The account of Balaam in Numbers 22-24 is a strange one - a prophet of God, hired by Balak, King of Moab, to curse God's people but who finds of course that those whom God has blessed cannot be cursed - by anyone!
I was reading through the account a few days ago and asking the Lord to show me how it related to me, to believers in 2020.
We are people who have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ - Eph. 1:3. Christ Jesus took the curse for us - He took the curse of eternal death so that you and I might live forever. Nothing that Satan tries to do will ever have any effect on our eternal salvation - we are going to be with the Lord and we will live in His glorious presence for ever - hallelujah!!
But of course Satan will try everything to lead us astray - finding that he cannot curse us just as Balaam also found - he searches for ways to lead us 'to sacrifice to idols and commit acts of immorality'. Numbers 25:1-2
He's been very successful and has caused immense trouble and heartache within the church and now of course he is using Coronavirus to continue his harassment.
Not that the virus itself is necessarily from him - we live on a planet that is decaying, 'groaning, longing for the sons of God to be revealed' Romans 8:22. We live within a culture that is destroying itself with sin and immorality of every description - that is living in the complete deception that it is 'all about me' - that I must be happy, be successful, be wealthy and healthy and that 'I' am all that matters. We live on a planet where 5% of the population shares 99% of its wealth and we think that is ok - that this is what it should be.......
Now, suddenly, Coronavirus is causing the whole human race to rethink - reminding us that we are not, nor ever will be 'in control'. That we cannot be sure of anything, that even our next breath is not in our hands and that in a single moment everything can change.
Covid-19 is isolating communities, shutting down businesses, threatening a global economic crash; it is putting immense strain on health services and the enemy is using all of it to cause panic and fear.
And it is here I think that Balaam re-enters the scene - unable to curse the Israelites and finding God pronouncing blessing upon them didn't stop him - as a picture of the work of Satan we see in Revelation 2:14 that he showed Balak how to entice the Israelites into sin.......
I first thought that the Lord wanted me to write about us being strong, not being afraid - that He wanted me to encourage us all to persevere but as I prayed about what He was saying I knew that we are to really search our hearts. We are to ask the Lord to show us if we are listening to the lies of the enemy, if we are allowing him to entice us away from the Lord. We are to ask Him to show us if we are becoming entangled with the ways of this world and responding as if we do not know the Lord. Are we consumed with thoughts that we won't have enough? Are we panic buying? Are we closing our doors to the outside world because we are afraid for ourselves or because we want to do everything we can to protect our neighbours?
Ask the Lord to show you the truth of your heart and then when you see anything that shouldn't be there simply confess and ask Him to forgive and remove it.
We have been given an extraordinary opportunity - by the Holy Spirit of Jesus who lives within us we have been enabled to really love - we have the means by which we can speak truth - through which we can share the gospel of the grace of God. But to do so will mean we will have to look up - to fix our eyes upon Jesus - to know that we are here for such a time as this and that God has specifically placed us here, now, for His purpose - for His work.
Use whatever you have been given for His glory - use the internet, the telephone, write cards and write letters.....reach out in every way you can to comfort those around you. Tell your neighbour that he/she can count on you - that you will be there when they need you. Set up or join the local community group and reach out to those in need. Be a believer in the midst of them - speak of Jesus, care like Jesus and love like Jesus.
I am not going to tell you not to be afraid - rather I want to encourage you to see, really see Christ Jesus - high and lifted up. I want to encourage you to hear His voice, to listen hard and to listen long because when you do all fear will flee.
I want you to understand, to really know, that you were born for this time - that you were saved for this moment and that your Father, the Sovereign Most High God will use you in an astonishing, wonderful way if you simply keep your eyes upon Him.
Be blessed in this storm, be lifted up, be held in the arms of your God. Be transformed by His love and enabled by His power and know, really know His amazing grace.