April 2020

Monthly topical artices kindly supplied by a regular visiting              

speaker from Northampton: Stan Burditt.

 VIEW FROM THE PULPIT               April 2020

The hand of God

In 1986 during a football match between Argentina and England Diego Maradona claimed to have scored a goal but television replays revealed that he had not headed the ball but had used his hand to hit the ball passed Peter Shilton, the goalkeeper, and into the net.  He celebrated scoring the goal  which the referee and linesman allowed.  This caused much controversy and Maradona said that it was “the hand of God” that scored the goal.  Did Maradona foolishly suggest that he was God or did he state that God allowed him to score the goal with his hand?  It blatantly was an act of deception and even four years later when he sought to apologise to Peter Shilton he would not accept his apology.

Some people today are asking the question “Is the Coronavirus a direct judgment from the hand of God”?  Or what is it?  This poses the question whether the virus is the direct will of God or the permissive will of God.  Maradona mistakenly thought that God would use deception in his direct or permissive will.  When Gods hand is seen in judgment it is directed against people who have violated his laws and behaved in gross wickedness.  The fatal effect of COVID19 is global affecting people from every race and creed and born again believers among them so we conclude that it is not Gods direct will.  In Daniel chapter 5 we read of King Belshazzar  in Babylon, celebrating a great feast and using the holy vessels from the temple in Jerusalem to drink wine and exalt his false gods.  He was startled when the fingers of a mans hand was seen writing upon the plaster of the wall .  The translated words were “you are weighed in the balances and found wanting”.  He died that night.  Jesus said that the finger of God is the Holy Spirit therefore it was Gods hand that pronounced the judgment upon Belshazzar. 

One feels that COVID19 is not the direct judgment of God but rather in his permissive will he is allowing it as a wake up call to all the nations of the world to be aware that he is about to intervene in the world with global judgments, ie the great tribulation.  What we are experiencing today is totally unprecedented.  Throughout the whole world, streets in the main towns and cities are empty of people.  Nations finances have plummeted and borrowing will exceed levels ever seen before.  Lockdown has restricted travel and the craft of airlines are grounded revealing hundreds of aeroplanes parked on the tarmac.  People are asking the question “when will we get back to normal” and “what will the new normal be”? 

Presently there are two ex British Prime Ministers who are proposing organisations that will bring all governments in the world under one administration.  Gordon Brown called for a global government to deal with the current crisis.  Brown said the proposed global taskfroce should oversee and support the medical and economic elements of the crisis.  He proposed that the G20 should be expanded to include all countries.  He said “I would need the executive powers to coordinate the response”.  Similarly Tony Blair (Executive Officer of Institute for Global Change) has also suggested that his organisation has 250 employees in 25 countries already advising governments to work together to combat these mammoth issues. 

The call for global government reminds me of the two beasts of Revelation ch 13.  It says of the beast out of the sea in v 7 & 8 “…and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him”  and of the second beast, out of the land it says v16-18 “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six”. (666)

Peter gives us two references to the hand of God.  The first in 1Peter 3 v 21 & 22 “…by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:  Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.  The right hand of God reveals absolute authority globally and universally.  Christ will ultimately take control of the governance of the world when he returns to earth after the judgments of God have fallen during the Great Tribulation.  Soon he will appear in the air to take the church from earth to heaven and after that the 7 year period of Tribulation will begin.  The seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials are each judgments from the hand of God upon a world that has rejected him.  Peters second reference to the hand of God is in 1 Peter 5 v 5 & 6 “…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time;” People need to see COVID19 as a wake up call, to recognise their own mortality and accountability to God for a life spoiled by sin.  To humble oneself before the Lord by getting on ones knees and asking his forgiveness in repentance and faith.  This might seem hard to do, to turn from that marred life to a saviour who forgives and gives eternal life to those who call upon him.  Peter promises in that verse that all people that humble themselves before the Lord will be exalted in due time.  A few moments of contrition can open up to an eternity of glory.  Hands that were pierced upon the cross will welcome you into his kingdom.

God bless,     

 

Stan Burditt