How appropriate that we’ve arrived at Passover 2020, just when the world needs a breakthrough to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. You see, the first Passover occurred right at the tail end of 10 terrible plagues that struck the nation of Egypt.
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt at the time, desperate for God to do a miracle and break their chains. While the plagues were bad news for the Egyptians, they actually were good news – a sign of coming deliverance – for the people of God.
Remember, the 10 plagues afflicting Egypt were not random events. Each one targeted one of the Egyptian gods. It’s not a stretch to say the coronavirus has played into the hands of God in a similar way, unseating the gods of America from their thrones. Famed wrestler Hulk Hogan said it this way in a recent Instagram post:
God has taken away everything we worship. He said, “You want to worship athletes? I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians? I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors? I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money? I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship me? I will make it so you can’t even go to church.”
As the Bible described long ago, God is shaking everything that can be shaken (Hebrews 12:25-29). Those who’ve put their hopes in government have discovered, once again, that government has limited competency to remedy a crisis. And although I’m grateful for our healthcare providers, people who rely upon the medical establishment for healing and health often are sorely disappointed. Even the church is being shaken, undergoing a much-needed pruning before the next great awakening can come.
In a strange and ironic way, COVID-19 may turn out to be an answer to our prayers. Like the Israelites, we’ve cried out for revival and spiritual freedom. Little did we know that plagues would precede our liberation from the idols we too often have served.
A Bridge to Freedom
This year I’m praying that, once again, Passover will serve as God’s supernatural BRIDGE between our current PLAGUE and His Biblical PROMISES. We see this in Exodus 6:5-6, where God promised Moses that the Israelites’ hour of breakthrough was at hand:
I’ve also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage. And I have remembered my covenant. Therefore, say to the children of Israel, “I am the Lord…I will bring you out from all of the burdens of the Egyptians. I will rescue you from their bondage. And I will redeem you with an outstretched hand and with great judgments.”
Notice the three things God promised here: “I will bring you out…I will rescue you…I will redeem you.”
Friend, it doesn’t matter what trouble we’re going through – the Lord has a plan to bring us OUT! Only He can rescue us, redeem us, and set us on the road to our Promised Land. The current plague is just getting us ready for a new season of freedom and fruitfulness.
You see, God’s purpose never ends by just taking us OUT of unpleasant circumstances or plagues. He’s always working to bring us INTO a new place of intimacy with Him as His beloved children:
I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you OUT from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you INTO the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage…” (Exodus 6:7-8).
After more than 400 years of slavery, the Israelites were about to experience an amazing turnaround. This Passover season, I hope you’ll be encouraged by this powerful illustration of God’s desire to reverse your negative circumstances and bless you beyond your wildest dreams. Even if you’ve been in some kind of spiritual, financial, emotional, or relational captivity for a long time, your breakthrough can come with stunning speed.
Freed by Jesus’ Blood
During the first Passover, the Israelites had their own kind of “self-quarantine,” as they were told to stay in their houses as the death angel struck the firstborn of the Egyptians. But this was more than an ordinary lockdown. The Israelites were instructed to sprinkle the blood of an unblemished lamb on the doorposts of their homes. This wasn’t a mere formality – it was essential to their protection.
Do you see how beautifully this foreshadows what Jesus did for us on the cross? As God’s spotless Passover Lamb, He shed His blood to purchase our salvation, protection, and favor. And just as Passover struck a devastating blow to the false gods of the Egyptians, the cross forever crippled Satan’s evil kingdom: “Having disarmed principalities and powers, [Christ] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14-15).
Friend, I love America. Let me say it again: I LOVE America. However, during this time of soul-searching, God is calling us to pledge our allegiance to His kingdom more than any earthly political party or nation. We are heavenly ambassadors, not meant to be entangled in the twisted cultural norms of this present world (2 Corinthians 5:20, 1 John 2:15-17, 2 Timothy 2:4).
Like America, Egypt was the major world power in its day. If you visited it, I bet you would be impressed by its stunning accomplishments and wealth. Nevertheless, God referred to Egypt as “the house of bondage” (Exodus 13:3).
What a warning for us! The things we celebrate as blessings can be turned into bondage if we’re not careful.
As Passover foreshadowed, God has set us free from our bondage through the cross and resurrection of Jesus: “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13 ESV). Once again, He brought us OUT of slavery to sin so He could bring us INTO the Promised Land of His kingdom.
Yet, after being set free, we’re also given a stern warning: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). Let’s not go back to Egypt!
As a nation, we’re being tested in a fiery furnace right now – not so God can bury us but so He can resurrect us. As He did for Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego, the Lord is burning away the subtle ropes that have been keeping us bound (Daniel 3).
Dear friends, our ultimate victory will not come from government leaders, the medical community, or even from “church” as we presently know it. Instead, as we apply the blood of Jesus Christ by faith to the doorposts of our hearts, we’ll find God’s bridge between the plagues and His promises.
Why is Passover such a bridge? Because it points to Jesus, the only true Bridge between God and humankind. On one side of the cross, we see God’s fierce plague of judgment on human sin. But on the other side of the cross, we see that every one His incredible promises is ours in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).
What a great season to celebrate the goodness of God! Instead of bemoaning our current circumstances, it’s time to rejoice that a breakthrough can be right around the corner.