Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Act II in the story of Job

This is an amazing paraphrase of Job 1, by Anton Van Reenen, shared with me by a Nigerian colleague.  As we have begun praying daily together as an African and North American team, we have been so blessed and have been growing in praising God, confessing together, and even singing together (through Zoom, which really equals more of a joyful noise than a beautiful harmony).  We bear witness to what this person has re-written in a current version of how the story of Job might sound given COVID-19.

"There was a day that Satan came before the Lord, and the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” 
Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 
And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my church, how they gather every Sunday, and praise and worship My Holy Name. They do this year in and year out, every Sunday morning, all over the world. From the time the sun rises in the east until the sun sets in the west, My Name gets glorified, like a wave washing over all the earth.”
Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Have you not blessed them with health, wealth and prosperity, with which they have built beautiful church buildings, and filled it with amazing technology? Have You not blessed them with all manner of talents that they bring together in these beautiful churches they built and worship You with beautiful music that appeals to their senses?
“But if You stretch out Your hand, and take all that from them, strike them down with a plague or even just the fear of a plague, they will go quiet and worship You no more. This wave of worship, running from the east of the earth to the west, every Sunday morning and evening, will stop, and all will go quiet. Who will worship You then? Who will still make Your Name great?”
And the Lord said to Satan, “They are in your hand.”
So, Satan unleashed a deadly virus upon the earth, and soon churches closed all over the world. Everyone, Christians and Gentiles hunkered down in their homes, and everything went quiet and Satan was standing there, watching, waiting. All the angels were standing in heaven, watching, waiting. God was standing there, watching, waiting, as a great silence fell over all the heavens and all the earth.
Suddenly one angel called out; “Listen!” Another called out; “I hear it too, it’s coming from the East”. In a small living room, in a locked up house, came the sound of a piano being played, and a voice singing;
“Holy, holy, holy,
Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity!”
And another angel called out “Listen, over there, in the West!” The sound of a guitar, coming from a bedroom could be heard with a voice singing;
“All hail King Jesus, All hail Emmanuel!
King of kings, Lord of lords, Bright Morning Star!
And for all eternity, I’ll sing Your praises,
And will reign with You, throughout eternity”
Slowly, from all directions on the earth, the sound of instruments and voices could be heard, louder and louder, until it became a symphony of worship, rising up to heaven. A cacophony of song, praising God, declaring His greatness, thanking Him for His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness. Songs of dedication and declaration, songs of encouragement, songs filled with the joy and peace that can only come from God, sung by thousands of men and women, young and old, wherever they were, accompanied by whatever means they had.

And God turned to Satan and said; “Did you notice, today is Friday, but My people, having been freed from all the business that filled their lives, worship Me every day of the week, for they still know that "I Am!" The wave of worship that runs from Sunrise in the East until Sunset in the West now circles the earth, every day, as the earth circles the sun.”

And all of heaven fell down on their faces and worshipped God, calling out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His Glory!”

And Satan turned and walked away, defeated as he has been since the day of Calvary.

I want to encourage you today, in this unprecedented time in the history of man, to not let your voice go quiet. To not pack your instrument away. All of creation and all of heaven is standing still right at this moment, waiting, watching. Now is the time to make your voice heard throughout the heavens, now is the time to pour out your heart before God.

Our churches might be empty. Our musical instruments silent. Our high tech gadgets useless, but it cannot compare to the instrument God gave you, your VOICE to worship Him. He is not looking for the crowds, just an audience of one. Seek Him in this time. Draw near to Him through worship. If you have never done this before, discover the beauty and blessings that come with intimate, personal worship of God. Your intimate worship of God is all heaven desires to hear! Satan tried to shut us up, but he just released a whole new sound and wave of worship of the church! A church called "YOU"!