I am working my way through Exodus right now and have been, ironically enough, reading about the Egyptian plagues. As I have read through this, many things have struck me – The number and severity of the plagues, the times that Pharaoh begged for help, promised to let the Hebrews go and then relented and the fact that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
But, given our current circumstances, my biggest thought is about the fear that the majority of the Egyptian and Hebrew people were dealing with. I don’t want to put aside the plagues because obviously, these physical issues were paramount in everyones concern. I say “everyone” because even though some plagues impacted only the Egyptians, many impacted everyone and they all lived in Egypt and had been gravely impacted in many ways. Over several months, the populace had dealt with extreme thirst, plagues of frogs, gnats, flies and locusts, the death of the majority of the livestock, skin disease, extreme hail, total darkness and then the death of the first-born from every Egyptian family. If I put myself in the shoes of a normal citizen dealing with these realities, I have to believe that they had to be terrified.
I am sure that my reading of this specific scripture is highly colored by our current circumstances, but then isn’t that the real benefit of any Bible reading, that we read it with our circumstances in mind? Besides this worldwide pandemic, there have also been several devastating earthquakes, snowstorms, a large locust plague, a tornado that killed 24 people and certainly many more disasters. I know that most of us are probably only dealing with one plague and not ten separate ones, but we all were dealing with at least one once-in-a-lifetime situation along with all of the other “normal life events” we have going on. So whether it is one plague or ten, the commonality for all of us is that our situation can drive an overall sense of fear because we do not know what will happen to us or our family.
But, we are not called to live in this fear. Sure, fear will certainly strike us throughout our days, especially these days, but we are not to called to live in that fear, we are called to give that fear to the Lord. David knew many troubles in his life that caused him momentary fear, but he knew what he needed to do.
22 Throw your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the godly to be shaken. Psalms 55:22
19 When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – Psalms 94:19
Remember my friends, Jesus has already won – He said this directly to his disciples in the upper room at the last supper just before he was arrested.
33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.”
– John 16:33
Perhaps Peter says it best with today’s context in a set of scripture that seems hand-delivered by the Holy Spirit. Stand firm my friends.
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.
– 1 Peter 5:6-11