The word of the Lord came again to me, saying: “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 14:12-14)
It Should Be A Lesson
The COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across the face of the earth is nothing new. There have been many catastrophes that have enveloped the world with disease, wars and natural disasters. Without a reference to history, many believe the present distress as unique. Much has been compared with the pandemic of 1918 that killed millions. The reasons behind these global events are difficult to measure within the scope of whether by the direct hand of God or the natural order of the world that is made up of disease, hatred and the natural occurrences of tragedy.
Trying to understand the scope of the present distress, many have called it an act of God upon an evil world. Observations are made at how sinful the world has become and the Lord is reaping the whirlwind of His wrath upon the wickedness of men. This could be the case but it must also be understood the world has been much more wicked in times past than now. Indeed during the days of Noah, the world was so wicked it was destroyed by a global flood that left only eight souls alive. Throughout the history of Israel, many lost their lives to plague, fire, war, and pestilence because the Lord brought these pandemics upon those who rebelled against Him. The Assyrian army lost 180,000 soldiers in one night by the hand of God. Many examples are affirmed to be by the will of the Lord through the Bible.
Trying to establish God as the author of the present distress as a reason to punish the wickedness of man has some merit but misses the point that is needed more than trying to determine a cause. Whenever a pandemic is found in history, the prognosticators of doom want to paint a picture of divine wrath. Without the Lord revealing if He directly has caused the distress it would seem improbable for the wisdom of man to make such a conclusion. Again, what men fail to see is the lesson of the distress is what must be learned rather than attributing an author.
During the days of the captivity when Israel found itself enslaved by the Babylonians, Ezekiel was sent to preach to the people of God. He reminded Israel idolatry had been their downfall and the reason for their destruction. The picture he paints is a vivid telling of how wickedness had destroyed a nation. Using the language of prophetic pronouncements of doom, the prophet reminds the people what God had done to them. The nation had become so corrupt and evil it was time for judgment and the hand of the Lord brought the Assyrians and Babylonians against His own people.
Ezekiel describes how the Lord cut off Israel’s supply of bread with famine, allowed the wild beasts to roam freely, brought wars against His nation, and sent pestilence among the people as His four severe judgments on Jerusalem. In remarkable contrast, the prophet uses Noah, Daniel, and Job as examples of the wrath of God. He said that if these three men were in the world at the time, the wickedness was so great only these three men would have been saved. Each of these men lived in a time of great judgment. It is clear from scripture the reasons behind the judgments against the world of Noah, the family of Job and the nation of Israel during the days of Daniel came from the mouth of God.
The lesson of COVID-19 is not whether one can speculate that God has brought this pandemic against the world because of wickedness; which is an important lesson to learn. When this distress is gone and the world returns to whatever level of normality it can live with the real purpose of the pandemic is going to be what has been learned. Everything held dear has been taken away. This insidious virus reminds men they are not as smart as they believe themselves to be. There are many things in this world that man cannot control. While the virus is a complex organism it is a simple microbe that has brought the world to its knees.
Ezekiel was not telling the people of Israel anything they did not know. What he was trying to tell them was to learn from the lesson and become better people because of it. COVID-19 will have a greater impact for good if lessons are learned to turn hearts to God. People who do not change their lives after the pandemic is over have wasted the greatest opportunity to become stronger individuals with a greater view of life. Greater faith must come from this distress. More devotion is the message that must be seen when the end comes. Churches must be more convicted of their purpose, saints must realize the joy of salvation and lost souls must come to see the love of God through His Son Jesus Christ.
Sadly, when trials are over, people return to the empty lives they had before. That will be the case when COVID-19 is gone. The world will continue to fall back into the practice of evil and disregard for God. Let it not be the case with your life. Many people have died from this virus and many were not prepared to die. Death will come in one form or another. Preparation for death begins with acknowledging the will of God. Surviving COVID-19 should prepare the soul to prepare for eternity. Let the lessons be learned.