Look Up

“and My people who are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Sky

We are living through extraordinary times. Nearly every corner of the globe has been affected by the coronavirus, with multitudes getting sick and many dying. Reactions to this pandemic have been varied. Some see it as no more than a conspiracy of sorts, a way for more government control and intervention in every day life. Others see it as a very serious plague, often panicking and buying as much food and supplies as they can in order to be ready for prolonged quarantine. Still others are somewhere in between, seeing the severity of the situation, but still trying to maintain a cheerful and positive outlook. After all, “A joyful heart is good medicine. But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22).

There is no doubt that many are suffering because of the situation. For some, even though they are healthy, they cannot risk visiting elderly parents or have the parents stay with them for fear of putting the parents at risk of getting sick. Social distancing is affecting many who want to see friends and family. So it is not just the illness itself that is causing pain, it is its social consequences of it as well. 

Much can be said about the implications of this virus on society. I am sure researchers of many fields will study it for years to come, be it the effects on economy, politics, social life, family dynamics (hey, many parents are learning to enjoy family time, while others don’t know how to cope with long-term, constant contacts with spouse and children) and so forth. But one thing I doubt will be the subject of many studies in the future is how people relate to God during this time.

There are several instances of plagues described in scripture. Most notable are the plagues with which God smote Egypt while Israel was enslaved there. Another, when God punished Israel after King David numbered the nation without receiving God’s command to do so. King David, when asked to choose which punishment to receive for his actions, chose a plague, because he said “Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man” (2 Samuel 24:14).  

We don’t know why this pandemic is occurring now, and I certainly am not saying God sent it. An important application for us though, is that when such events happened throughout Israel’s history, people turned back to God, The people’s repentance brought about healing. God gave His Word in the passage above, that if people call upon Him, He will heal their land. But there are a few things the people need to do first: (1) They need to humble themselves. How difficult that is these days, when people and nations fall into the trap of “me, myself and I”, giving themselves the glory and praise. (2) They need to seek His face – This comes only after realising we don’t have the power or the capability to deal with a situation and the answer is not found with us, but with Him. (3) They need to turn from their wicked ways. This is even harder to do. What are these wicked ways? Hurting others, mocking, stepping on others for personal gain, lying, cheating, pride and thinking we know better than God, killing innocents babies (a/k/a abortion), distorting God’s truth (also about his plan for marriage and families). The list goes on and on.      

In today’s world, it is difficult to change one’s ways, admitting they are evil and contrary to God’s will. How can we expect God to help us if we continue to do what He hates? If our nation, if our world, would only realise how far we have drifted from God, how we have insulted Him, turned our backs on Him and even denied He even exists. Despite all that, if the world would now turn back to Him – He is faithful and just to answer and forgive, and if He so chooses, to heal our lands. 

No human being has the power to stop this pandemic and we know the Lord’s “…mercies are great…”. Let us respond differently from all the incorrect responses above. Towards God, let us humble ourselves, seek His face, turn from our wicked ways and call upon Him. The results will follow, and healing will come, because God is not a man that He should lie. And towards man – this is the time to lend a helping hand, open our eyes to those in need and show grace and compassion. There is no restriction on those – even from a distance. 

Stay safe.

© Hannah Kramer

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation

Hi,

I am sharing something my brother wrote regarding the coronavirus. Translated from Hebrew and shared originally in the young adults group.

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-16 at 19.21.21

Sadly, this past weekend’s hard storm in Eilat left massive destruction in the coral reef. Not only did it damage scientific projects, but it damaged the beauty and richness of the animals dependent on the reefs for their lives. 

“For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Romans 8:22). This is a harsh and painful reminder of the consequences of sin that has entered the world. Like creation, we too, await the day when we will be free from destruction, illnesses and death in the world.

“…’Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” (Mark 4:41). The Lord Yeshua is in control over everything, over natural and super natural forces, including coronavirus 😷. He has the power to restrain and stop and on the other hand, do nothing if He chooses so. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.” (Psalm 33:11), and as Job said: “‘I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted’ (Job 42:2).

We love to be in control and know what is going on. I think that somewhere the coronavirus shattered this illusion and reveals to us the reality that we aren’t really in control…We can’t go wherever we want, for some of us, work and studies are stopped, there is a lot of sadness, anxiety and so forth. No doubt that the year 2020 is a very interesting and challenging one! I believe the coronavirus is teaching us to look at life with proportion, at things that really matter.

How interesting that at the first young adults’ meeting this year, we spoke about how our faith is exercised in the most challenging and difficult times of our lives. Is it not during difficult times that we should place our trust in the Lord Yeshua? As you noticed, we don’t have fellowship gatherings now and we have heard countless times how the Body is not a building. We don’t need a special place to gather, pray, read or even worship! Let’s remember to be a light in this dark time: to allow others to pass us in line at the supermarket, to be with self restraint and patience with everyone, to ask others in the faith (and not only in the faith) how they are doing and to seek opportunities to show God’s love.

Have a blessed week and remember: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners” (James 4:8)  🧼 🙌🏼

© Nati Kramer

Picture by Nati

עֲצַת יְהוָה, לְעוֹלָם תַּעֲמֹד; מַחְשְׁבוֹת לִבּוֹ, לְדֹר וָדֹר

Hi,

I am sharing something my brother wrote regarding the corona virus. It is in Hebrew.

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-16 at 19.21.21

לצערי הרב, בסופ״ש האחרון הסופה הקשה באילת הותירה אחריה הרס רב לחיים בשונית האלמוגים. לא רק שזה פגע
בפרויקטים מדעיים, אלא זה פגע ביופי ובעושר של בע״ח התלויים באלמוגים למחייתם. ״אָנוּ יוֹדְעִים שֶׁכָּל הַבְּרִיאָה נֶאֱנַחַת וְסוֹבֶלֶת כִּבְצִירֵי לֵדָה עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה״ (רומים ח׳ 22). זו תזכורת קשה וכואבת לתוצאות הבאות בעקבות כניסת החטא לעולם. כמו הבריאה, גם אנחנו מחכים ליום מגיע שבו נשתחרר מההרס, המחלות והמוות ששוררים בעולם.

״…מִי הוּא זֶה שֶׁגַּם הָרוּחַ וְהַיָּם נִשְׁמָעִים לוֹ?״, (מרקוס ד׳:41). האדון ישוע הוא בשליטה על הכל, על הכוחות הטבעיים והעל טבעיים, וכלל זה גם על הקורונה 😷 יש לו את הכוח להגביל ולעצור, ומצד שני גם לא לעשות כלום אם יחפץ בכך. ״עֲצַת יְהוָה, לְעוֹלָם תַּעֲמֹד; מַחְשְׁבוֹת לִבּוֹ, לְדֹר וָדֹר״, וכמו שאיוב אמר: ״יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי-כֹל תּוּכָל; וְלֹא-יִבָּצֵר מִמְּךָ מְזִמָּה״ (איוב מ״ב 2)

אנחנו אוהבים להיות בשליטה ולדעת מה קורה. אני חושב שבאיזשהו מקום הקורונה ניפצה לנו את בועת האשלייה הזו, וחושפת בפנינו את המציאות שאנחנו לא באמת בשליטה… אנחנו לא יכולים ללכת לכל מקום שנרצה, לחלקנו מקומות העבודה והלימודים שלנו נפגעו, הרבה עצב, חרדה וכו׳. אין ספק ששנת 2020 היא שנה מעניינת ומאתגרת כאחד! אני מאמין שהקורונה מלמדת אותנו גם להסתכל על החיים בפרופורציה, על הדברים שבאמת חשובים

כמה מעניין שבמפגש צעירים הראשון השנה, דיברנו על כך שהאמונה שלנו באה לידי ביטוי בתקופות הכי מאתגרות וקשות בחיינו. האם זה לא בזמנים קשים שאנו צריכים לשים ביטחוננו באדון? כמו ששמתם לב, אין כרגע אסיפות בקהילה, ושמענו אינספור פעמים שהקהילה היא לא רק בניין. אנחנו לא צריכים איזה מקום מיוחד כדי להתחבר, להתפלל, לקרוא, ואפילו להלל! בואו נזכור להיות אור בתקופה חשוכה: לאפשר לאחרים לעקוף אותנו בתור בסופר, להתנהג באיפוק ובסבלנות עם כולם, לשאול לשלומם של אחרים באמונה (וגם לא באמונה), ולחפש הזמנויות להראות את אהבת אלוהים.

שיהיה לכולם שבוע מבורך, וזכרו: ״הַחוֹטְאִים, רַחֲצוּ יְדֵיכֶם! (יעקב ד׳ 8)

© Nati Kramer

Picture by Nati