During this time of COVID-19 shelter-in-place, my weekly Bible study has gathered via conference calls rather than in my home. On April 1st, our focus was on facing difficulties in life — whatever they might be — and coping biblically.  We do have a choice about how to respond, but there are really only two choices: 

  1. We focus on Jesus and trust in His sovereignty over all things and His sufficient grace to help us.
  2. We focus on ourselves without considering our inadequacies and insufficiencies.

A Lesson from Job

In the midst of his suffering, Job chose to focus on God.  We all know the story. Satan took away Job’s wealth, health, and children. His three friends heard of what had happened and came to him.  Sadly, they did little to comfort him and instead afflicted him more.  They assumed he’d sinned and deserved punishment. In Job’s reply to Eliphaz (one of the friends), Job acknowledged his suffering (Job 23:2) but stood fast in his faith. Job knew that God is just and Job sought Him (Job 23:3–7).  Job knew about God’s sovereignty (Job 1:20-22; Job 2:9-10) over all things, but he feared that God had left him (Job 23:3). Yet Job continued to trust in God and was confident that his relationship with God would be restored (Job 23:8-12).  In vs 12, Job said:

  Job 23:12  Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Necessary Food

Just as God’s words were Job’s necessary food, so also is Scripture food for us.  This is why we study God’s word:

Matt 4:4 …It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Matthew 6:11 ”Give us this day our daily bread”

John 6:48 “I am the bread of life.”

The Word of God is a treasure that God has given us.  It gives knowledge of the Holy to feed our minds and it produces wisdom that guides our actions. In times of trouble, Jesus promises to be strong for us and one of the ways He does that is by speaking truth to us through Scripture.  

Biblical Words of Encouragement in COVID-19

Coping biblically begins by taking our thoughts captive (2 Cor 10:5), “lest Satan should get an advantage over us” (2 Cor 2:11). While circumstance might afflict us, the real battle is in the mind. 

We must begin by remembering that we “stand on victory” and therefore, we don’t live for victory, we live from victory.  We don’t fight a war against Satan, the world, and the flesh to win victory, because the victory is already won.  We fight the war of this world from victory.  And we fight to glorify the One who won the victory for us.

Getting in the Fight

Let’s prepare our minds with the word of God to fight the COVID-19 battle.

Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Be Strong

Deu 31:6  Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Josh 1:9  “Have I not commanded  you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

The Lord is our Strength 

Psa 118:14  The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

Psa 18:1-3  I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.

Isa 12:2  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

The Lord is With Us

1 Chr 28:20  And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.

The Lord Will Save Us

Psa 55:16-17, 22  As for me, I will call upon God, And the LORD shall save me.  Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.  Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

We Trust in the Lord

Psa 37:3-6  Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 

Psa 56:3  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

Psa 118:8  It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Psa 91:2-6  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;  Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

Prov 3:5-8  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.  It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.

Jer 17:7-8  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

I Will Not Be Afraid

Isa 41:10, 13  Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’   For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

Psa 46:1-7  To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;  Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.  There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Serve Jesus, Not Fear

A command from Joshua also applies to us:

Josh 24:15  “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”

The more we choose to follow God, the more strength He gives us and fear will not control or harm us. 

Heb 13:5 …be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.  Heb 13:6  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do unto me.

Everyone must choose whom they will serve.  Will your answer be the same as Joshua’s?  

Josh 24:15   “…as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Necessary Food for the Soul from Jesus

Mat 6:31-34  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Mat 11:28-30  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Luke 12:22-23  Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.”

Luke 12:29-32  “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.  Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

John 14:1, 27  “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me…Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Words of Wisdom from the Apostle Paul

Phil 4:6-7  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Phil 4:8-9  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things.  The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Col 3:15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

2 Th 3:16  Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.

1 Pet 5:6-8  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul. (Psa 94:19)

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Do not be anxious about anything.  (Phil 4:6)

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control.  Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19.  As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.” 

Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it:  Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live:  Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.

God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble.  When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.  

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19

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