Summary: Egypt suffered the ten terrible plagues recorded in Exodus in the Bible. But Israel, God’s people, did not suffer most of the plagues. As I write this, the coronavirus has recently been declared a world “pandemic.” Many millions are panicking as the death count rises. In the midst of that, I want to encourage you with the experience of God’s people in ancient Egypt — that is, that there is light in Goshen. Pharaoh had given to Israel the Egyptian territory of Goshen to live in. And there, in Goshen, God’s people were spared much of the suffering from the various plagues. There’s a lesson there for our day: there’s light in Goshen! Come see and be encouraged.
Exodus 8:21-22; 9:25-26; 10:22-23 “…The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them. But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there” … Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were” … total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived [that is, in Goshen].
I won’t take much of your time. This is a simple but life-affecting truth. The story of God’s people Israel in captivity in Egypt has timeless principles of God-given protection applicable to us today as coronavirus has become a worldwide pandemic. Let me quickly summarize Israel’s story in Egypt.
For hundreds of years Israel had been serving as slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. Then God determined to deliver them from Egyptian bondage and bring them to Canaan, the promised land. Ten plagues were inflicted upon Egypt, after which God’s people were set free by Pharaoh. And very importantly for us today, we take notice that in Exodus chapters 7-12, God spared His people Israel from at least the 4th to the 10th plagues. And some Bible scholars say that God spared Israel from all ten.
In the Scripture verse above I’ve selected three of the ten plagues — the plague of flies, the terribly destructive hail, and the all-consuming three-day darkness. The flies totally covered the land of Egypt, but God ensured that in “Goshen, where my people live, no swarms of flies will be there.” Sometime later God sent an overwhelming hail that “throughout Egypt…struck everything in the fields.” But once again, “the only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.” And later still, God spread total, absolute darkness over the land of Egypt — “Total darkness covered all Egypt for three days … Yet all the Israelites had light…where they lived” [in Goshen].
In the midst of utter, total darkness, there was light in Goshen! That was where God’s people were. What does that mean for us today as we face the coronavirus? The answer: remember, there’s light in Goshen. But you say, what exactly does that mean for us in this crisis? I say, “Look to God Almighty!” Should we take proper health precautions (good sanitation, minimizing optional social contacts, etc.)? Of course. But don’t stop there. Go beyond taking natural means and look to God. He loves you; He loves the world (John 3:16). God is ready to offer His divine help to those who look to Him in sincere faith.
Psalm 65:2You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.
Come to God in prayer. Use God-given wisdom to minimize your exposure to the virus. But in addition, include a more important element in your preparedness. Consider your wellbeing not just in the weeks and months ahead, but in the light of eternity. Not only is God willing and able to help you in these times of earthly crisis, but He also desires to change your eternal destiny from condemnation and damnation to eternal life and joy in His presence. Let me close with two heartfelt recommendations:
1) Call on Almighty God in prayer concerning the present health crisis. He is a God who answers sincere prayers of faith.
2) If you haven’t done so, call on God for salvation. Ask Him to make you a child of His — a son or daughter of God (2 Corinthians 6:18) — through repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). If that’s the desire of your heart, please allow the late, respected evangelist Billy Graham to help you come into the family of God. You’ll be eternally glad that you did.
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D., has nearly 50 years’ experience in Pentecostal ministry. He has served as a church planter, pastor, and Bible College teacher and Dean in Alaska, New York, and Oregon.