As we wait for society to “re-open”, the NY Metro area is still battling the virus. The numbers are the highest in the nation and are being monitored daily. Long Island is the epicenter. Each day a count is taken of those who have contracted the virus, hospital admissions, those who have recovered, the number of patients on ventilators, the loss of precious human life. It’s important data.
The protection protocol has been in place for weeks. Is there anything we can do as believers to see a shift in the numbers, besides the social distancing measures that have been mandated?
I believe there is. Praying specifically. A lot of our prayer has been focused on protection, and healing, and provision. Great petitions. Many of us have responded to the call for repentance, even repenting on behalf of our nation. I would like to suggest this focus: Let’s do what our ancestor David did when he was faced with an out of control plague. He threw himself on the mercy of God.
The backstory: It was a terrible day for David after he ordered a census of the fighting men. Earlier in Israel’s history God commanded Moses to take a head count from each of the tribes of Israel. But the Chronicler tells us that Satan incited this action. Whether it was THE Accuser, capital “S” or just a satan, we do not know. What we do know is that it triggered the anger of the Almighty. After all, what was behind David’s success? His prosperity? His political prowess as a king? No, it was God.
No sooner had the edict been issued, David knew he was in trouble. How would he recover?
v10 David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” David owns his ill-fated action. Good first step. However, repentance doesn’t erase consequences, which often impact the lives of the innocent or in the case of the virus, the vulnerable – those with compromised immune systems or other health issues. God gives him 3 choices:
3 years of famine
3 months of being pursued by enemies
3 days of a plague
I love David’s response: “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.” The plague spreads and 70k died in three days! Those numbers are severe and unnerving, to say the least.
However, the story doesn’t end. David sees the angel of the Lord armed and ready to destroy Jerusalem. Yet the Lord decides not to go through with this punitive action. Why? As per the instructions of the prophet Gad: v25 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
My dear friends, what can we do as God’s people? Build an altar of worship; offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Appeal to the mercy of God. Prayer is not arm twisting. It is not begging. It is not telling God what to do. It is appealing to the heart of God on behalf of those who are suffering. It is praying for mercy on behalf of those caring for the infected, on behalf of those who have suffered loss. It is praying the Latin phrase: Kyrie Eleison, Lord have mercy
There is a moving song that became popular during the Brownsville Revival. (written by someone I knew as a teenager from a neighboring church) It’s titled Lord Have Mercy(Kyrie, Christe)
Yes, do what we can on the human level. All the while fighting the battle on a higher level in prayer and in worship.
Mercy me, Mercy us