If you have read the Bible you know that there is peppered throughout its pages instances where God has allowed plagues or pandemics to occur. Some have been initiated directly by Him as in the plagues of Egypt prior to the exodus. Others have been instigated by Satan as in the book of Job. But all have been permitted by the Lord to draw men closer to Him !
The prophet Joel begins his book by telling us about a plague that God directed of waves of insects who would absolutely devastate the land. The very first words of the book are a stark call to LISTEN to what God is doing. Do you remember as a kid when your Mom or Dad raised their voice or used your middle name? It was an attention grabber ! Well that’s what God does here: “Hear this, you elders, give ear, all inhabitants of the land ! Has such a thing happened in your days?” The last great pandemic we have faced as a world happened around a century ago in the “Spanish flu”. “Elders” now would have to answer, “Nope, can’t recall such a happening in my many years !” This one is beyond what I have ever experienced in all my decades of living and it’s got my attention !!
But why is He judging His people so? It’s clear as you read on that things were not all that great in their world and God was using the plague to shock them out of their lethargy and spiritual indifference. He goes on to say “Awake, you drunkards, and weep and wail all you drinkers of wine” (vs5). And the spiritual leaders are also commanded to “put on sackcloth and lament” because the “grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God”. (vs.13). Today God has permitted the closing of His churches from congregating normally ! Has any of what has befallen us awakened you spiritually yet? Today is a special Sunday which we call Palm Sunday and the next of course is Easter yet a virus plagues the entire planet in such a way that it is dangerous to meet in groups and worship until such time as God allows it to end !
In a time when we are to especially focus on the greatest most compassionate act ever to grace our world, in the Creator Himself dying for us there has been in us at times a callousness about it all. Oh we go to church year after year, we have our certain traditions but have we left our first love? More babies died because of abortions in our country just a day ago than in even the coronavirus, yet do we care or have we become accustomed to the great and heinous sins in our nation on a daily basis? Are we trusting in Dr’s Fauci and Birx to solve the coronavirus pandemic or have we forgotten that trust is to be in the Lord rather than men? Well God’s remedy may come in part through some wonder drug but ultimately the antidote for what plagues us is not the latest and greatest vaccine but what Joel wrote on vs.14 “Consecrate a fast, call a SOLEMN assembly, gather the elders and ALL the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God and CRY OUT TO THE LORD” !!
It is time for us to repent of our national and personal sins, time for politicians to stop lining their pockets and lying to hold on to power, time for the media to let go of the hate and do honest reporting, time for businesses to serve their fellow man, time for churches to preach the Word without apology rather than cater to the whims of men, time for believers to stop being preoccupied with our agendas and engage faithfully in His local church and LIVE for His agenda !!!! We often hear this verse around Independence Day but it is so very appropriate this day “If My people which are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and WILL HEAL their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).