Shalom everyone and welcome to 2022! I have a strong sense that this new year is going to be more challenging than any year in recent times, but perhaps also far more glorious than any of our past years for those who are walking with Yeshua/Jesus! Some of the things that occurred during the horrific fires here in Colorado have given me that hope.
A Costco store in the area was filled with shoppers last Thursday when frantic, urgent announcements bellowed across the loudspeakers: "All shoppers have been ordered by police to evacuate the store NOW! DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING WITH YOU AND DO NOT GO BACK TO YOUR HOMES! The Fire Department has closed off the entire area and no one will be allowed back into their neighborhoods. Go NOW!"
When I heard about this from a friend, I sat in the silence for a long time, pondering the ramifications of this scenario. I imagined the shoppers leaving their carts and purchases in the aisles and running to their cars to flee from the encroaching flames. I suddenly realized I had read something just like this in Scripture:
"...then let those in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house [or in the store!} go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter." (Mark 13:15-18)
My friends, that Scripture became real for a lot of people last week. They had to flee without being able to get ONE THING out of their homes, and when they finally returned to the lot where their homes used to be, there was absolutely nothing but black, charred ashes. Nothing. Perhaps you saw it on your TV; the raging winds furiously driving the flames into neighborhoods on a very cold winter night.
Then I got to hear from a dear sister who works at a hospital in the midst of that evacuated area. She is a nurse on the Newborn I.C.U. floor. She wrote me, "I did not sleep Thursday night. I lay there thinkig about so many of my friends who lost their homes. But the Lord is so good! He reminded me of all the ways He showed up, all the miracles He did, things that could not have normally happened, that DID happen! I believe that Yeshua was right in our midst as we carried the tiniest, most helpless patients in the hospital to safety. We literally ran out of the hospital carrying the babies with nothing but the blankets swaddled around them, no tubes, no oxygen. And the biggest miracle of all was that every single baby was stable when we got them into the safe hospital, even though some of them had been deprived of the oxygen they needed to stay alive! The babies were so unbelievably sweet, so blissfully unaware of what was happening, and how the roaring flames had come right up to the windows of the I.C.U. that had sheltered them. It occurred to me that when we have Yeshua, we can have that same level of peace, no matter what the circumstances. "
Truly, my friends, I believe that when we are in the times of our Deliverance, we are going to see our God do amazing things! There was a striking parallel of this as I read this week's Torah portion in Exodus. In the time just before the great deliverance of Israel through the Red Sea, the Israelites were ruled by a cruel Pharaoh and his hard taskmasters. God was dealing with Pharaoh and with the false god-worship of the Egyptians as He brought plagues upon the land. But the Israelites only went through the first three plagues, during which Pharaoh's sorcerers duplicated some of God's signs and wonders. Then something awesome happened! The Lord God told Moses to make this announcement to Pharoah: "If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies. But on that day I WILL DEAL DIFFERENTLY WITH THE LAND OF GOSHEN, WHERE MY PEOPLE LIVE. No swarms of flies will be there so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. I WILL MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN MY PEOPLE AND YOUR PEOPLE."
The Israelites were living in an area known as Goshen and do you know what this Hebrew word means? It means to draw near. Eventually the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob makes a distinction between HIS believers (those who keep His commands and hold to the testimony of Jesus) and those who are not His. And so, like ancient Israel in the days before their deliverance, we may be tested through some of the judgments that God allows; but if we do not turn away from Him, if we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony, we will find ourselves in an intimate relationship with Him, near to Him, protected by Him, in our own Goshen! And in that time, the wicked will be astonished and exclaim as Pharoah's sorcerers did, "THIS is the finger of God!" (Ex. 8:17-19)
We must ask the Holy Spirit to give us keen discernment and wisdom to know if the signs and wonders we encounter are the finger of God or if they are lying signs and wonders of the evil one (2 Thess. 2:9-10). And we should be praying for the Holy Spirit to give us strength and courage to be overcomers in the dark days ahead, filled with faith, marching forward with confidence, and resting in the peace of those infants being gloriously rescued by the grace of God!
Kelly Ferrari Mills