“Plagues, Spears, and Sunday Morning” – COVID Lockdown Devotion, Day 10

Brothers and Sisters,

Today is Thursday, the day on which it’s generally my privilege to write a sermon, the last step in a process I typically begin in earnest on Tuesday.  This Sunday I anticipate preaching at least one more message in the mini-series that has interrupted (by God’s design) our walk through Luke’s Gospel, a series I’ve called “Shelter-in-Place Sermons” (okay, I know, zero points for originality here!).  My purpose in tonight’s devotional is simply, and quite briefly, to start our minds thinking together toward God’s Word proclaimed on Sunday morning.

Last week we grounded ourselves in Philippians 4:4-7, and Paul’s arrow-like exhortation against anxiety.  I trust doing so means that we’re well prepared to stand firm while we lift our heads up, take a look around at our situation, and begin (or continue) to ask some deep questions.  This week I’ve been captured by thinking about plagues in Scripture, and by the account of Numbers 25:1-17.  Take fifteen minutes to read the text (or listen to it read by clicking here), and then just sit with this passage for a bit.  As you do, ponder questions like this:

What is the coronavirus event in God’s eyes, as we understand his perspective from Scripture?

How would we describe the coronavirus in biblical language?  What terms would we use?

Does using biblical terms to describe this virus-event affect our thinking about God’s purpose(s) during this time?

Why has God brought COVID-19 into our world, our community, our own individual lives?  What is he about?

How should the people of God respond to the coronavirus?  Does a text like Numbers 25:1-17 tell us anything in this regard (Hint: The answer is not, “Go out and buy a spear!”)?

Our passage for this week is dramatic.  You’ll catch the drama a little better if you expand your reading backward to the beginning of Numbers 22, where we find Israel poised on the borders of Canaan, ready to finally enter the promised land.  It may be that through the drama of this account God will illuminate for us truth about how to live in our dramatic present.

Until Sunday then…

Yours in Christ,

P.J.

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