Is the Coronavirus the judgment of God?
I believe more than the judgment of God; it is a wake-up call. God used pestilences in the Bible as a form of judgment, but He also used them as wake-up calls (Ex. 9:10-11). America and many nations of the world have turned their backs upon God. His Word is dishonored at every level. God is speaking through these difficulties. I often tell people who are going through a hard time; there are three things you should see in it. First, you should see God in it. How is God working in this? Yes, He is doing miracles, yes He is answering prayer, yes He is healing people. But more than anything else, He is calling people to repentance. Second, you should see the good in it. You might respond, “What good can come out of this?” Sadly, many have lost their lives, and that is not good. However, the good, amid this devastation, would be if people, especially His people, turn to Him (2 Chron. 7:14). Third, you should see the goal in it. The goal would be for many to turn righteousness and draw near to God (James 4:8). The judgment of God might be on the way, but I believe now God is using COVID-19 as a wake-up call.
Will God protect His people from getting COVID-19?
In Psalm 91: we read, “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence” (3) “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling” (10). In these verses, we see God can keep epidemics and plagues from coming near us. Because this is true, we cannot flippantly say, “God will take care of me.” We would do well to learn a lesson from the three Hebrew young men when they were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace for not bowing down to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. They said God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, “but if not” (Dan. 3:18). Their trust was in God, and they knew He was able to deliver them, but they also knew there was the possibility that He might not. This should be our attitude toward the Coronavirus; God is able to keep any virus from coming near to us, but if He doesn’t, our faith in Him should not waver or be shaken.
Is COVID-19 a sign we are in end times?
In Matthew 24, the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him what would be a sign of the “end of the world” (3). In verse 7, Jesus listed pestilences [viruses] as one of the things that would occur during the last days. After this, He said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (8). The word “sorrows” in the Greek is odeen and indicated for the pain of childbirth. Jesus is informing them that when these signs begin to happen that the end is near, just like labor for a pregnant mother signifies the baby is about to be born. Throughout the history of humanity, there have been plagues, but as time goes on, it seems like they have become more widespread. We cannot say when this world will come to an end, but according to Jesus, plagues are an indication that the end is near.
Should churches cease from gathering in light of recommendations by the government that groups over ten people not gather?
Some churches continue to meet regardless of recommendations by government officials. I heard one pastor say that during this time, people have jobs to do, and his job was to preach the Gospel, and he was not going to stop doing it. Others have held to the verse in Acts 5:29 to justify meeting, where Peter and the disciples said, “We ought to obey God rather than the [government].”
I would say, for the time being, churches who continue to meet are doing so on the basis they feel led by the Lord. While no one can disagree with what they believe, it seems they are putting themselves and their members in harm’s way. I know some will respond by saying, “If we obey God, He will keep us safe.” While no one will argue the point that God will keep us safe, however, it is essential we listen to the guidelines of the health experts and also see the devastating results occurring within groups who meet in large numbers. It is also important to remember when the devil told Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the Temple, Jesus said, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matt. 4:7). Even though Jesus knew the angels could protect Him from being hurt if He jumped off the top of the Temple, it would not have been an act of faith but one of foolishness or presumption. God also calls for His people to exercise wisdom, and submitting to the recommendation of the government discouraging social gatherings of more than ten people seems like the wise thing to do.
Is the concept of quarantine found in the Bible?
Today those in authority are asking us to self-quarantine to slow down or stop the spreading of COVID-19. This brings up the question, “Is the concept of quarantine found in the Bible?”
There are incidences in the Bible where people were placed under quarantine to protect a disease from spreading. In Leviticus 13, Moses is addressing those infected with the disease of leprosy. After being examined by a priest, if diagnosed with leprosy, the person was quarantined to stop the spread of the disease. We read this in the Law of Moses, “And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him, he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be” (Lev. 13:45-46). Isn’t it amazing that over 3,000 years ago, God gave the Hebrew people the practice of quarantine for their protection and to stop a disease from spreading.
As we consider the hotspots for COVID-19 in our country and around the world, we see thousands of people infected and many deaths. Just think if the ones who were carriers were quarantined early in the process, the world might not be facing such a big crisis.
How should we pray during the time of the Coronavirus?
As we read the Bible, we see there is only one God, but He has many names. These names reflect the different aspects of God’s character, which reveals His working in relationship with His people. During the time of the Coronavirus, let us utilize the names of God as we cry out to Him amid this pandemic. Let us pray to:
YAHWEH RAPHA “The Lord who heals” (Ex. 15:26).
- For the ones who have been infected by the disease that God will touch them with His healing hand.
- For medical professionals to have the wisdom to fight this unseen enemy and come up with solutions to counteract this disease.
- For people with mental health issues and the challenges they already face.
YAHWEH JIREH “The Lord will provide” (Gen. 22:13, 14).
- That God would provide for those, who have lost jobs, lost income or have had their pay reduced.
- For the survival of businesses that are being affected
- For wisdom for churches to find creative ways to stay connected with each other.
- For wisdom for quarantined families to use this time in productive ways.
- For wisdom for the elected officials, that they would make wise decisions and work in cooperation with other levels of government.
- For wisdom regarding everyone practicing social distancing policies implemented by our leaders.
- For wisdom for those who must make difficult decisions (layoffs, who receives the equipment, etc.).
YAHWEH ROI “The is my shepherd” (Ps. 23:1), especially verse 4 for protection.
- For the protection of those on the front lines battling this disease—doctors, nurses, hospital housekeepers, first responders, emergency medical personnel.
- For the Lord to protect the vulnerable, i.e., the elderly, those with preconditions, those living in hotspots, the poor.
- For the protection of those who have been exposed to individuals that the virus but don’t know it.
- Protection for police officers who come close to people that might have the virus.
YAHWEH SHALOM “The Lord our peace” (Jud. 6:24).
- For peace among those who are living together in quarantine.
YAHWEH SABAOTH “The Lord of hosts/armies” (1 Sam. 1:3; 17:45; Ps. 68:17).
- For God’s power in battling this unseen enemy.
YAHWEH TSIDKENU “The Lord our righteousness (Jer. 23:6).
- For the Body of Christ to be witnesses, show the love of God, and be a ray of hope to the unbelieving world.
YAHWEH SHAMMAH “The Lord who is present” (Eze. 48:35).
- For the Lord’s merciful presence in the lives of those dying from this disease, especially those who are dying alone.
- For the Lords’ presence in the lives of the loved ones of those who die from this disease.
YAHWEH NISSI “The Lord our banner (victory)” (Ex. 17:15).
- For the victory of those who have been delivered from the virus.