|Volume 22 Number 5 May 2020||
Over the last several weeks, I have heard and seen discussions take place that attempt to relate the COVID-19 pandemic to the Bible. On one hand, some have suggested this is similar to the plagues of Egypt, and God has taken away the things we worship: Hollywood, athletes, money, etc. On the other, some are outright saying this is a sign of the end of time. While the first idea has more credibility than the second, neither are true. First of all, this virus is attacking the entire world, not just one small section. The entire world is not consumed with the things mentioned earlier. It is one thing to say that we can reflect on what has been taken away and re-prioritize now that distractions have been removed, but it is entirely different to matter-of-factly say that we are being punished. Second, people really need to stop trying to predict the end of the world: this is about the 10th end-time prediction in my lifetime alone. After discussing the fall of Jerusalem and the Temple, Jesus said no man would know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36) when the world would end. God can and does still act in our world today, but let us tread carefully when we speak of God’s actions and always support it with book, chapter and verse from God’s Holy Word.
[Editor’s Note: Only indirectly, as far as man can know today, is God in any way responsible for any disease or catastrophe in our time. The world in which we live is much different from the world God initially created. Following the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) as well as a consequence of sin in the days of Noah (Genesis 6-8), God made changes to His created world that transformed the face of the planet and altered man’s relationship to creation. Though no one living today bears the sins of forefathers (Ezekiel 18:20), the consequences of their sins resulted in natural calamities, disease and death. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Under His Wings
There is the beautiful, thoughtful, contemplative and comforting song, “Under His Wings,” that brings solace and strength to the soul of the believer. Here is the first stanza, along with the chorus.
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
No doubt, the lyrics of this hymn were based on some of the Scriptures as found in the Book of Psalms. In Psalm 91:1-6, we read, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”
There are two perils that are mentioned in this passage, but the one that I want to emphasize is “perilous pestilence.” The brief definition of “perilous” is “full of danger or risk,” and the definition of “pestilence” is “a fatal epidemic disease.” This basically describes the situation we are experiencing in our nation as well as in the world. I read recently where three members of a family of four had died due to the coronavirus. Other members of the family reunion were also infected with this terrible virus. Over the centuries, there have been infectious diseases that have killed great numbers. There was the bubonic plague in the 14th century wherein “one-fourth of the population of the civilized world perished, the deaths in Europe alone reaching 25,000,000.” “The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans.”
In the text of Psalm 91, we find this comforting statement, “And under His wings you shall take refuge.” We have seen pictures of birds sheltering their young under their wings in time of trouble. I personally remember seeing mother hens sheltering their chicks under their wings when danger seemed to be imminent. This metaphor of protection found under “His wings” brings comfort to the heart of the true believer in God. Under His wings, we find security, protection and loving care from the storms of life. Whatever we face in life, God will be with His children. We should cast all of our cares upon Him “for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
[Editor’s Note: God’s protection extends to eternity. Though God may or may not providentially participate with Christians to protect them from physical harm (i.e., accident, disease, crime), they can rest assured, nevertheless, God will care for them eternally—which is what truly matters anyway. “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18 NKJV). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]