Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Second Kings, which describes the days of the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah, as well as the kings which ruled and reigned therein. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters five through eight of this Old Testament book. WOULD GOD MY LORD WERE WITH THE PROPHET THAT IS IN SAMARIA! FOR HE WOULD RECOVER HIM OF HIS LEPROSY! HE SHALL KNOW THAT THERE IS A PROPHET IN ISRAEL! (WHEN RECOVERY DOESN’T LOOK LIKE WHAT YOU EXPECTED! WHEN RECOVERY DOESN’T HAPPEN THE WAY YOU WANTED IT TO!) I THOUGHT, HE WOULD SURELY COME OUT TO ME, AND STAND, AND CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD HIS GOD, AND STRIKE HIS HAND OVER THE PLACE, AND RECOVER THE LEPER! WHAT IF RECOVERY DOESN’T LOOK LIKE WHAT WE EXPECTED? WHAT IF RECOVERY IS IT A TIME TO RECEIVE MONEY, AND TO RECEIVE GARMENTS, AND OLIVEYARDS, AND VINEYARDS, AND SHEEP, AND OXEN, AND MENSERVANTS, AND MAIDSERVANTS? WHEN THE ENEMY BESIEGES AND A FAMINE LAYS HOLD OF THE LAND! AN ENEMY ROUND ABOUT AND A FAMINE IN THE MIDST! TAKE A PRESENT IN THINE HAND, AND GO, MEET THE MAN OF GOD, AND INQUIRE OF THE LORD BY HIM, SAYING, SHALL I RECOVER OF THIS DISEASE? THY SON BEN-HADAD KING OF SYRIA HATH SENT ME TO THEE, SAYING, SHALL I RECOVER OF THIS DISEASE? GO, AND SAY UNTO HIM, THOU MAYEST CERTAINLY RECOVER! HOWBEIT THE LORD HATH SHEWED ME THAT HE SHALL SURELY DIE! THE LANGUAGE OF RECOVERY! When you come to this particular passage you will find it opening up with the narrative of Naaman who was the captain of the host of the king of Syria. In the opening verses of the fifth chapter of this Old Testament book we find that Naaman was captain of the host of the king of Syria, and that he was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria. Morever, we also read and discover within this passage that Naaman was also a mighty man in valour, however, he was a leper. What makes the language that is written and contained within this passage so incredibly intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that Naaman the captain of the host of the king of Syria—Syria you will recall waged war and battle against the northern and kingdom of Israel on more than one occasion. In the previous Old Testament book you will find there were specific times when Ben-Hadad set himself in array against the northern kingdom of Israel, and how he had come against Samaria and the kingdom of Israel to overthrow, to unsettle, and to overtake it. On two occasions we find Elijah the prophet declaring unto Ahab the king of Israel that the LORD would grant great victory over the Syrians, and it would take place just as the prophet and man of God spoke. In the final chapter of the book of First Kings, however, we find it written concerning the battle that would take place between Syria and Israel that it would be during this battle that Ahab the king of Israel would be fatally wounded by an arrow, and would ultimately die in his own chariot as the blood ran from his wound.
It is quite intriguing to think about and consider the fact that when you come to the fifth chapter of the book of Second Kings you will find the narrative shifting from the northern kingdom of Israel to Syria, as there was an apparent connection between the northern kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Syria. It is absolutely undeniable to read the books of First and Second Kings and not see an apparent link and connection between the northern kingdom of Israel and Syria, and even when the prophet Elijah was at the mountain of God in the wilderness, he was instructed by the LORD to anoint Jehu king over Israel. Hazael as king over Syria, and Elisha as that man who would minister as prophet in his stead. As we come to the fifth chapter of the book of Second Kings we find the prophetic life and ministry of Elisha in full swing, as Elisha was clearly a man of prophetic insight, as well as one who worked various miracles in the midst of the land. In fact, it would be the prophet Elisha who would not only prophesy concerning the woman from Shunem that she would conceive and bring forth a son, but later on when her son grew sick and ultimately died, it would be Elisha who would entreat the living God on behalf of her son that he might be revived and live again. I feel a great need to pause at this juncture and call your attention to two realities and concepts which are found within this particular passage of Scripture—namely, resurrection and recovery. If you read the words which are written and found within these chapters you will find at least three different accounts of needs of recovery, and at least one account of the need for resurrection. Within this particular passage of Scripture we find Ahaziah king of the nothern kingdom of Israel inquiring of Baal-zebub concerning whether or not he would recover from the illness he suffered after falling through the lattice of his chamber. In the fifth chapter of the book of Second Kings we read of Naaman the captain of the host of Syria, and his recovery from his leprosy after he had obeyed and followed the instruction of the prophet Elisha. In the eighth chapter of this Old Testament book we find and read of Ben-Hadad the king of Syria growing sick, and that during that time it was told him how the man of God had come to Damascus. Upon hearing that Elisha the man of God had come to Damascus, Ben-Hadad would send Hazael unto Elisha the man of God inquiring whether or not he would recover from the disease which had come upon him. It’s worth noting that in the case of Ahaziah, he would not recover; in the case of Naaman he would recover from his leprosy; and in the case of Ben-Hadad, he would recover, however, he would ultimately die.
As you read and consider the words which describe the narrative of Naaman the captain of the host of the king of Syria, you will find that he was a great man, an honorable man, a man of great victory and deliverance, a man of mighty in valour, however, he was also a leper. It would be during one of the conquests of the host of Syria that they would bring away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid who would end up waiting on Naaman’s wife. What I find to be so absolutely astonishing and remarkable during this time is that there is no indication that Naaman sought by any means to be cured of his leprosy, and that he had made any such inquiry whether or not it was possible for him to be cleansed of his leprosy. We are given absolutely no clue, nor any indication into the heart and mind of Naaman, and yet Scripture records and brings us face to face with the fact that this little maid who had been taken out of the northern kingdom of Israel spoke unto her mistress, and declared unto her concerning her husband, and that he were with the prophet that was in Samaria. What makes her language so incredibly significant is that immediately after she speaks of her master being with the prophet in Samaria, she then goes on to declare with full faith, confidence, assurance, and trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would be able to cure and cleanse Naaman of his leprosy, and that he would recover from the leprosy. I have to admit that I absolutely love what is written and recorded within this passage, for what we find within this passage is a truly wonderful and powerful picture—not only of the confidence of this little maid who ministered unto the wife of Naaman, but also of her confidence and assurance in both the man of God, as well as the God of the man concerning her master. This little maid firmly believed that if Naaman was in the company and presence of the man of God that was in Samaria, he would surely recover of his leprosy. This little maid not only believed in the prophet of the LORD, but she also believed in the LORD of the prophet, and that if her master but entered into the presence of the prophet of the LORD, he would recover from his leprosy. This is truly astonishing and remarkable when you think about it, for not only do we find this little maid still speaking of the goodness, the compassion, the grace and the mercy of the living God in the midst of her captivity, but we also find a certain confidence and assurance within her heart and spirit concerning the prophet of the LORD and the LORD of the prophet. This little maid would speak directly unto her mistress who was the wife of Naaman and would plant the seed in her heart that the leprosy of her husband might be healed and cleansed, and that he might be restored.
Please pay close attention to the words which are written and recorded within this passage, for when you consider the words and language that is found therein you will find and consider the awesome declaration that although Naaman was a leprosy—if he entered into the presence of the prophet of the LORD, he would surely recover from his leprosy. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for this is now the second time within five chapters in the book we find the language of recovery. As I have already mentioned, we first find the mention and language of recovery in the heart of Ahaziah king of the northern kingdom of Israel, as he would inquire of Baal-zebub the false god of Ekron concerning his recovery of the disease which had come upon him as a direct result of his falling through the lattice of his upper chamber. In the case of Ahaziah the word of the LORD would come unto the prophet Elijah, and he would emphatically rebuke Ahaziah concerning his sending to inquire of the false god of Ekron, and the prophet would ask him concerning whether or not it was because there was no God in Israel that he would send and inquire of the false god of Ekron. I have to admit that I absolutely love the question which the prophet Elijah presented unto Ahaziah, for I am convinced that it is a question that is becoming and has become a powerful question that is and has been asked during the days in which we are living. During a day in which men and women are becoming infected with a virus that has swept the entire world, the single greatest question that is being asked is whether or not men and women are going to recover from the disease. Most who have contracted and become infected with this virus end up in the hospital and are being cared for by doctors, by nurses, by medical staff and personnel. There is not a doubt in my question that those who have been infected with this virus are asking whether or not they can and will recover from it. Undoubtedly the family members and loved ones of those who have been infected with this virus are asking whether or not those whom they care about can and will recover from this virus. I would even dare say that doctors, nurses, medical staff and personnel are wondering with each and every patient that enters into their care whether or not they can and will recover from the virus that has taken place within their bodies. One of the most powerful questions that is being asked by the general public—one that has its root and foundation in fear, in doubt, in uncertainty, in anxiety, and in confusion—is whether or not if you have become infect with the virus you will recover. There are countless men and women among us during this time who might not have become infected with this virus, but are wondering whether or not if they do contract the virus if they will or won’t recover from it. There is perhaps no question that is more powerful in the hearts and minds of men and women during this time than whether or not they themselves, their loved ones, or their family members and friends will recover from the virus—particularly and especially considering the fact that so many have died from this virus already.
While one of the most powerful questions that has been asked, and continues to be asked concerns the virus itself and whether or not men and women can and will recover from it, there is a secondary question that is being asked during these days. The question that is being asked is not a question pertaining to physical health, but is a question that pertains to economic health, capital health, and national health. There is a secondary question that is being asked during these days, and it is a question that economists, political leaders, government officials, and men and women within and throughout this nation have been asking. This secondary question recognizes and acknowledges the tremendous toll this virus has had on the economy, as it has officially and completely shut down entire nations in the midst of the earth. This virus has entered into the global arena like a wrecking ball that has grounded and brought everything to a standstill. As a direct result of this virus, and in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, buildings, companies, organizations and the like have been shut down. The price of oil recently fell below $0 for the first time in history, and national borders are being closed off to outsiders. Restaurants, movie theaters, bars, pubs, bowling alleys, and the like are being shut down. Any business that is not considered “essential” has either converted their staff to working from home, or have laid off and furloughed most—if not all of their staff. In just a month’s time there has been a record twenty-two plus million men and women who have filed for unemployment because the company they worked for has had to make the difficult decision to let them go. The government implemented a program that would provide loans to small businesses in order to keep them afloat provided they don’t lay off any of their staff. Entire cities and states are being shut down as a result of this virus, and men and women are being hunkered down in their homes. I must pause here and emphatically state that I do believe the underlying message of this isolation, self-quarantine and being confined to homes is a strong and powerful cry of the Spirit of the living God to the nations of the earth to run and not walk into the secret closet, to shut the door behind them, and to humble themselves, to pray, to seek the face of God, and to turn from their wicked ways. This national and global call for “shelter in place” is perhaps one of the most powerful calls to enter into the secret closet that I have ever witnessed and ever beheld in my life. Perhaps even more important than when the events of September 11th took place, and perhaps more important than when the economy crashed back in 2008 the call to enter into the secret closet of prayer is the strongest it has ever been.
It is during this time where churches and houses of worship have been forced to shut their doors, as per federal and local government orders and restrictions, they have been unable to to gather together in groups greater than two. (As a side note, it’s absolutely remarkable that Jesus declared where two or more are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst.) I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t something prophetic about the decree in the land for no more than groups of two to be gathered together, as there is a profound and powerful call for two—perhaps even three—to gather themselves together in prayer, in intercession, in worship, in fasting, in weeping, and in mourning before and in the presence of the living God. I have long believed that there is something different about the times in which we are currently living and experiencing, for it is during this time that the churches are closed to the public and closed to the outside. It is during this time where churches are no longer opened, and men and women cannot freely come into the house of the LORD to worship and to seek His face. When the events which took place nineteen years ago hit, and when the events which took place twelve years ago hit, the churches and church buildings were still open. During this time, however, the churches are no longer opened, and the doors are shut. It is during this time when men and women are forced to face this crisis within their own homes, and many have encountered and come face to face with the fact that not only were they not prepared for this crisis, but also they didn’t know how to handle this crisis. They didn’t how to spend so much time together with their spouse. They didn’t know how they were going to spend so much time with their kids and how they would now enter into homeschooling their kids. They didn’t know how to stop and rest within their homes and to simply slow down from the always busy and fast pace they have been going. They didn’t know how to work from home and how to have their work life and personal life be intertwined and joined together. As a direct result of this pandemic and crisis, men and women are coming face to face with the absolutely terrifying reality that not only were they not ready for this, but neither were they prepared for it. What’s more, is that they are forced to contend and deal with this in their own homes—perhaps even without the help, the guidance, the assistance of those before and around them. No longer can they go to the house of the LORD, and no longer can they go to the altar in the house of the LORD, but now they are faced with the decision whether or not they will try and weather this storm on their own, or whether or not they will seek the face of the living and eternal God.
This current crisis has brought nations, political leaders, world rulers, governments, and the like to their knees as they have encountered something they weren’t prepared to handle. As a direct result of what has taken place during these days state and federal governments have tried to do anything and everything they can to try and deal with and cope with what has come upon and befallen us. National and state leaders have worked as hard as they can to try and get a handle on this, and the whole time this has been taking place among us in our midst the underlying and foreboding question is whether or not we can and will recover. The underlying question in the hearts and minds of countless men and women during this time is whether or not the economy is going to recover from this. Men and women are going to ask if they are going to recover from the tremendous loss they have taken when their business has been forced to shut down. Many men and women have come face to face with the question of whether or not they will recover after losing their job because the company they worked for downsized in order to stay afloat. This entire Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program is a means by which men and women are asking themselves whether or not they can and will recover from the tremendous blow and hit they have taken as a result of this virus and pandemic. Countless businesses that have been forced to downsize are wondering whether or not they can and will recover from the losses which they have suffered due to this current pandemic, as they have seen gains completely and utterly wiped out. The oil industry is wondering if it will indeed recover during this time as oil prices plunged below $0 for the first time in history. There is not a doubt in my mind that perhaps the single greatest question that is being asked during these days is that of “Will we recover?” What’s more, is I would dare say there is a second question that is being asked during this time, which is simply “Will I recover?” I would even dare say there are men and women who might very well ask the question if they even can recover from this particular crisis and pandemic. There are countless men and women who have absolutely no trust, no confidence and no hope within their hearts and souls during this time, and they are wondering how they can recover from this current crisis—if even at all. I am firmly convinced that the word “Recover” is perhaps one of—if not the single greatest word that is being used right now, for men and women are wondering how, if and/or when they might be able to recover and come out on the other side of this. What’s more, is that during these days I am convinced that men and women aren’t merely asking whether or not they will recover, and whether or not we will recover, but they are also asking a question that is so closely joined and intrinsically linked that it could very well be the same question. As surely and as much as people are asking whether or not it is possible to recover from this current crisis, men and women are asking a secondary question—namely, whether or not life can and/or will ever go back to normal. As much as men and women are asking and wondering if it is possible to recover from this, there are men and women who are asking whether or not it is possible to return to normal. There have even been countless news headlines that present the question of whether or not the other side of this crisis will be the normal we were and have been used to, or whether or not there will somehow be a “new normal” that awaits us on the other side of this crisis.
THE QUESTION OF RECOVERY AND THE LANGUAGE OF NORMALCY! The more I think about and consider the words which are written and recorded within these chapters the more I can’t help but come face to face with what is presented before us during this time within the northern kingdom of Israel. Within the first eight chapters of the Old Testament book of First Kings we find the language of recovery used three different times and in reference to three different individuals. In the first and opening chapter of this book we find Ahaziah the son of Ahab and Jezebel sending messengers and servants unto Baal-zebub the god of the Philistine city Enron to see if he would recover from his illness. In the fifth chapter of this same book we find a little Hebrew maid girl who ministered unto Naaman’s wife speak unto her about her master going unto Samaria and entering into the presence of the prophet of the LORD, for he would surely recover him of his leprosy. In the eighth chapter of this same book we find Ben-Hadad sending Hazael one of his servants unto the prophet Elisha upon his arrival in Damascus to inquire whether or not he would recover from his sickness. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of each of these realities, for out of the three of these examples we find two of the three individuals recovering. What makes these two examples of recovery so absolutely remarkable and astounding is when you think about and consider the fact that in the two cases when the individuals recovered from that which was within and upon their physical bodies, there was a direct connection with the prophetic. In the case of Naaman he was thrust upon the presence, the person and the power of the prophetic as a direct result of the young Hebrew maid who spoke of him in the hearing of his wife. In the case of Ben-Hadad he too would be thrust into and upon the presence of the prophetic, as the prophet Elisha would enter into Damascus during that time. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for it brings us face to face with the remarkable and astounding reality concerning the process of recovery. I have written several times concerning the question that seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind during this time—namely, whether or not we are going to recover from the crisis and pandemic that has crippled the nations of the earth. Throughout the past several weeks local, national and world leaders have all asked the question at least one time or another whether or not we can recover from this crisis, and whether or not we can and will come out on the other side.
It’s at this juncture where I feel the need to pause and speak to something I believe the LORD showed me in prayer this meaning. There is a lot of talk during these times about “essential” workers and those who are essentially on the front lines of this current pandemic and crisis. If you read the news headlines, or listen to any news podcasts, or watch any of the major news networks you will find countless stories regarding doctors, nurses, medical staff, hospitals, and how they are on the front lines fighting this pandemic. Perhaps even more than police officers, firefighters, and those who are outside of the medical field, these individuals have been hailed and heralded as the most essential workers during this time. Before I go any further I feel the tremendous need to emphatically declare that I am in no way diminishing what our doctors, what our nurses, and what our medical staff and personnel do on a daily basis. God and all of heavens knows how brave, how courageous, how committed, how tenacious, how dedicated, and how passionate they all are. God knows how tired, how weary, how worn out, how exhausted, and how overwhelmed they all must be and feel right now. I firmly believe that we would be in a much worse state right now were it not for the brave and courageous work of each and every one of our doctors and nurses who are working tirelessly during this time. We would not be where we are right now were it not for their selfless and sacrificial efforts to care for the sick and the needy during this time. It is absolutely indisputable that the need before us right now is truly great, and that there have been countless men and women who have risen up upon hearing the call to help those who are in need and those who cannot take care of themselves. We must recognize that within and throughout the nations of the earth there is truly a great and tremendous need that is before us, and we cannot, we dare not, we must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing and tremendous reality. What’s more, is we must not diminish or minimize the need that is before us, for the need is truly great, and there are truly countless thousands of men and women who desperately need care within and throughout the fifty states of this nation. Not only within this country, but within countries within and throughout the world there are countless thousands more individuals who are in desperate need of medical attention and assistance, and were it not for the brave and heroic efforts of doctors, nurses and medical staff they might not be able to survive and make it through this current pandemic. There is not a doubt in my mind that during this time there are countless men and women who are trusting and relying upon the medical knowledge and expertise of those into whose care they have been thrust.
With all of this being said, I felt the Spirit reveal and speak something into my heart and into my spirit as I was walking in prayer this morning. There is a lot of talk about “essential” workers during this time, and there are countless definitions that have been given concerning those who are in fact essentially during this time. There has been a lot of talk and communication that has been given during this time about essential businesses which need to and should remain open, as well as essential workers. It’s interesting that during a time like this the ones who make the most money are being and effectively have been rendered useless and absolutely powerless. Oh sure they can donate funds and moneys to relief efforts, and to help combat and fight this virus that has swept throughout and across the globe, but all of a sudden major and professional sports such as Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League are deemed non-essential. All of a sudden actors and actresses are no longer deemed as being necessary and essential during this time as shows which were scheduled to be filmed are all of a sudden being put off until a later date. Movies which would have and should have been filmed during this are being pushed back, and there is no telling when they will actually begin filming and beginning production. I have to admit that I am absolutely and utterly amazed when I think about and consider this radical definition of what essential businesses are during this time period, and even who the essential workers truly are. We dare not, we cannot, and must not make the mistake of thinking—even for a moment—that the entire medical field and profession is not an essential work during this time. There is absolutely no mistaking that the medical field is perhaps the single greatest and single most important work during this time—at least in the natural and physical realm. It is during this time when we encounter and come face to face with the fact of just how necessary and vital this field has been all along, and how it has perhaps more often than not gone overlooked and not given as much credit as it should be given. Buildings are lighting up blue, public transits are engaging in honking their horns, and people are engaged in applauding the heroic and brave work of doctors, nurses and medical staff and personnel during this time. There is not a doubt in my mind that the most essential workers during this time—at least in the natural and physical realm—is in fact each and every doctor, each and every nurse, as well as all the medical personnel. What’s more, is I would even dare say that some of the most heroic and bravest people during this time are those who work in our grocery stores and supermarkets which remain open to accommodate the needs of men and women who are working to ensure that they stay fed and are able to survive during this time. I would be remiss to not include the countless men and women who faithfully work in our Walmarts, in our Targets, in our CVS’, in our Walgreens’, and in each and every one of our grocery stores and supermarkets. I shudder to think about what would and could happen during this time if these businesses shut down, and if all of a sudden men and women no longer had access to all the food and supplies we would normally have access to. It is absolutely necessary that we encounter and come face to face with this absolutely incredible reality, for it has the ability to dramatically alter and transform how we think about and view what is taking place during this current time.
As I continue along these lines of “essential” business and “essential” workers, I firmly believe that when walking in prayer this morning the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD highlighted essential workers that are perhaps not even being spoken about. Would it both shock and surprise you to think and consider that you yourself are an essential worker? You who are reading these words—would it surprise you to hear and to even think about the fact that you could be an essential worker during this time? You might be sitting there and wondering how I could make such a statement, and how I could even suggest that you are an essential worker, and yet the truth of the matter is that if you are a saint and servant of the most High God you are an essential worker. I firmly believer within the very depths of my heart and soul that the single greatest essential worker during this time—both in the physical, as well as the spiritual and supernatural realm—is not necessarily the doctors, the nurses and the medial personnel, but rather the saints and servants of the living God. If you think about it—doctors and nurses can care for you while you are battling with, fighting against, and trying to survive this virus, but they can only care for your physical body. There is absolutely nothing that can be done on their parts to care for your soul or your spirit during this time, and many are focused on doing everything they can to ensure that you receive the best possible medical care and attention you can during this time. There is a particular passage found in Scripture where Jesus speaks about not fearing those who have the ability to kill the body, but to fear the one who has the ability to not only kill the body, but also to cast the soul into hell. I would like to take a different look at that verse and not necessarily speak of fearing those who have the ability to kill the body, but speak of those who perhaps have the ability to save the body. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we should not fear those who have the ability to kill the body alone, but cannot touch the soul and spirit within this outer shell, and with that being said, I would dare say that while must not fear those who have the ability to kill the body, we must recognize the limitations of those who have the ability to save the physical body, and yet can do nothing about the eternal soul and spirit that is present within you. Doctors, nurses and medical personnel can in fact work tirelessly and religiously to help provide you with the best care you can possibly receive, however, they can do absolutely nothing about your eternal state, nor can they do anything about your eternal soul and spirit that is present within this outer shell.
The more I move into and within this writing, the more I am coming face to face with the astonishing and captivating reality that the most essential workers during this time are not necessarily those who have the ability to care for the physical body and can do nothing more after death, but those who are willing to care for, look after, and provide for the souls and spirits of men. The most essential workers during this time are those who perhaps aren’t even stepping up and doing that which they have been called, commanded and commissioned to do. I firmly believe the Spirit of the living God spoke to the very depths and core of my being today and highlighted the fact the most essential workers during this time are those laborers whom the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD has called and raised up for such a time as this. I believe there is a clarion and powerful call during this time for the laborers and workers of Jesus the Christ to stand and rise up, and to begin fulfilling the Great Commission. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—what are you doing during this time to look after, to care for, and to minister to the countless men and women who are hurting, who are broken, who are discouraged, who are depressed, who are confused, who are angry, who are bitter, who are frustrated during this period of time? What are you as a saint and servant of the living God doing during this time to minister to the broken-hearted and those who are downcast of soul? In the first eight chapters were find three different accounts of those who wondered if they would recover from that which plagued and gripped their body, and one who was thrust into the presence of the prophetic because of the word spoken by a Hebrew maid. In the case of Naaman the captain of the host of the Syrian army, and in the case of Ben-Hadad the king of Syria—both found themselves in the place of wondering if it was possible to recover from that which plagued their physical bodies. For Naaaman, he was curious and wondered whether or not he could recover, be healed and be cleansed from the leprosy that was upon his physical form. For Ben-Hadad we find him inquiring of the prophet Elisha whether or not he would recover from his sickness. In both cases of these men we find them in the presence of the prophet, and yet the outcome for them was completely and entirely different. For Naaman he would in fact recover and be cleansed of his leprosy, yet for Ben-Hadad—although he would recover from his sickness, he would ultimately die because Hazael whom Elijah anointed to be the next king of Syria would murder him. The point that I am trying to make during this time is that of underscoring and highlighting the work that needs to be done during this time and those whom the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is calling to rise up and to fulfill the calling, the destiny, the plan and purpose that is upon their lives. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the final chapters of the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, as well as the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the gospel written by John, and the ninth chapter of the gospel written by Matthew:
“As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of devils. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the LORD of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38).
“IN the mean while His disciples prayed Him, saying Master, eat. But He said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, hath any man brought Him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that Soweto and he that repeats may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that where on ye bestowed no labour: other men labour Ed, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:31-38).
“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:16-20).
“Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they say at meat, and upbradied them with their unbelief and harness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall e saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the LORD had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and say on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the LORD working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:14-20).
“And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:44-53).
“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, LORD, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them, I ‘tis not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:4-8).
Each of these passages brings us face to face with the fact that there is truly and there is indeed a work that is before us. What’s more, is that these passages reveals the undeniable fact that there is a harvest which is before us, and we have been called and sent into the harvest as sheep among wolves who are instructed to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. With these words Jesus emphatically and boldly declares unto us that the fields are white and that the harvest is truly plenteous. What’s more, is that Jesus did in fact speak of the reality that the laborers are few—a reality which I am convinced is powerfully portrayed prophetically in the medical field and profession right now. If we are being honest—the need that has been before, and the need that is still before the medical field is too great and too awesome for them, and there has been a constant scramble for more volunteers and more doctors and nurses who are willing to join in the work that is before the countless doctors and nurses that are already working on the front lines right now. We would be entirely remiss to think and consider for a moment that not only is the need too great, but the need is so great that there aren’t and there haven’t been enough men and women to handle that which is before them. I am convinced that what is true in the natural and physical realm is also as true in the spiritual and supernatural realm as there is an even greater need that is before us during this current crisis. I am absolutely convinced that while the laborers are few—and in most cases not enough—in the medical field to help during this time of crisis, I would dare say and feel very strongly in my spirit that the laborers in the midst of a spiritual crisis, in the midst of a spiritual work, and in the midst of a spiritual harvest are few. I am sitting here this morning and I am praying within my heart that during this time of isolation and quarantine the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD calls and invites men and women back into the closet in order that they might emerge from the closet and be able to minister to those who are hurting, those who are discouraged, those who are depressed, those who are downcast, those who are broken, those who feel helpless, those who feel hopeless, those who are angry and upset, those who are bitter and offended, those who have more questions than they do answers. I do not believe this is a time to “get caught up” on all our favor shows, nor is it a time to give ourselves to binge watching new shows—a mindset that is so pervasive during this time. I believe with everything inside of me that this is a time where men and women need to get alone with the Father in the secret close of prayer in order that He might release them into the harvest to reap and gather a harvest that is truly plenteous.
It was while I was walking this morning that I encountered and came face to face with the reality that this time is one of planting and sowing, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus the Christ spoke when He declared that except a kernel of wheat fall to the ground and die it abideth alone. The question that came into my heart and spirit as I was walking and praying this morning is what is going to emerge when the doors are finally opened again—at least to some degree and some measure. I firmly believe this is a time where the Sprit of the Sovereign LORD is hiding, is planting, is sowing, and is truly doing a work in the unseen and invisible realm, and that there is coming a time when the curtain will be pulled back, when that which was planted will spring forth, and when that which has been hidden will emerge and be manifested in the midst of the earth. The question I can’t help but ask concerning the days ahead is what will emerge on the other side of this isolation and quarantine. We are all fully aware of the fact that we have all been self-isolating and self-quarantining, and that we have all been trying to abide by this social distancing mandate in the midst of the world, and yet at the very heart and center of it all I can’t help but wonder what can and will emerge on the other side. In some way and to a certain degree I feel within the very depth of my heart that this time is essentially a form of death and a form of the grave, and that just as Lazarus remained in the grave for four days, there would come a day when Jesus would show up outside the grave and on the other side of the stone. When Jesus showed up outside the grave and on the other side of the stone, not only did He command the stone to be rolled away and removed, but He also commanded that which was dead behind the stone and within the grave to emerge and come forth. Even Jesus Himself was buried in the heart of the earth, and on the third day He rose again by and according to the Spirit of the living God. With this being said, I can’t help but feel as though this is a time of death—and even the grave—and that on the other side of this is Jesus the Christ who is not only calling for the stone to be rolled away, but is also calling for that which has been buried, that which has been hidden, that which has been dead to come forth and to live again. I firmly believe that on the other side of this there is going to be a tremendous awakening and resurrection that will take place. Perhaps it won’t be what we have always thought and perceived as “the third great awakening,” but it will be a resurrection and awakening to a certain degree. I believe that during these days there is a process of hiding—much like Elijah was instructed to hide himself by the brook Cherith before Jordan—as well as a process of burying in order that at the appointed time determined by the LORD that which was hidden might be shown and that which was buried might be raised to life and resurrected.
As I sit here today think about and considering the words which are written and contained within this chapter I can’t help but be drawn to the fact that when Elisha the prophet of the LORD heard that the king of Israel rent his clothes when the messengers of Naaman came to him inquiring of their master’s recovery, he not only asked why he had rent his clothes, but also requested that the men be sent unto him that Naaman and those who were sent might know that there was a prophet in Israel. You will recall that in the opening chapter the prophet Elijah asked Ahzaiah according to the word of the LORD, saying, “What is because there was not a God in Israel,” thus indicating and implying that there was indeed a God in the midst of Israel, and yet he deliberately and intentionally chose to leave Him out of the equation. When we come to the case of Naaman we find the tone and language shifting—not necessarily to whether or not there was a God in the nation of Israel, but also that there was a prophet of the LORD in the land. I am convinced this is absolutely necessary to think about and consider during these days and during these times, for two of the greatest truths that need to be recognized and understood are not only that there is a God in the midst of the land and a God in the midst of the nation, but also that there are prophets of the LORD in the midst of the land. Please note and please understand that when I speak of and reference “prophets” in the midst of the land, I am not specifically and/or exclusively speaking in terms of our definition and understanding of prophets. What I am speaking of is the understanding and knowledge that there are saints and servants of the living God who are working and ministering during these days and during these times. Within and during these days there not only needs to be a thunderous declaration that there is a living and eternal God still among us in our midst, but there are also saints and servants of the LORD. During a time when the reality and concept of essential workers and essential businesses are at the forefront and center of attention in everyone’s minds, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that there is an essential business that is and must be at the forefront of this current crisis and pandemic—namely, the work and business of the Father. There is an essential work and there is an essential business that must be at the very heart of our thinking and understanding during this time, and it is that of the Father and His will, His desire, His pleasure, and His mind. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of Jesus’ own words concerning His being about the Father’s work and His being about the Father’s business:
“And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:48-49).
“But He said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, hath any man brought Him out to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that repeats receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another repeath. I sent you to reap that where on ye bestowed no labour: other men labour Ed, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:32-38).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Imself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into conemdenation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himse;f so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that thane done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge,: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” John 5:19-30).
“Nether hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in Him. I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:3-5).
“Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also my glorify thee: as thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:1-5).
With each of these passages we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely astonishing and remarkable truth that while Jesus was upon the earth—even from a very young age—He knew and understood that He was sent into the world to do the work of the Father, and to be about the Father’s business. It is absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand this particular reality, for during these days we have been called and commanded to not be about our own business, nor be about our own work, but to be about the Father’s business and the Father’s work. During these days we are being called—not only to being passionate about the Father’s house, but also the Father’s business as Jesus Himself was. If you read and study the Scriptures you will notice and discover that Jesus was passionate about His Father’s house as was evident when he overturned the money tables, cast out the money changers, and completely broke up their commerce, merchandise and the like. What’s more, is that Jesus repeatedly declared that He was about His Father’s business, and was about His Father’s work. Jesus moved to work during the day and while it was still the light, for He knew—and even declared—that the day comes when no man can work. The incredibly intriguing reality surrounding this statement is that it is still light and it is still day in this generation, and we have been called to work while it is still day. There is a great and important need before us during these days and within this generation to engage in what is perhaps the most essential work and the most essential business on the face of the planet—namely, working with the eternal fates and statuses of countless men, women and children. While the work which our doctors and nurses do is necessary, I am convinced that there is no greater work than the work of a laborer in Jesus Christ who enters into the field and works with the harvest. There is no greatest business during these days and during this hour that is as essential as the Father’s business of speaking to and winning the lost. Perhaps the greatest question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are and whether or not we have been about the Father’s business. IN a day and time when a number of businesses are being shut down and deemed as being non-essential, we must not ask ourselves what is essential and necessary in the physical and natural realm, but what is necessary in the spiritual and supernatural realm. I can’t help but be reminded of the narrative of Mary and Martha when Martha complained that she was so busy working, and yet Mary chose to simply sit at the feet of Jesus. Jesus corrected Martha’s thinking, and declared unto her that she was busy and cumbered about with many things, but only one thing was needed, and Mary had chosen it. Consider if you will the words which describes this particular narrative concerning Mary and Martha and the exchange in the presence of Jesus, and Jesus’ definition of what was essential and what was necessary:
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about with much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to what is truly essential and who is truly essential during this time period. In a time when what is essential and who is essential is being radically transformed before us, it is absolutely imperative that we recognize those who have always been essential, and that work which has always been essential. We dare not forget the absolutely tremendous reality that the saints and servants of the living God are and have always been essential, and not only play a crucial role in the physical and natural realm, but also play a vital role in the spiritual and supernatural realm. While we might not be able to care for the physical bodies of those who are fighting this virus, and while we might not be able to work on the front lines as doctors, nurses and medical staff are in hospitals and medical facilities throughout the world, we are called to be on the front lines in a different way. There is a different front lines that is not seen with natural eyes, nor is it manifested in the physical and natural realm, but is something that is seen, heard, and felt in the spiritual realm. There is an essential work and there is an essential business that must needs take place during these and during this generation, as there is a great need to look after, care for and minister to the eternal souls and spirits of men and women who are walking through this tremendous valley of the shadow of death. It is absolutely unmistakable to think about this day and time in which we are living in as anything but the valley of the shadow of death, and yet in the midst of this valley of the shadow of death we are being called and have been called to step up on to the front lines in the midst of desperation, in the midst of despair, in the midst of depression, in the midst of despondency, in the midst of hopelessness, in the midst of helplessness. Despite the fact that we are being encouraged to social distance ourselves, and despite the fact that we are being instructed to isolate and self quarantine, we must remember that we have not been instructed to remain silent, and have not been instructed to neglect the calling that is upon our lives. I am convinced that this is a time and an hour—a truly “for such a time as this” moment—when the saints and servants of the living God are being called to step forward and to step up to the front lines, and to be about the Father’s business while it is still the light of day and while the light is still upon us. The day and time is coming when no man can work, and we must heed the call to continue working while it is yet day and while the light of our glorious and gracious Savior is still shining upon us.