The Wisdom of “Sheltering in Place”
The coney (rock badger) is a feeble folk, yet they make their houses in the rocks.”
– Proverbs 30:26
Long before microbiology and microscopes exposed the “invisible enemies” of the germ world, God had already done so. He also revealed proper mitigation standards. Lately, our vocabulary has expanded with the language of testing, community transfer, personal protection equipment (PPE), “social distancing,” and “sheltering in place.” Scripture, as relevant today as the day it was given, addressed all these concepts in the laws of leprosy.
Leprosy, like COVID19, is incredibly contagious. The leper was commanded to wear a mask (PPE) and loudly announce the condition when someone approached (Lev. 13:45). Discernment of community transfer and diagnostic testing make up most of Leviticus 13. The leper was to practice “social distancing” by dwelling outside the camp and away from others (Lev. 13:46, Num. 5:2, 2 Kings 7:3, 2 Chron. 26:20-21). Preventing spread was facilitated by “sheltering in place.” A leper was to stay “shut up” at home and wait for test results. (Lev. 13:4, 31, 33, 50, 14:46).
Sheltering in place is a theme woven throughout Scripture. Noah sheltered in place. The Hebrew people sheltered in place behind blood marked doorposts and lintels the night before they left Egypt. Sometimes the principle is subtle as in Proverbs 30:26. The rock badger, or coney, also teaches the lesson of sheltering in place. This creature is personified in the original language indicating we should compare ourselves to its wisdom. Indigenous to northern Israel, the coney, congregates in small groups and lives in the black basalt rock piles scattered about the region.
On cool sunny mornings, they can be seen sunbathing on the warm stones. One coney has the “pastoral” role of watching out for the congregation. If danger arises, a loud yelp is barked out signaling the others to quickly flee down into the rocks for safety. They shelter in place until the danger passes.
Sheltering in place is both a practical and spiritual principle. Scripture often speaks of Jesus through the imagery and metaphor of rock or stone. If we add Paul’s teaching of being “in Christ,” the spiritual principle achieves fullness. Sheltering in place to avoid infectious disease is wise. Wiser still is sheltering our soul in the Rock-Jesus Christ (Ps 89:26). Sheltering in Jesus is not just about our tomorrow, it is about today, about this minute. He is our shelter in every way.
COVID19 has touched our senses, our schedules, perhaps our savings, and some will argue, even a bit of our sanity! Praise God, it cannot touch our sheltered soul. This little critter (the coney) demonstrates the great wisdom of sheltering in place. The safest place is in Christ.
Pray: Lord, thank You for revealing Yourself as my Shelter. My trust is in You today and in my days ahead. Help me be aware and sensitive toward those around me still in need of Your sheltering grace. Give me boldness to share the comfort, peace, and assurance I enjoy with them.
First Baptist Broken Arrow