COVID-19 – God’s Warnings
In situations like we are facing in our world today, we usually are reminded of 2 Chronicles 7. We usually quote verse 14, but I believe we should also include verse 13: “When I shut the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people; If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Then look at a warning found in the New Testament in Luke 21:8-11: “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and, the time is at hand! Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, meaning confused conditions, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once….Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and in various places famines and pestilence.”
You have heard the term “pestilence” twice up to now. A pestilence is a deadly disease that spreads rapidly from person to person. Something we are experiencing right now with the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’ll be honest with you. My first reaction was to wonder if this is a sign of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. If not now, when? I believe it is a wake-up call to all believers, plus, those who haven’t come to faith. It’s been said, our faith is dependent on our interior trust in God and his Word.
God has inspired many passages in His word to encourage us in times like this. As we consider COVID-19, turn the 19 around to 91 and add Psalm to it: PSALM 91. This Psalm assures us that God is our refuge and our fortress whenever we are faced with situations like this.
Psalm 91 repeats that assurance eight times:
- He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
- For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
- You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
- A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
- Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—the most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
- For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
- Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
- When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him with long life. I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.
Some 2,000 years ago the Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Expecting that he would return any day, many quit work. Fifty years ago I preached about the coming of our Lord; and now we are experiencing the coronavirus, reminding us of what Scripture says will happen before the coming of Christ. This is probably a wake-up call for the church.
In my fifty plus years of ministry the events that are transpiring now have gotten my attention more than any other events that have taken place in our country. I don’t feel that I am an alarmist. I’ve always tried to shy away from that approach to debatable calamities. I do feel that I try to be a realist, or someone who faces facts with realism, considering what the Scriptures say.
As I mentioned earlier, events of this nature tend to direct our thoughts to the end times, about which the 24th chapter of Matthew instructs us in verse 36: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
So in the meantime, as life goes on and God seems to arouse our curiosity from time to time, may we continue to seek his face and study his Word so we won’t be taken by surprise and what we were looking for will not catch us unaware.
Lord, increase our faith in you!
Pastor Jake StirnemannMay 1, 2020