Coronavirus: Are You in Egypt or in Goshen?
Are you living in Egypt or in Goshen? This is a very important question that needs to be answered by every believer in Christ as the fear of sickness and possible death grips our nation and the world. This question is based on the Exodus account of God’s people, the Hebrews, living in slavery in Egypt when God raised up Moses to confront Pharaoh to let God’s people go. If you will remember, God sent many plagues against Egypt to convince Pharaoh to let his people go. There were ten plagues in all, the last one being the death of all the firstborn in Egypt, but these plagues did not touch the Hebrews living in the land of Goshen.
Egypt is a type of the world and its systems that do not acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ. Goshen is a type of the kingdom of God where those who love and obey Jesus Christ live even here on earth. I explained in my previous article that as Jesus approaches we are entering into a new era in the life of the Church. We can expect to see monumental changes in the way we “do church” because maintaining our church buildings and paid clergy is becoming increasingly financially impossible. We will also experience the Lord’s presence in new and stronger ways. His Word is going to open to us like never before and we will see the fulfillment of many of his promises that have seemed out of our grasp in the past.
What we are seeing as this pandemic sweeps our world, our wealth disintegrates with the fall of the economy and food becomes scarce, is the falling down of the Devil’s kingdom. As I explained in one of my previous articles, Jesus told us in 1972 he was going to shake the world and when he was through, the only thing left standing would be that which is rooted and grounded in him. Our economy and our government are not founded upon Jesus. He has been told to leave, so what we are experiencing is the result of that ousting of God. However, those of us who love and serve Jesus, can expect to be entering his kingdom at the same time the foundationless worldly institutions are disintegrating. His kingdom is coming in our hearts and as we pray for the sick and see them recover, as we see God multiply our “loaves and fishes”, it will become visible to all that the kingdom of God is in our midst.
If you are a Christian who has a relationship with Jesus and seeks to do his will, then you are in his kingdom and you should have nothing to fear. By way of clarification, I would like to briefly give my assessment of what kingdom life really is. To me, kingdom life is life after the cross has done a particular work in my life that brings me to the point where I can honestly and meaningfully say to Jesus, Not my will but thy will be done. It is a total change of focus from worldly things such as entertainment, movies, theme parks, and such to just loving to spend time in God’s presence seeking him and listening for his voice. It is wanting to be with the people of God sharing our lives and reaching out to others who need to know Jesus and then finding that the greatest joy is in helping others.
In this time of great suffering as people panic over the fears of sickness, possible death, food scarcity, and financial ruin, we can meaningfully hold onto God’s promises in his Word for us, our families and our neighbors. Here are some particularly meaningful promises for this time:
Psalm 27:5 – For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. (NKJV)
Psalm 91:3-6 – Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
God wrote these words specifically for you and for me. The problem we Christians often have is that we don’t believe these words down in our heart. In our mind we agree with them, but when something frightening happens, we are scared and we realize that in our heart we doubt that God will do this for us. If you feel like this, you can do something about it.
Get alone with God. If you have to get up in the middle of the night to do it, then do it. It is time to get radical in our relationship with God if we have not already done so. Turn off your TV and get to bed early so you can get up early for quality time with Jesus. Determine you are going to pray a certain length of time even if you can’t think of anything to say. I remember when I first committed to pray for an hour every morning, I didn’t think I could think of that much to say. However, because I committed to it, I did it and to my surprise I had a lot to say and God answered me. I didn’t hear an audible voice but in my mind, I knew he was there and I heard and saw his answers in many ways. Sometimes the answer came later in a dream. Sometimes I saw his answer in that what I prayed for came to pass. The Bible became more alive to me.
One thing we can do in this special time, is pray God’s Word and picture it in our mind. For example, let’s look at the first clause in Psalm 27:5 as written above: In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His Pavilion. I can personalize that by saying, “Jesus, thank you for hiding me in your pavilion.” Then we can pray, “Jesus, please help me know what your pavilion looks like. Help me to know I am there with you.” We know this is a spiritual reality but these abstract things can be seen in our mind as a picture just like Jesus showed us when he told parables. As you begin to picture a pavilion, you can ask Jesus to help you see yourself there with him. Our mind understands words, but our heart understands pictures. Jesus will help you get the truth of his Word not only in your mind but also down into your heart.
Assuming some of you will ask God to help you see what his pavilion of safety would look like, I want to explain how I do this. If you make your mind blank and expect a picture of the one and only pavilion in the kingdom of God to pop into your mind, it probably isn’t going to happen. The kind of communication I’m speaking of here is very personal in that what one person thinks a pavilion would look like might be totally unacceptable to another person. It is his pavilion related to you and what you think looks safe and desirable. You prayerfully build this in your mind. Your mind is active and Jesus is helping you. You know he is helping you because you asked his help and you have brought yourself before him in prayer.
This is a form of meditation. Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim 4:15, “Meditate on these things…” The Greek word for meditate seen here is meletao which means “meditate” and “imagine” from a root word meaning “revolve in the mind.” According to biblical usage of this word, it means “to care for” and “to attend to.” Our mind is a battleground and meditation is one of our most powerful weapons. I have found that when I picture being with Jesus in a pavilion in my own mind, a place I prepared many years ago, I instantly feel his presence. I revolve it in my mind in that I keep going back to it over and over again.
Another thing that came out of that prayer time was that I learned how to get a specific word from God for my life personally. I encourage you to try this yourself. I found that after praying for an hour, I could ask God if he had anything to say to me that I could look up in my Bible by book, chapter and verse. Then I would look up any Bible reference that came into my mind. For example, I had decided to work on my Master’s degree in counseling. I took one course and when it came time for the second, I felt heavily burdened about it. I didn’t know what to do. I needed a specific word from God. After pouring out my heart to him, I asked him for a Bible verse and into my mind came the thought Ecclesiastes 12:12. As I turned to that reference, here is what I read, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Nothing could have been clearer than that! I didn’t need to get that degree. I just needed to continue seeking Jesus and he would direct me in whatever I needed to know.
I found that hearing God in this way only happened after I had spent a least half an hour or more in prayer. In other words, I couldn’t just ask God a question any time without having spent time seeking him in his presence. Prayer is more about seeking a relationship with God than it is getting answers to our questions. However, God wants to speak to his people. He speaks to us a lot and in many ways, but often we just don’t hear. Maybe this is because we are expecting him to communicate in some other way. However, I want to encourage you to talk to Jesus about how he wants you to hear him. Perhaps he will also give you book, chapter and verse. Over the years, I filled up notebook after notebook with words from God received in this way. It was a tremendous help and comfort during some very difficult times.
As fear continues to grip this nation and the world, make up your mind as a Christian to live in Goshen. Read in Exodus how God brought plagues upon the Egyptians but not on his people in Goshen. Daily seek God in his Word and obey him in every possible way. Believe and act like you are in spiritual Goshen, and you will be in a place where God can protect you.