Isaiah 26:20, 21
- The Spanish Flu killed 100 million people in 1918-1920. Very few people had any idea what the disease was and how it would impact others.
- The CDC estimates that 32 to 49 million Americans contracted influenza this past year and 20,000 to 50,000 died.
- Estimates on deaths are difficult to analyze because many inflicted had multiple health issues.
- Our word today is “pandemic” which is interpreted in the Bible as “pestilence.”
- A pestilence is a plague or severe disease, illness, or disaster.
- COVID 19 is a pestilence/pandemic.
I. Why Did God Send This Pestilence/Pandemic?
A) To accomplish His purpose
- God accomplishes His purpose through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ and all those who believe in Him.
- Isaiah 53:5…But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
- Each one of God’s sheep has a purpose in this life on earth. Some may be a small purpose and some may be a huge purpose.
- To learn what God’s purpose for us is, we must go through a judgment (such as this pandemic) that causes us to stop and think about God’s will for us.
B) To teach us obedience
- Look at the lesson that Paul had learned from Jesus Christ, Paul informs the Hebrews in Hebrews 5:8…Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9) And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
- In this verse 8, Jesus learned to be obedient to His Father (God) by “the things which He suffered.
- What things did Jesus suffer? Ridicule and verbal abuse from the priests and scribes and those who did not believe, He suffered rejection by the Jews and even His own countrymen in Nazareth. He suffered physical abuse to His body in fasting, and His death on the cross.
- All this suffering was out of obedience to the Father’s will.
- God has used this pandemic for us to learn obedience to Him. To get a child to obey, a parent must discipline them, punish them, teach them and show them the love of God by enforcing the laws of God upon your children that they too may be blessed by being obedient.
C) To remove pride
- James 4:8…Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
- Our government right now has us under their rule of thumb with this pandemic. Churches are just now being able to re-open. They are forcing separation by calling it “social distancing.”
- I believe that our government is like that of Pharaoh in Exodus 10:3…And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.
- Our government is full of pride and that is why the democrats and republicans are at each other’s throat.
- Our government also is trying to remove God from our country and removing our freedom to worship God. I believe that this pandemic (COVID 19) is a judgment of God for many reasons and one of those reasons is to tell the government… “let my people go, that they may serve me.”
- Now as we start re=opening America the test comes… will we serve God?
D) To remove idols
- God hates idols…Exodus 20:3…Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
- We as Americans have so many idols that we have become complacent in our walk with God. Our idols are television, food, work, money, friendships, lovers, relationships, entertainment, sports, and on and on I could go naming them.
- We must remove these things from our lives that are a stumbling block in front of our worship to God.
- God Law tells us “) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:”
- God gives us two ways here that are considered to be worship to idols…
- Bow down – This is a kind of worship where you literally get on your knees and bow down to an idol made with hands/machines and thinking of this object as your spiritual source of power.
- Serve – to “serve” is to act as a servant, or helper, or slave to something or someone. To worship or obey.
- Another definition of “serve” in the dictionary is to agree, or be forced, to spend a length of time in doing something.
- Ask yourself? How much time do I spend with God? How much time do I spend doing something I want to do for pleasure?
- Paul writes to Timothy about the treatment of church members here in I Timothy 5:6…But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
E) To teach us gratitude
- What does the word “gratitude” mean? Being thankful. A feeling of gratefulness.
- The Jews complained to Moses about manna. They demanded meat.God answered their ungrateful prayers and sent them quail. He also punished them with a poisonous plague. (Numbers 11:31-33)
- Psalm 103:1…Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3) Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4) Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
F) To Defend His Holiness
- The Philistines captured the Ark and sent it to Ashdod instead of returning it to Israel. God taught them a lesson by sending them rats and hemorrhoids! (I Samuel 5:6).
- But Jesus reconciled us to God by His death on the cross. He has made us holy:
- Colossians 1:20…And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. 22) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
G) To reveal His power
- God permitted Satan to inflict disease upon Job so that He could reveal His majesty and power Himself to His faithful servant (Job 42).
- Paul assures us that He reveals His power through our weak bodies.
- II Corinthians 4:7…But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
- How Do We Find Peace and Protection amidst Pandemic?
- A) Focus on Christ Jesus
- Turn off the news, put down the newspaper or magazine and get into the Word (the Bible).
- Focus on Jesus. Philippians 4:6, 7
- Pray specific, honest prayers and live with a thankful heart. Here are three positive things you can do right now:
- Pray with others… II Chronicles 7:14
- Ask God for wisdom…James 1:2-6
- Rest in God’s care…Psalm 91:2-14
III. God’s Judgment Upon Man For Sin
A) Be patient
- Isaiah 26:20…Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21) For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
- Looking at our text verse this morning we can see that God commands…
- “Come, my people.” This is personal. We are God’s people/sheep.
- “thou into thy chambers,” Go into your homes or places you live”
- “and shut thy doors about thee:” protect yourself by staying in.
- “hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” Be patient by hiding yourself from others for a specific time until “the indignation (anger of God)” is past, or finished.
- This pandemic that we are facing is no different than any other. It is a judgment of God that is given to mankind to cause us to wake up and serve Him, worship Him and allow Him to be our Lord!
B) Humble ourselves before God
- The whole purpose for God’s judgment upon mankind has always been to cause His people to be obedient by humbling themselves before an almighty God that demands worship to Him alone.
- II Chronicles 7:13… If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
- God always forgives sin, always. First, came a command of God to…
- “shall humble themselves,” Remove our pride by admitting fault/sin
- “and pray,” Pray for forgiveness and salvation
- “ and seek my face,” Desire the things of God
- “ and turn from their wicked ways;” Repent and do what is right.
C) The desire of our soul
- Look at Isaiah 26:8…Yea, in the way of thy judgments, (The time that God brings judgment) O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. 9) With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
- Judgment always brings a person to do the right thing. We learn to do that which is right through God’s judgment as it says in verse 9, “…the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
- Our sin nature acquired through Adam is to sin, but our new nature in Christ Jesus should cause us to do that which is right in God’s eyes.