While we may not fully understand all of God’s ways this side of heaven, we can grasp this: the world He originally created had become extremely corrupt and sinful. Sin had separated God from His creation and it needed to be accounted for in order for the relationship to be restored. As it is said, Jesus paid a debt he did not owe because we had a debt we could not pay.
So far this week, in the midst of our COVID-19 pandemic journey, we are hearing speculative theories about how this pandemic actually got started and that some are beginning to make plans for how we might “re-open the country” and “get back to normal.”
Don’t get me wrong; I hope we get back – but that it’s anything but normal. Normal wasn’t working. Our world and the way we treat people in it was falling; perilously crumbling before our very eyes – possibly without our even recognizing it. If we simply return to the way things were, we will have missed a significant opportunity; quite possibly even, a great lesson. My hope, Church, is that we are significantly changed by what we are currently going through; that we are inspired to rise up and do better.
Still, some will undoubtedly ask, “Where is God in this?” or, “What is He up to and why is He putting us through this?” In the midst of my preparing this post, the following piece was shared with me. I find it interesting and hope you will too. Well above mysticism or mere numerology, it may be news to you as it was to me that the number 40 is used 146 times throughout both testaments of the Bible.
A PERSPECTIVE ON THE CURRENT WORLD QUARANTINE
- The Latin root of the word “quarantine” is “forty”.
- So what does the Bible say about this number?
- The Bible uses 40 to denote a time of great change, completion or fulfillment.
- It is the traditional Hebrew number for the duration of a trial of any kind; when times are hard and a person’s faith is tested.
- The Israelites slaved in hard bondage under the Egyptian pharaohs for 400 years (40 x 10).
- Once freed, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years as a result of their “stiff-necked unbelief.”
- 40 days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments and another 40 days on the mountain after the golden calf sin.
- Elijah spent 40 days on the same mountain worshipping God some 300 years later.
- 40 years Moses fled Egypt (The Exodus).
- Moses was 40 years times 3 when he died at 120.
- The great flood in the story of Noah lasted 40 days.
- Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness when he was tempted by Satan.
- Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is the 40 day season of reflection and preparation leading up to the celebrations of Easter.
- A group of theologians teach that the number 40 represents “change”. It is the time of preparing a person, or people, to make a fundamental change.
- Something will happen after these 40 days. Just believe and pray. Remember, whenever the number 40 appears in the Bible, there is a “change.”
- Will this change ultimately be for good or for bad? What will your role be in bringing about this change?
- Have you noticed that during this current period of quarantine, rivers are cleaning up, vegetation is growing, the air seems to be getting cleaner because of less pollution, there is less theft and murder, healing is happening, and most importantly, people are turning to Christ? The Earth is at rest for the first time in many years and hearts are truly transforming.
- So, what if, during this time, we were to work to enjoy and spend more time with loved ones and return to the family altar together. Group prayer, especially among families and within communities is a great blessing. Through prayer you will see the changes God can work in you and in your home. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- Remember, too, that we are in the year 2020, and 20 + 20 = 40.
- Also, 2020 is the year of the United States Census. Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, was born during a census.
- Lastly, 2020 is perfect vision. May our sights focus on the Lord and living according to His perfect vision for us; knowing He holds us in the palm of His hand.
- May these days of “quarantine” bring spiritual liberation and revival to our souls, our nation, and our world.
And instead of our asking the question, “Why did he do that” or “Why is he putting us through this?” may we instead honor God as our God and ask some of the “what,” how” or “who” questions:
- What are you seeking to teach me; what is it that you’d like me to learn and know during this “quarantine,” Lord?
- What are you calling me to do or change as a result of this experience?
- How can we best serve others and bring you glory during this pandemic?
- Who would you like me to invite to “come and see” and to introduce to our Resurrected King, Jesus?
May God’s inspiration be upon each of us and His abundant peace remain within us; now and forever, Pastor Terry