God, Covid-19, and Recovery?

God, Covid-19, and Recovery?

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God...And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
Deuteronomy 28:1,2,14 KJV

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
Deuteronomy 28:15-21 KJV

They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.
Psalm 106:34-40 KJV

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Jeremiah 10:23 KJV
As the Covid-19 virus invaded countries all over the world and the grim statistics became known with the numbers increasing day after day, there began to be some references made to God! Mention was made about praying to God about this matter and seeking His help regarding this crisis, etc! It could be that part of God's response in all the talk about praying might be similar to how it was with the ancient Israelites at a certain point as they called out to God in a crisis moment. Note how God responded.

But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah. Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 2:28,29 KJV

Another aspect to the discussion centered on God's involvement in this pandemic - questions at times were raised as to whether God caused this to happen, or it sort of got started and He just permitted it to do whatever it was inclined to do. Some seemed to take the position that God was somewhat like a spectator at some sporting event sitting in the bleachers and just observing what was going on with Covid-19!

Actually it is more realistic to consider the real possibility that Almighty God is directly involved in the Covid-19 crisis and is using this for one main purpose! There are those who insist that God is a God of love and He would never be a part of such a thing that has brought such calamity in so many different ways to each nation that has been invaded by the carona virus.

Historical information that is absolutely reliable and accurate in detail indicates that God in times past has done some things that have brought major devastation to members of the human race in many different circumstances!

Here are some accounts from the official record of God doing what some would say are very nasty things to members of the human race!

A major hit on the human race initiated by God took place at the time a man named Noah lived. We are told that wickedness dominated the members of the human race and the thoughts of humans were evil continually. But Noah found grace in sight of God and was told to build an ark of large dimensions. As this thing played out, God brought judgment in the form of a world wide flood that destroyed all human and animal life except for those on board the ark which involved Noah, his wife, three sons and their wives plus the animals that had been taken on board. You can read the details from Gensis 6 through Genesis 8. God did it!

Time moved on and eventually an ethnic group of people came into existence who were descendants of a man named Abraham. The names used to identify these very special people were Hebrews, Israelites, and/or Jews. There was a point in time in which they became slaves in the mighty Egyptian empire. This went on for a period of 400 years! God raised up a leader named Moses and eventually the people gained their freedom but not until God did some very unpleasant things intentionally to the Egyptians. A series of plagues were sent upon the land and the ultimate judgment was the death of the first born in every Egyptian household, including the animals! Details in the book of Exodus. God did it!

Eventually the Israelite people settled into what was described as the promised land - the land of Canaan which had been promised to them under the covenant God had originally made with their ancestor Abraham and renewed in successive generations. The condition for the full blessings of God upon the people was obedience to the standards He had revealed to the people. This involved how they were to worship God and serve Him, how they were to relate and treat each other, etc. This was spelled out clearly so that the people of each generation were aware of what God expected of them in their daily conduct. Warning was given if they became disobedient as to very unpleasant things taking place as brought about by God! The book of Judges is like a spiritual roller coaster -- when they were obedient to God things went very well, but when they became disobedient, things went badly with horrible experiences taking place! God did some most unpleasant things -- God did not just "permit" them to happen -- He deliberately initiated them!

The Israelites came to the place where they desired a king. God granted them their desire and Saul became their first king. Things began fairly well, but because of his disobedience, Saul was in time replaced by David. Under his leadership Israel became a kingdom of prestige, power, and prosperity. God wonderfully blessed the people and this continued for a time under David's son, Solomon. Again, the Biblical record gives all the details. The closing years of Solomon's reign were a great disaster. We are informed that his heathen wives influenced him to the extent that he adopted their false gods and things got continually worse. He died and his son, Rehoboam, became king and shortly thereafter there was a split with 10 tribes forming the northern kingdom of Israel with Samaria as its capital and the tribes of Benjamin and Judah remining in the south, forming the kingdom of Judah with Jerusalem as its capital. The kingdom of Israel got off to a bad start from the very beginning with false worship established under Jeroboam and in 721 BC the kingdom was invaded by the Assyrians and destroyed -- obviously a judgment brought by God for years of disobedience! The details show why God was more than a tad upset with them and brought judgement on them! Yes, God did it!

For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger: For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing. Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God. And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them. And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. [2 Kings 17:7-18 KJV].

Remember, this judgment, after repeated warnings was something that God did!

We turn our attention now to the southern kingdom of Judah which continued for a few decades after God's judgment was visited upon the northern kingdom of Israel. The last good king was Josiah who initiated a lot of reforms during his reign in an effort to get the people back to a right relationship with God. The problem, however, was that though they seemed to accept the reforms, their heart was not really in it. There was a succession of kings which took place in the final years with Zedekiah being the final king and the judgment of God coming upon the kingdom in the form of the Babylonian invasion with the kingdom, its capital city of Jerusalem, and the magificent temple built by Solomon totally destroyed! A powerful summary provides information as to why God brings about such widespread devastation and total destruction! And guess who was responsible for that tragedy -- none other than God Himself -- isn't it plain in the account that He did a number of things which resulted in the destruction of the kingdom of Judah?

Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD. And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel. Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: to fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years. [2 Chronicles 36:11-21 KJV].

Remember, this judgment, after repeated warnings was something that God did!

There are numerous references to God doing some very unpleasant things throughout the Scriptures. As mentioned, early on it was the entire world at the time of Noah and it also at times involved entire kingdoms. A lot of detail is given to the predicted destruction of the mighty empire of Babylon which was one of the greatest to ever be established in the history of the human race. Chapters 51 and 52 in the book of Jeremiah provide an abundance of information as to what God was going to do to this empire and it was not going to be pleasant by any stretch of the human imagination! At one point mention is made that God is going to deal with the false gods of Babylon. He also brought judgment on the idols of Egypt! Will He eventually get around to dealing with the gods we have set up here in the United States? And sometimes God deals with cities such as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 18 and 19; 2 Peter 2 and Jude). In the Jude reference it is noted that those cities suffered the vengeance of eternal fire! Once in a while God may intentionally strike an individual or use one of His angels to do it! In the case of Egypt the death angel brought about the deaths of the first born! On some occasions a single individual may be smitten such as in the case of Herod who gave a great oration and was being enthusiastically praised by the people. An angel of the Lord smote him and we are informed that he was eaten by worms as reported in Acts 12! Now then, do you understand that God sometimes will inentionally do some very unpleasant things, but never until He has made urgent appeals and given warnings as to what will happen if there is not widespread repentance from sin and sincere seeking of His mercy and forgiveness! And this must take place on an individual as well as a collective level.

Now for the question! Why would anyone think that God would not bring something like the Covid-19 virus upon this nation as well as the whole world? The moral and spiritual condition of our nation and the world is a disaster to say the least and deserving of God's wrath at the present time! Stop and think for a moment -- Christianity is a very small minority in terms of numbers and overwhelmed by heathen beliefs of every possible kind ranging from atheism, agnosticism, to a plethora of religious expressions all of which have one thing in common -- a rejection of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Who sacrificed His life on a Roman cross of execution for the sins of the entire human race so that we could be totally forgiven, reconciled to God, and be citizens in His Kingdom forever!

But there is also a major problem within the ranks of professing Christianity as well and that is the invasion of what is now identified as the "progressives!" Actually this is the bunch that used to be known as liberals for decades. These do not accept the Bible in its entirety and deny events that are recorded as literally having happened etc. The United Methodist Church is one group, but not the only one, to which this tragedy has happened over the decades during the 20th Century!

Jesus was explicitly clear as to how the human race would fare as it moved through the final stage of its history. You can read the details in such chapters as Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17 and 21. He warns repeatedly about not allowing yourself to be deceived and indicated a variety of calamities will take place on the earth, including things called pestilences! Will there be a recovery from Covid-19? There likely will be some headway made and possibly economic recovery as well for a time. But there is no real evidence of a repentant spirit in the country much less throughout the world. Yes, there have been references to prayer and calling on God and even the 2 Chronicles 7:14 reference repeated from time to time. But there has been no consistent reference to the fact that the call is to turn from our sins! We want God's help to recover but are unwilling to quit our sinning! The greatest offense on the part of our country and most other nations of the world is that of the massive killing of unborn children for whom God has a defined purpose (note Jeremiah 1:4,5 and Psalm 139)! The number so far (which is likely much lower than actual) can be seen at U.S. and World Abortion Numbers. The Biblical record makes reference to the sacrifices the heathen made of their children and how the Israelites became infected with such abominable practices. God always responded in time to such atrocities! This is simply one of many reasons as to why He would bring a thing such as Covid-19 on the whole world! And IF there is not repentance, then we can expect even worse things to take place later in the future! And if you want to see details as to what happens when God really gets upset, read the book of the Revelation. None of us will want to be on this earth when He pours out His wrath in what is described as being "without mixture!" Note the reference to just one event as described below when everyone will try to hide somewhere from the "great day of His wrath!"

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
Revelation 6:12-17 KJV

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? even cry out to You, "Violence!" And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Habakkuk 1:2-2 (NKJV)

Millions of unborn children have been intentionally murdered all over
the world over time and the United States has contributed tens of millions
to the total - see latest tally at Number of Abortions

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness....

It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void. Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

Romans 1:18; Psalm 119:126-128 NKJV

May 9, 2020
Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
Western PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
and former pastor (Nov 1999 - Nov 2019) of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy, PA
AND Non-Affiliated registered voter, Cambria Co. PA

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