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The Plague was Stopped

The story of a man named Balaam, found in Numbers 22, is about a false prophet who attempted to speak curses over the nation of Israel but was forbidden by God to do so. Balak, the King of Moab, had called for Balaam’s services and three different times attempted to get him to curse the nation but failed each time because God turned the curse into a blessing and even used this man to prophesy about the coming Messiah (by the way, this is where we find the story of a talking donkey as God will use whatever or whoever he can to get our attention). End of story, right? Not really.

Balaam’s greed for money gave Balak a new idea; Although Israel could not be cursed by others, they could curse themselves if the Israelite men could be lured into sexual immorality with the Moabite woman. Offer the temptation and see what would happen. Even though the curses from an external source couldn’t touch Israel, the allurement of the Moabite woman proved too much and a plague broke out in the entire camp of 3 million people. It’s interesting that Proverbs 26:2 tells us “an undeserved curse will not come to rest.” Nothing could touch Israel as long as they stood firm in their allegiance to the Lord. But nothing could protect them if they turned their back on God.

While thousands were dying of the plague, an Israelite man who knew better and a Moabite woman blatantly interrupt a prayer meeting of repentance and go into a tent to continue their revelry, in front of everyone. A priest named Phineas is so moved with righteousness and holy anger, that he goes into the tent and spears both the man and woman. The Lord is so moved by this act of intercession that the plague is immediately stopped, and God tells Moses that Phineas has turned the anger of the Lord away from Israel. It’s an interesting bible story but what does it have to do with us today?

Remember that God does not determine the length of plagues; we do. God looks at the church and her response to determine what His response is going to be. Is it possible that acts of intercession and repentance, getting between God and this worldwide pandemic could cause this plague to be shortened and even cease? We are grateful for medical professionals and researchers who are working very diligently to put COVID behind us. However, is it too much of a stretch to believe that if God’s people actually became passionate about righteousness and holiness, got between God and the plague, that healing of the nations could occur? Or is that too radical to believe that our behavior is actually tied to the healing of the land?

We often use the 2 Chronicles 7:14 passage to refer to the spiritual healing of nations. If you’re not familiar with the verse, here it is:

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

What if God is waiting on those who claim to know Christ, to get between Him and this ongoing virus, repent, turn from our wicked ways and see physical healing in the land? Or is God no longer a miracle worker?

We need more than theological statements on paper that have no power in real life; churches must be called to prayer and fasting and set aside cute little sermons that quite frankly haven’t moved the spiritual temperature of the nation in 30 years, and are just more of the same sermonizing. It may make us feel like we’ve accomplished something, but the absence of the presence of Jesus in our cities should wake us up that something different must be done.

Complain all you want about government mandates, but a pure church has the power to put a stop to all of this now.

Don’t wait for someone to cause you to act; move out of your comfort zone and do something that will actually contribute to the healing of the nations. Set yourself apart to the Lord; start fasting and praying with the heart of repentance. Don’t settle for casual, dead Christianity and stop being influenced by lukewarm believers who suck the life out of faith in God and are more interested in their personal opinions and comfort than the honor of the Lord.

And beyond this virus, which by the way, has an over 99% recovery rate, we desperately need an awakening that brings many into a relationship with Jesus.

Remember, if we call ourselves the people of God, the Lord has placed within our hands the future of nations. Let’s not miss this opportunity to let Him work through us and see his name glorified. If my people…

Mark Ivey

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