As children we often played with ants. They are fascinating little creatures. They walk in long rows, mostly single file. We were astonished at how persistent they would march to some or other destination. We used to put all sorts of obstacles in their way to see how they react – a heap of sand, a stone, a stick or a ditch – whatever. The obstacle confused their line so that they would walk back and forth in a seemingly chaotic way, until they decided to follow one ant and find their marching line again. Somehow, they overcame the hindrance, either over, or under or by detour around, but they found their direction again.
Humankind might have looked like an ant army losing its way, if one could sit in a far-off universe seat and view them from a heavenly perspective. The people, the governments, the experts and the leaders walked to and fro to find a way over and out of the chaos and death brought about by the virus. The stumbling blocks were realized and analyzed, in order to find speedy solutions. Medical science led the way. They milled around, made assertions and panicked as their science was tested and tried to the utmost. Any good doctor wants to save lives – rightly so. Many people died, and the end of it is not in sight as wave after wave of infections hit country after country. Politicians could not be seen as inactive and as a result they announced regulations and rules to contain this invisible enemy, a battle none of them could rehearse for. They had to overcome the “ultimate enemy” – death. The statisticians have to admit to the overwhelming finality of the numbers – one out of one, and so it was since the beginning of life.
The pale horse charges over the earth, as he has been doing over many centuries. Disease, plagues, famine and death – just like John described the seal of the scroll of human history that contains God’s Plan of salvation for the nations. Our history is full of pestilence and death. Sometimes it is more pronounced as it rages like in recent months.
When the Lamb broke open the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living creature call out, Come!
So I looked, and behold, an ashy pale horse [black and blue as if made so by bruising], and its rider’s name was Death, and Hades (the realm of the dead) followed him closely. And they were given authority and power over a fourth part of the earth to kill with the sword and with famine and with plague (pestilence, disease) and with wild beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7,8. Amplified)
The same vision of the four horses is described in Zechariah 6. For a full explanation of this part of Revelation see Pebbles 50.
The seven seals of Revelation together with the trumpets and the bowls explain what is going on throughout history and in our world today.
Disease has struck – what now? How would the human ants find their direction again. While the pale horse runs with death in its wake, the black horse leaves a trail of destruction.
When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. (Revelation 6:5)
The black horse is symbolic of the economy and commodities, in ancient Israel, primarily wheat (for the rich man), barley (for the poor man), wine and oil. The vineyard and olive trees were more sustainable as the grain harvest could disappoint. It was possible that luxury goods (wine and olive oil) were available, but the daily staple scarce. It is described in the next verse.
And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”
A daily wage could buy only one quart (one serving of food) of wheat and three quarts (also one serving) of barley. The tragedy is that the breadwinner cannot provide for his family. Poverty and famine rage in our world.
The scale in the hand of the rider denotes scarcity. When something is measured on a scale, it is limited. It must be carefully calculated.
God also has a scale. On the one side is the Cross and on the other everything else – all the sin, death, misery, and scarcity of this world. The scale is always balanced. The Cross is enough. The nations are the “small dust” on the scale. (Isaiah 40:15)
The weighing and calculation of basic food imply a struggle for survival. So many people in our world battle to keep body and soul connected. God’s measure stands in sharp contrast.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
The words of Jesus can only fill us with a giggle of satisfaction and expectation.
I am back on the farm, next to the big harvester where the golden wheat kernels flow. The pipe is closed over the bag so that the harvester can give the bag a good shake. It is possible that machines do all this these days, but in my mind it is a vivid picture. As much as twenty centimeters of additional space is added with a good shake, to be filled before the (usually) women came with big, rounded needles to sew the bags on top. Make the picture and see how God shakes your bag for more space. More space for abundance of provision – that is who He is.
The grain that Joseph gave his brothers on their first meeting, before their reconciliation, was what they asked for plus the money they paid for it.
Then Joseph gave a command to fill their sacks with grain, to restore every man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. Thus he did for them. (Genesis 42:25)
The oil that the widow poured into the jars did not stop flowing until every jar was filled. There is no doubt that if she had more jars, all of them would have been filled. (2 Kings 4:1-7)
We have to know that our need will be met, not with scarcity, but with abundance, which is God’s way.
His name is El Shaddai: the God of enough. Enough means nothing more is needed.
His name is Jehovah Jirah: Provider of all that will fill your need in any circumstance.
His provision is constant and sustained. It is the miraculous guarantee from Zechariah’s vision of the bowl of oil, connected to the olive trees (the source) feeding the lampstand.
Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said to me, “What do you see?”
So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. 3 Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left. (Zechariah 4:1-7)
Hear the power of the vision in the words spoken by the angel.
So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?”
5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?”
And I said, “No, my lord.”
6 So he answered and said to me:
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
7 ‘Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone
With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” ’ ”
Zerubbabel was the righteous governor that ruled under the favour of God. The promise is for you and applicable to your life right now. God makes a mountain a road.
They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them.
11 I will make each of My mountains a road,
And My highways shall be elevated. (Isaiah 49:10,11)
Our hope in Christ will fill us with energy so that our future will be the playing field of God’s promises.
Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places.
I’m overwhelmed by the privileges
that come with following you! (Psalms 16:6, TPT)
My choice is you, God, first and only.
And now I find I’m your choice!
You set me up with a house and yard.
And then you made me your heir! (The Message)
Faith comes by hearing [present continuous tense] and hearing by the word of God – it implies a constant infilling of the word of God.
Before you fall into despair for what is lost in the battle against the virus and long for your old life, think of what could be better now and trust God’s promises over your life.
Well, if you feel like an ant in the bigger scheme of things, your “mountain” will become a path of promise.