Concerning the coronavirus, the Lord would say, “When I am lifted up I will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32). This text refers to Jesus being lifted up on the cross. As I waited on the Lord, however, I kept seeing the replica of a poisonous bronze “snake” being lifted up on a pole:
“So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.’ So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told him, ‘Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it.’ So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!” (Num. 21:6-9).
The Serpent and God’s Judgment on It
The book of Genesis tells us that it was the serpent that was responsible for death, destruction, sickness and disease entering the world. The serpent lied and Adam and Eve chose to act independently of God: “‘You won’t die!’ the serpent replied to the woman. ‘God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil'” (Gen. 3:4-5).
This is the same spirit that Isaiah talks about: “How you are fallen from Heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to Heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High'” (Isa. 14:12-14).
Jesus’ attitude was completely different: “So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the Cross, then you will understand that I AM He. I do nothing on My own but say only what the Father taught Me. And the one who sent Me is with Me – He has not deserted Me. For I always do what pleases Him'” (John 8:28-29). In Numbers 21 God took the very thing that was the source of death and destruction, and by His power, transformed it into a source of life. Much later, Jesus’ death on the Cross and resurrection became the ultimate source of life for us all.
God’s judgment on the snake in Genesis 3 was clear: “Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel'” (Gen. 3:14-15).
God is busy exposing the works of this serpent (death, destruction and destabilization) in our times.
What I hear God saying on both a macro and personal level is this:
1. It’s time to lift up our eyes and fix our gaze on Jesus, our Source of life (John 3:14-16). Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by fear.
2. “Corona” means crown. There is, however, only One who wears the crown and that is Jesus Christ: “I am the Lord; that is My name! I will not give My glory to anyone else, nor share My praise with carved idols” (Isa. 42:8).
3. Globalization is not God’s idea. God is the Creator of nations (Gen. 11). He is the One who established languages, ethnicities and geographical borders. It was never His intention for one nation to dominate others as China is doing today. We have to start to rethink our global supply chains.
4. As nations and as individuals, we need to start to treasure our unique identities and callings in Christ. We cannot afford to give them away, or sell them, in the name of financial gain. For example, according to Arthur Burke, the Netherlands is a “giver” nation. This means that the concepts of stewardship and caring for others are very important to those of us from this nation. We are called to release life-giving generational blessings into family lines. We are called to produce life-giving systems through holiness and intimacy with God. The United States is a “prophet/ruler” nation where concepts like freedom and helping others to walk in their callings are important. Superstates in which nations relinquish their national identities are not God’s idea.
God is Shaking Things
God is shaking things at this time. He is the One behind the shaking. This is as true for us as individuals as it is for our nations: “When God spoke from Mount Sinai His voice shook the earth, but now He makes another promise: ‘Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.’ This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain” (Heb. 12:26-27).
The Greek word for “removed” is “metathesis.” This means “transfer: from one place to another.” However, it also means “change.” This is important because this shaking is not meant for our destruction (even though it hurts) but for our transformation.
In this season in which God has pressed the pause button on our economies and our lives, it is time to allow Him to work deeply in us, to root out all of our fears, pain and busyness. As we do, He will change and prepare us for the major positive moves of God that await.