Most appropriate text for coronovirus?

Discussion in 'Preaching' started by Eoghan, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    2 Samuel 24:12-14
    12 “Go and speak to David, ‘Thus the Lord says, “I am offering you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.”’” 13 So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider and see what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.” 14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

    I would suggest that we have a choice between falling into the hand of the Lord or falling into the hand of men. Given the choice between a coronovirus outbreak and destroying the economy and becoming even more dependent on the state, I think the rational course of action is to trust the Lord not men.

    After this the state will emerge much closer to the totalitarian state of prophecy - overnight as it were. I know that the BBC will never say it but these changes are of Biblical proportions. Some shops are refusing to take dirty money and insisting on electronic money.
  2. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    I would contend that unlike David the Lord is not giving us a pick list of punishments to choose from. Moreover, the option in our case isn't whether to be punished by God (coronavirus) or to be punished by man (collapsed economy, dependent on state, etc) as everything that is/will befall us is the Lord's doing.

    I think Ezra might be worth meditating upon...Ezra 9:3-15.

    3 When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.

    5 Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God 6 and prayed:

    “I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.

    8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place[a] in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.

    10 “But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken the commands 11 you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. 12 Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.’

    13 “What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this. 14 Shall we then break your commands again and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor? 15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.”​

    As I consider the content of what you've been posting recently you seem to be on the verge of becoming unhinged my dear friend. Perhaps take a break from the endless news cycle and spend some quiet time with the Lord. This is a balm I've had to apply to my own self as well.
  3. Regi Addictissimus

    Regi Addictissimus Completely sold out to the King

    Micah 6:9 (KJV): The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, And the man of wisdom shall see thy name: Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.

    The Church's response should be along the lines of 1 Chronicles 16:29–30 (KJV):
    Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come before him: Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Fear before him, all the earth.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  4. Chad Hutson

    Chad Hutson Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't know about the most appropriate, but I have considered the following:
    1 Samuel 13 & 14. Especially 3:19-22:
    19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.” 20 But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle, 21 and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. 22 So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them."

    For generations now, the majority of Christian "preaching" has been anything but Christian or biblical. Now that we are oppressed, many church people are without the weaponry they need to stand firm.
  5. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    My contention it that this is a choice.
    A. Panic and impose martial law in the belief we can stop a "plague"
    B. Keep society going as we do with seasonal influenza

    The Imperial College London model sees a plague of Biblical proportions and advocates option "A". The University of Oxford model sees a variation on seasonal flu and advocates option "B".

    What would settle the argument is extensive random testing of the UK population. That would prove or disprove the Oxford model. Sadly verification does not seem to be a priority. We are reacting to unverified stats.

    To suggest that we really know the mortality rate for coronovirus is a lie.

    no. fatalities x 100 = % mortality
    no. infected

    The number of infected individuals in the UK is unknow and cannot be verified without extensive random testing. The top number is known fairly well, the bottom number is not.

    Conflating positive tests with the total number of infections muddies the water and gives the impression of certainty.
  6. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    I am experiencing a degree of exasperation that very few folks are thinking logically. The proverbs that seem appropriate are
    Look before you leap
    Measure once cut twice
    Correlation is not causation
    Never mind the quality feel the width
    Act in haste repent at leisure

    ...and from the maths classroom "Show me your workings"

    To which I add "doveryai no proveryai"
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  7. Chad Hutson

    Chad Hutson Puritan Board Freshman

    I understand where you're coming from, brother, but it is a moot point. Perception is reality, and regardless of my personal opinion concerning the pandemic, people are frightened, some irrationally, and the economy(ies) have tanked. I have been praying for years that God would do whatever it takes to shake us to our core and get our eyes off the world. I see this as an answer to prayer, and if it is an overreaction, all the better! The scare without carnage is the best scenario I can think of. But it doesn't matter to me. It is an opportunity to be light in the midst of darkness. I encourage us all to SHINE FORTH Christ!
  8. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    It's hard for me to think of a Bible passage that does not have a good application in this crisis. A crisis will do that. It makes all of Scripture feel more helpful and precious.

    At my daughter's suggestion (made before this crisis seemed very concerning), our family has been working our way through the Bible passages used in Handel's Messiah. Last night, we got to Job 19:25-26. "I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh shall I see God."

    We all agreed it was an encouraging passage given our heightened anxiety these days. We liked it not just due to the promise of bodily life after death, but perhaps more so due to the image of Christ standing upon the earth one day and putting an end to evil and pain. The coming consummation of Christ's triumph can be a forgotten hope when times feel pleasant and under control. Perhaps God will use the crisis we are now going through to increase my longing for that day and my faith in Christ who will bring it.
  9. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Sophomore

    A warning not to overanalyze the reason for tragedies (are they worse sinners than others?) but still a call for repentance (repent since we all deserve this fate).

    Luke 13:1-5

    1. There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2. And he answered them, Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3. No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5. No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
  10. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I am not against the habit: of preaching a timely message that has a peculiar "resonance" with some current/recent earthly state of affairs. I have done so in the past, and may well do it again.

    On the other hand, there is something to be said also for not-interrupting an ongoing series, though possibly (but not necessarily) finding reference in the sermon to the contemporary concerns along with more regular applications.

    Why... other than the suggestion already offered that virtually any text can be pressed into a good service for the moment? Well, in my opinion one special purpose for our church-gatherings of worship is to turn our thoughts from earth to heaven; from our own obsessions to divine things. Call it "holy escapism," "rest in the Lord" (Ps.37:7).

    Perhaps, what God's people need on Sunday AM and/or PM is one hour that takes their minds quite away from the panics and pressures of the week. In God's economy, the crisis-du-jour amid the strife of earthly life does not disturb. He is resting--both from creation and redemption--and invites us to participate in his Sabbaths.

    Certainly I should hope one might find relief before the Lord, and not week-after-week corona-focus in the pulpit, if graciously spared having it in the pews.
  11. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Why do people--even my wife--gets annoyed when I tell them I haven't had a single worried minute since this started? I have complete peace in this matter. We sure do deserve worse. Even if it kills me, that's OK too. Really! I am enjoying God more these days than before. For the last six months, I have been saying that we are due for judgment although I have been careful to say that I have no idea when--just that something is coming. Even if not for a hundred more years. You can look up my posts to that effect.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    To the OP:

    Bad choice of text and bad application.

    If your preaching was taken seriously, it would result in the death of some folks. We trust in God but we ALSO take strict measures to safeguard people. Please, enough false dichotomies.

    A better text would be something about helping our neighbors during this time.

    We cannot diagnose the will of God such as you have done. Why does a tower fall on some sinners and not others? Why does calamity strike some and not others? We simply do not know.
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  13. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Our Lord said that there would be wars and rumors of wars, and famines and pestilences, but these would not be the end. I don't have the reference handy, but I think that's an appropriate passage.
    This is not God's judgment on the world--that will be far worse--but his graciously reminding men that he is able even by contemptible means, such as a bat-borne pathogen, to spread a panic that affects the entire world, and that the riches so many trusted in were just an illusion. For what is the stock market? Most of that is imaginary: leveraged credit extended in the hope that it will get paid back. The fact that financial markets work at all is kind of a miracle to me.
    This is a thing that will redound to God's glory, by making many who trusted in riches to trust in him instead, and by shutting the mouths, on Judgment Day, of those who would claim that they had no warning of that Day.
    However stupid and frustrating and needless the measures taken are, the old uninspired proverb holds true here: "What can't be helped must be endured." The only choice we have is whether we will endure it well. As God's people, this is another chance to shine--to love our neighbor as ourselves, even if all that boils down to is sharing our last roll of toilet paper.
  14. Gesetveemet

    Gesetveemet Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes and we must become the sinner before God just as David became the sinner before God for His mercies are great.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  15. joep

    joep Puritan Board Freshman

    Look, if that's the most appropriate verse, then maybe the best way to beat the virus is to track down Araunah:

    2 Samuel 24:1
    And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”

    In seriousness, I think it's not appropriate to take a choice of judgment offered by a prophet of the Lord to David thousands of years ago because of a specific sin of his and say the same choice is ours, even by way of analogy. That might even run the danger of being eisegesis!
  16. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    The appropriate text is all of Scripture, keeping in mind the Analogy of Scripture. While we are not free to read providence and surmise that this worldwide judgment is for a particular sin committed by a particular people, we must own that the LORD has done it, roaring from Zion, and that it is most certainly because of our sins. Ergo, we make application from the Scriptures, noting God's chastisements of His people, His wrath upon the wicked, etc. It is no quick task to:

    1) Self-examine,
    2) Identify our sins,
    3) Subsequently confess them, abhorring and humbling ourselves
    4) Forsake them and turn to the living God,
    5) Repent of them, begging new obedience, while never trusting in such efforts for merit,
    6) Maintain a vigilance not before possessed, attending diligently upon the means of grace, putting off the old man, putting on the new, the LORD Jesus Christ, but never trusting in those actions, but in God alone Who makes those means effectual in His due time, at His good pleasure.

    And, yet, this is what we must do, because -while the secret workings of God's providence and the way in which He executes His decrees (namely, perceived prosperity, deprivation, disease, strong delusion, shaking of leaves, giving the impression that one is being pursued though they are not, such that men flee)- those things which belong to us are doing all the words of His law. Regrettably, it often takes this times of unrest to shake us from our slumber, but the truth is, we ought to be doing these things whether times seem prosperous and plenty, or whether they seem bleak and grim.
  17. Gesetveemet

    Gesetveemet Puritan Board Sophomore

    I find post #16 to be the end all to this thread at least for me.

    blessed Lord’s day to everyone
  18. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    Tomorrow morning, God willing, I preach from Amos 3:6... "Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?" My title is The Heavy Hand of God.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  19. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

  20. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I remember as a teen late at night the Jack Van Impe show would come on. It was about bible prophecy and anytime there was a tragedy it was like he would be ecstatic. The guy seemed happy when bad things happened because he held that bad things would accompany the end of the world. The guy seemed to thrive off of disaster.

    We need to beware lest we do the same.

    In a way every plague and illness is God's judgment, but we cannot say too much particularly about any specific judgment.

    I've grown very tired of hearing stupid Mslm clerics in Indonesia stating that Allah is punishing people for their sinfulness whenever a disaster strikes. I made one group very mad when they stated thusly and I pointed out that Indonesia's largest natural disaster hit Aceh, where Shariah law is instituted and by their logic God was then maddest at the Mslms. Similarly, the Bible Belt in the USA gets hit by the most tornadoes.

    I believe that we are to speak the GOOD News to people. Always focusing on God's judgment and chastening is one-sided many times among the Reformed and we should be comforting God's people. Many preachers are tone-deaf to the emotional needs of their communities. During this time of Covid-19 I believe it is a great opportunity to comfort one's congregation. Though a reminder of judgment is appropriate, we should not dwell there, but instill our people with hope.
  21. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Senior

    You may or may not know that JVI died on 18 January past at the age of 88. The irrepressible Rexella lives on.

  22. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    All that hairspray is preserving her like formaldehyde.

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