel, which offers forgiveness. Our Creator warns us about judgment but fully forgives those who repent.
Abba Father, thank You for the familiar story of Jonah the street preacher. I do believe the gospel that salvation is provided for all who repent and trust in the merit of atonement by Messiah on the cross.
Be blessed with your name inscribed in the Lamb’s Book of Life and with Psalm 91 immunity in the Name of Jesus.