This Holy Week feels a little different due to COVID-19. Instead of shopping for Easter basket goodies and preparing for church services and brunch with the family, we are hunkering down at home with our families, social distancing, and hoping we have enough food to throw together a decent Easter meal.
Thinking about this year’s Coronavirus Easter makes me think about the stories in the Bible where people had to prepare for the long haul. People like Noah, Joseph, and Nehemiah. Plus, there are countless bits of preparedness wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs.
As you will see, we can learn a lot about preparedness from the bestselling book of all time.
Noah: The Preparedness Prophet
Let’s start with Noah. If you're up on your Bible study, you already know that the story of Noah and the Ark in Genesis is the first of many preparedness lessons in the Bible. It's also one of the most powerful and iconic, with symbolism and references to Noah carrying through to the New Testament.
To summarize, God tells Noah he plans to flood the earth and wipe out all of its inhabitants. He instructs him to build a massive boat to protect his family from the flood. Then, when the waters receded, they would rebuild civilization.
The boat's dimensions would have been as big as a modern aircraft carrier, according to some scholars. Of course, it had to be to harbor all the animals, plants, and food God prescribed Noah to bring aboard.
The most important verse related to preparedness is this:
"You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them." – Genesis 6:21
God is imploring Noah to gather enough food for his entire family and animal flock. This means all the food they can possibly gather and store–a ton of food.
This brings us to my next point. Most of us understand that Noah gathered enough food for his family for 40 days and then some. But what may be surprising is that Noah and his family were actually on the ark for 371 days. Thankfully, Noah listened to God and gathered plenty of food. He prepared.
Like we say here all the time at My Patriot Supply, there is no such thing as overpreparing. Noah knew that. He had faith in the Lord, was steadfast to his commands, and had enough supplies on the ark to help his family survive for 371 days.
However, the people watching Noah build the ark had to think he was strange. They were living their lives watching a man prepare for something called a flood. A flood seemed impossible, and storing food and supplies seemed silly.
Now that the world is living through the COVID-19 pandemic and seeing people struggle to find everything from toilet paper to hamburger meat, Noah’s preparing doesn’t seem so silly.
Joseph and Nehemiah Understood Preparedness
Noah isn’t the only example of a Biblical hero who practiced preparedness. You may be familiar with the story of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors (found in Book of Genesis: Chapter 37, 39:2-21, 40, 41:1-41,57, 45:1-20).
A quick summary–Joseph was his father’s favorite, so his father made him a beautiful coat. However, Joseph had 11 brothers, and sometimes Joseph told them about his prophetic dreams that seemed to suggest they would bow down to Joseph in the future. Sibling rivalry abounded–so much so that Joseph’s brothers sold him off to slavery in Egypt.
But Joseph continued to follow the Lord, and eventually, his prophetic dream interpretations made him a favorite of the Pharaoh. In fact, it was a dream interpretation of preparedness that led the Pharaoh to put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt.
Because of Joseph’s interpretation, the Egyptians were able to prepare for seven years of famine by saving a little bit of each year’s harvest in the years leading up to the food shortage.
“They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” – Genesis 41:35-36
When the famine struck, Joseph’s brothers showed up seeking food. Because Joseph was a man of God, he forgave his brothers and brought his whole family to live with him in Egypt, ensuring their survival.
Nehemiah 4:16-18 says,Additionally, the Bible gives us examples of men who practiced situational preparedness, such as Nehemiah. Nehemiah was appointed by God to lead the Jews to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem while also guarding Jerusalem against enemies. Knowing his men were constantly on the verge of an attack by the enemy, Nehemiah practiced preparedness.
“From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.”
Physical Preparedness, Situational Preparedness, and Future Preparedness in Biblical Terms
Noah practiced physical preparedness by storing up enough food for his family to survive on the ark. Joseph helped the Egyptians practice physical preparedness by saving bits of the harvest for a coming famine. And, Nehemiah practiced situational preparedness to ensure the wall would be built and his men would be protected.
Now let’s take one last look at Noah's story. The story ends with something we should all think about when it comes to preparedness—the future.
"Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" – Genesis 9:1
As participants in the preparedness lifestyle, we too should give some thought about how we would rebuild after a collapse. Considering our current situation, how are we preparing to rebuild after the world reopens post-COVID-19?After the flood, God commanded Noah and his family to rebuild civilization. They used the birds they had to spread seed across the earth to grow food. They multiplied their herd and their family.
What have we learned from this situation that will change the way we prepare for future pandemics, natural disasters, and social emergencies? What can we learn from the Bible about how to prepare?
We'll need supplies–like heirloom seeds–but also skills and knowledge. Today, I'd like you to think about how to expand this area of your preparedness planning. This kind of thinking can be rewarding because it allows you to focus on the positive instead of the acute intensity of what we are currently facing.
Bible Verses on Being Prepared
Finally, I’d like to end today with some Bible verses on being prepared. It’s clear in the Bible that being prepared is being wise. I hope these verses will encourage you and guide you.
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?” – Proverbs 6:6-9
“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.” – Proverbs 28:19
“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” – Proverbs 21:20
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” – Proverbs 22:3
“or even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10
“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer” – Proverbs 30:24-25
I think on this Holy Weekend, it's best to end on that positive note. As we say around here, the best way to stay positive is to do as much as you can, and leave the rest to God.
Happy Easter, friends! Stay safe and alert.
My Patriot Supply