These times present some challenges in perspective and thinking.
These are some of the biblical thoughts, principles and promises that have been going through my mind the last few days and which I shared with my congregation today.
God is absolutely sovereign over this disease and its spread. We cannot see it with the human eye, cannot "control" or "stop" its spread, but God determines exactly its interactions and spread. "He worketh ALL THINGS according to the counsel of his will" (Ephesians 1:11). All things = no exceptions
Man is proved to be weak and powerless before the mighty hand of God. "LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them" (Psalm 144:3-6).
Certainly, God is reminding us that he is a holy God, of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and that he punishes sin both in time and for eternity. "For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath. (Psalm 90:7-9).
God's judgements in the earth are his voice and the demonstration to the conscience of man that there is a God and that he must be worshiped. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:18-20).
We pray that God will use this to awaken people from their spiritual slumber and to turn to him and his Word in repentance. "If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help" (2 Chronicles 20:9).
God gives us unique opportunities to give testimony to his power in this pandemic by speaking to others. "Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth" (Psalm 46:8).
God has placed the government in authority to protect the wellbeing of its citizenry in circumstances like this. We pray for them and trust that they, with the knowledge they have, act in a way that has our interest and physical well-being in mind, and we honor, respect and submit to their guidance. Even if we disagree, we know this is God's purpose and will for us. "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will" (Proverbs 21:1; cf. Romans 13).
The Bible often speaks of the signs of the coming of Jesus Christ, and among them are famines and "pestilence" (Matthew 24:7). The book of Revelation speaks of these as the pouring out of the vials of God's wrath. These signs are going to increase in frequency and intensity as we come closer to the bodily return of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 16).
Rather than panicking and being fearful, God's people are drawn heavenward in their gaze, realizing that these signs are a part of the groaning of the creation and are the sound of the footsteps of Jesus, and so when these things happen, we lift up our heads and look for the Savior knowing that our redemption draws nearer. "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).
God with us, we will not be afraid. This is an oft repeated refrain and promise in Scripture that we should be repeating to ourselves and one another. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear ... God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early ... The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge" (Psalm 46).
God has a purpose for us, his people, in these trying times, especially when we are called upon to "sit tight," to "shelter in place." "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
Rev. Rodney Kleyn
Rev. Rodney Kleyn is the pastor of Covenant of Grace Protestant Reformed Church in Spokane, WA. He was born and raised in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church...
Thanks for this timely message. I hope that you will remain open for Lord's day services. This is a time that we as Christians need to excercise faith in obeying God, and not be moved by what is around us.