GOD WANTS ME TO ACKNOWLEDGE MY NEED OF HIM
My dear brother Glen Berry of ‘Living truth Ministries’ recently sent me a little paper he had been led to write on the Christian’s response to this Corona Virus pandemic. I heartily agree with all that he said. Here’s an excerpt from his little tract –
“In our scenario, let us imagine our Lord Jesus Christ and His small group of apostles in Jerusalem amidst such a pandemic as WE are now facing. Let us see each of the apostles pastoring a Christian assembly. Let us see them each possibly as having been exposed to those WITH the virus that is so highly contagious. Let us also suppose that just possibly a small percentage of each of the congregations (assemblies) also have been exposed among the Christians. SO WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN THING TO DO? Think, dear Christians. What would be the Christian thing for YOU, individually, to do even if there was a slight possibility that YOU had been exposed? Does not our Lord teach us to consider the welfare of others even above our own welfare and wishes?!!!! TOTALLY ASIDE FROM WHAT ANY GOVERNMENT MIGHT TAKE IN HAND TO RESTRICT OR NOT RESTRICT, what should WE do without governmental involvement do to help and think of the welfare of our fellow man, be they friends or enemies?? Are you beginning to get the point I am trying to make?
To continue: You just could not imagine Paul, for example, thinking he might be a carrier, refusing to quarantine himself RATHER THAN going to “church meeting” where all would me mixing closely together. Remember, this virus, probably man-man–but whether is is or not–it is highly contagious and is airborne. So can’t you imagine that all the apostles would voluntarily, even without the government, put their meetings and gatherings on temporary hold, for the sake of the health of all, and for the good of the public?? And don’t you think this action would be even at the command and the endorsement of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself?!!!
So, Christian, THINK and PRAY. “Let a word to the wise be sufficient.”
Now THAT my friend is a word in season. This is not the time to argue that all of this is a ‘Conspiracy’ by the ‘Illuminati’ and the Government has a ‘hidden agenda’ behind all this etc. Neither is it the time to quote scriptures out of context like one babe in the Lord asked me the other day, “But Brother Mike doesn’t the Lord say, “to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man”? He sure did! But when He said it, there wasn’t an airborne pathogen on the loose taking people’s lives! And incidentally, our Lord was not there giving a discourse on ‘physical hygiene’ but was speaking of spiritual defilement as the context shows. [see Matt15:18-20]
And so yes, I wear my mask when I venture out, maintain ‘social distancing’ and regularly wash my hands with soap as advised. But my faith and hope to keep myself safe from the virus is not in any of these. Especially when I read every day of the number of nurses and doctors who are draped in the best protection gear available in the medical profession, and are taking every possible precaution known to medicine who notwithstanding have contracted the virus!
MY protection cometh from the LORD which made heaven and earth! As said the Psalmist, “I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But THOU hast saved us from our enemies, etc” [Psalm 44:6,7]
Speaking of His Church God says, “For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her A WALL OF FIRE ROUND ABOUT, and will be the glory in the midst of her!” [Psalm Zech 2:5]
While the promises of the Lord’s protection abound in His Word, I do not take any of these for granted, but always ACKNOWLEDGE my weakness and the need for His protection. A lot of Christian folk presume that ‘God will do it anyhow’, but my Bible commands me to ASK and have my requests made known. There are two reasons for this – one, to constantly remind myself of my need of Him and two – God himself seeks to be thus acknowledged. This is why scripture abounds with petitions and admonitions to humbly ask – “ASK and it shall be given unto you” [Matt 7:7], “Ye have not because YE ASK NOT” [Jam 4:2] and “Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN unto God”. etc [Phil 4:6]
Consider the food which God daily provides us. The Master used many illustrations to assure us that our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of these things and so feeds us as He does the fowls of the air; notwithstanding when the disciples pleaded that He teach them to pray, He taught saying, “After THIS manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name . . . and give us this day our daily bread etc.” [Matt 6:9-11]
God knows better than me that I need Him to protect me from viruses, disease and plague, and yet He wants me to ACKNOWLEDGE the same! That age old admonition still holds good – “In ALL thy ways ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, and He shall direct thy paths!” [Prov 3:6]
Remember blind Bartimaeus whom our Lord healed? He kept yelling “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me” as our Lord was passing by. And our Lord had mercy on him and commanded His disciples to call him, and when he had come, our Lord asked him, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” Wasn’t that obvious? And yet our Lord wanted him to humbly ACKNOWLEDGE his need specifically. And thankfully Bartimaeus was humble enough to acknowledge his need and was healed then and there! [Mark 10:47-52]
In my early years as a Christian I used to snicker at Christians who prayed for the ‘Lord’s presence’ to go with them whenever they set out on a journey. I used to think, what do they mean “Lord may Thy presence go with us”? Are they not aware that God is ‘omnipresent’ filling both heaven and earth? It wasn’t until I read one of Brother Philpot’s sermons where he speaks of the TWO ‘presence of the Lord’ spoken of in scripture that I understood how right my older brethren were in beseeching the ‘Lord’s presence’ to ‘go with them’.
Let me explain – There are TWO “presence of the Lord” which the Bible speaks about! One is the UNIVERSAL PRESENCE OF LORD, wherein He is present everywhere and whereby He sees all things in heaven and earth! This is the PRESENCE which David speaks of, when He said “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there”! [Psalm 139:7,8]
But there is a MANIFESTED PRESENCE OF THE LORD, which the Bible speaks of too! This ‘manifested presence’ is when God appeared and manifested Himself at different times to His people! For example, to Solomon and his people in the dedication of the temple! [see 2Chron 7:1]
This is the same PRESENCE which Jacob, waking from his sleep, said: “Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not”. [Gen 28:16]
And the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘JEHOVAH SHAMMAH’ The LORD is there”! [Ezk 48:35]
This same MANIFESTED PRESENCE is the one spoken of, when the Master said – “Where two or three gather together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them”! [Matt 18:20]
This same MANIFESTED PRESENCE is the one spoken of when the Scripture says – “Jonah fled from the PRESENCE OF THE LORD, and went down to Joppa”! [Jonah 1:3]
Obviously Jonah could never flee from the UNIVERSAL PRESENCE of the Lord, for the Lord is everywhere in that sense and fills heaven and earth! But there is a MANIFESTED PRESENCE of the Lord, and that “PRESENCE” is what Jonah fled from, as the Scripture records!
And THAT is the ‘PRESENCE’ which even un-repenting backsliders avoid! They try and stay as far away from the Bible as much as they can, for in the reading of the Scriptures the Lord at times manifests His presence! They avoid Christian fellowship, for where two are three gather together in the Lord’s Name, His manifested presence is there! Only the broken repenting backslider comes back to read God’s Word and into the fellowship of the saints! (I ought to know)
So when Christians pray, “Lord please go with us, as we take this journey” etc! It is NOT inconsistent to pray like that! Not if you understand the distinction between HIS UNIVERSAL PRESENCE and HIS MANIFESTED PRESENCE!
“My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest!
And he (Moses) said unto Him, If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence”! [Exodus 33;14,15]
May the presence of the Lord and the ‘wall of fire’ that comes with it protect and keep us and our loved ones from this deadly Virus, that we may continue to serve Him and talk of all His wondrous works! [Ps 105:2] Of Mary of old the Lord said, “She hath done what she could.” [Mk 14:8] Let us also do what WE CAN to keep ourselves protected from the virus and trust God for what we cannot. Let us confess with Jehoshaphat that, “we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but OUR EYES ARE UPON THEE!” [2Chron 20:12]
Praise ye the LORD!