What Should Christians Think about COVID-19
I teach a weekly Bible study all year ‘round.  We don’t break for summer and we only cancel if a holiday falls on Bible study day or I am out of town. Once we had to cancel because of a snow storm and now we cancelled because of a new kind of storm called COVID-19.

As Christians, we know that God protects us in all the storms of life.  COVID-19 is no different than any other trial, test, or tribulation, but it is new and different than anything we have experienced in our lifetime.

Last week we did a virtual study via tele-conferencing.  We took a look at the words of Isaiah 43 and instruction that it gives us in the circumstances upon us.

Isaiah 43 — “Fear Not”

The chapter begins by God telling Jacob/Israel, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.”  As Christians, we have an even better calling and a greater assurance.  God has fully redeemed us, put us “in Christ,” and made us His own.  Our security is in Him and we can trust and not grow weary or fearful.

Isiah 43 — Not If, but “When”

In verse two God said,  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”  COVID-19 can seem like an overflowing river and scorching fire, but neither can overtake us.  These two illustrations should remind us of God’s faithfulness to Israel.  He had brought them through the Jordan River on dry land, with the waters being separated until they safely reached the promised land.  Whatever river we cross, God will bring us through the waters to our promised inheritance, be it peace, calm, an end to trials, or even our ultimate destination — Heaven.  God is faithful to do so.

God will also not let the flames of a fiery affliction “burn” us.  Think of the three young Hebrew boys, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (aka Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). They were cast into a furnace, and yet the flames did not burn them. Nor were they alone.  Nebuchadnezzar was astonished to see four men in the midst of the fire and “the form of the fourth [was] like the Son of God” (Dan 3:24-25).  We are the Bride of God’s Son Jesus, and He is the faithful bridegroom who is always with us. We are God’s children by adoption, and, just as we protect our family members, God will protect us.  

Verses of Comfort

“I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5 

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress!” Psalm 46:7 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 

Isa 41:10  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 43 — “My Witnesses”

As we worked our way through the 43rd chapter of Isaiah, I suggested that we consider our responsibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Therefore, we paused to focus on verse 10:

Isa 43:10  You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me.

God called Israel to be His witnesses, and so too are we called to testify of our God and Saviour.  

John 20:21 – Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.
Psa 26:7  That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works.
Psa 66:16  Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.

Isaiah 43 — “That You May Know and Believe Me”

Just as Isaiah told Israel that God has chosen them to serve Him so they would know and believe Him, we too have been chosen. And through faith in Jesus, we have been given “the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil 3:9) for the purpose “that [we] may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Phil 3:10).  

We all want the “know Him and the power of His resurrection,” but do we also want “the fellowship of His sufferings?”  Certainly, none of us want to suffer, but when we remember that suffering contributes to our being conformed to the image of Jesus (Rom 8:29), we will turn to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and comfort us in whatever we experience.

COVID-19

Isaiah 43 speaks of conviction and judgment, but also of hope and restoration.  We have known for some time, that God needs to judge the world, including America.  In our country, we are so very blessed, and yet our growing populace blasphemes God’s name, kills innocent pre-borns, redefines God’s design for marriage, attributes His creative work to evolutionary science…and the list goes on and on.

Is COVID-10 a judgment of God?  We do not know.  But we do know that God is sovereign and He uses all things for our good and His glory. 

Purpose and Privilege

As Christians it is our purpose, and our privilege, to glorify God in all things and to exalt Him above all that is of this world.  It is our responsibility to live in the light of His love and by the power of His indwelling Spirit. Therefore, we are to:

  1. Be a witness to the God of all creation and the Saviour of our souls.  

Tell everyone of the saving and sustaining grace of Jesus Christ.  Testify to His love and redeeming power.

Mark 16:15  And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

1 John 4:14  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

  1. Depend totally on Jesus:

The world can only offer conditional and temporal satisfaction. Only Jesus can satisfy the soul and give us rest.

2 Cor 12:9  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

Rom 8:5  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Phil 4:6  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God

    3. Live in victory and hope

We don’t live for victory, we live from victory. Our victory is in Christ. It is secure.  
Our hope is not in this world. Our hope is in Christ. It is assured.

John 16:33  “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Rom 8:37  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Psa 39:7  “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.

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

In God We Trust

Isa 43:2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

Titus 2:11-13  For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us… we should live…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

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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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