“If My people who are called by My Name will 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 heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
When There is Pestilence
At the time of the consecration of the Temple, God declared: “When I shut up Heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people…” 2 Chronicles 7:13. This was the context for that monumentally important Scripture verse. During any time of disaster, humility, prayer and repentance should be our response.
To Heal Our Land
If we want God to heal our land, then we need Him to forgive our sin. God declares that He will not even listen to our prayers unless we do four things: humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14).
In Time of Disaster
In Luke 13, we read that when the people reported to the Lord Jesus of the man-made disaster of Pontius Pilate massacring Galileans at the Temple in Jerusalem, “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish’.” Luke 13:2-3
Call for Repentance
Our Lord then referred to the disastrous collapse of the tower in Siloam, where 18 people died. “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:4-5. Our Lord Jesus used both natural and man-made disasters as an opportunity to call people to repentance.
The Blessings of Obedience and Curses of Disobedience
The Law of God makes clear that there are blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. While we are judged in Eternity as individuals, we are judged on earth as nations. There are blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. What we sow is what we shall reap. “I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.” Leviticus 26:16
Sickness Can be a Judgment from God
“Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed.” Deuteronomy 28:61
“Therefore I will also make you sick by striking you, by making you desolate because of your sins.” Micah 6:13
“For this reason many are weak and sick among you and many sleep.” 1 Corinthians 11:30
In the Law of God, in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28 and Jeremiah 18, we read that there are blessings of obedience and curses for disobedience that come upon a nation. “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.’” Jeremiah 18:7-11
None of these Diseases
“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His Commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus 15:26
“And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.” Deuteronomy 7:15
Turn to the God Who Heals
“O Lord my God, I cried out to You and You healed me.” Psalm 30:2
“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.” Hosea 6:1
To Heal and to Bless
At the beginning of our Lord’s ministry here on earth, He declared: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” Luke 4:18
Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained
Sickness is part of a complex of judgment on fallen humanity. In the original paradise which God created there was no sickness or death. Nor will there be in the New Jerusalem, in Eternity, when paradise is restored. Sin, death and disease entered the world through the transgression of the first Adam. Atonement, salvation and redemption are made available because of the obedience and vicarious sacrifice of the second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ. When paradise is restored, in eternity, there will be no more disease and death.
Disaster, Disease and Death are Not Necessarily the Fault of the One Who is Suffering
However, now we live in a fallen world, where disease, disaster and death are part of daily life. We should not assume that disaster or disease comes upon an individual because of their personal sin. When the disciples asked our Lord concerning the man born blind, His disciples asked: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.’” John 9:3
Respond in Faith Not with Fear
How should we respond to disaster and disease, pandemic and panic?
Well, obviously, as Christians, we may not respond in fear. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Do Not Worry About Anything – Pray About Everything
Our Lord commands us not to worry (Matthew 6:25). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
God Works All Things for Good for Those Who Love Him
As Christians, we have a confidence that God works all things together for good for those who love Him and who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). As Joseph could say to his wicked brothers who sold him into slavery. “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…” Genesis 50:20. What man means for evil, God can use for good, for His people.
Opportunities for Evangelism
We need to see in every disaster and disease, an opportunity for Evangelism. As our Lord used occasions of natural or man-made disasters to call people to consider Eternity and to respond in repentance, so we need to have a sense of urgency to use such opportunities for evangelistic conversations.
Is it not extraordinary, that within just a few months, the whole world has heard about the Coronavirus and its symptoms and precautions one need to take to prevent contracting it, or spreading it? Why is it taking the church so long to fulfil the Great Commission of Jesus Christ? Since the Fall of man, we have been in a state of emergency. The sinful rebellion of human beings against our Creator and violation of his Laws, is the greatest disaster and threat through all of history. Sin is the worst pandemic. Sin has a 100% infection rate. Sin has a 100% mortality rate. There is only one cure. We have Good News of the only Saviour. This is the most important issue with eternal repercussions.
Show the Symptoms and Present the Saviour
We have the Law of the Lord as the schoolmaster to lead people to Christ that they can be justified by Faith (Galatians 3:24). “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul…” Psalm 19:7. We need to use the Law of God to draw peoples’ attention to the symptoms of their sin, how they have violated the Law of God. To alert people to the deadly danger each one of us are in and we need to present the Gospel of Repentance and forgiveness of sins thorough our Lord Jesus Christ as the only sinless human being Who ever walked this planet, the only Mediator between God and man, the only Saviour whose atoning death on the Cross achieved salvation for everyone who believes His Gospel and follows in His steps.
In the Book of Acts, we read that the believers went everywhere, proclaiming the Gospel to all. Historians describe the spread of the Gospel in the First Century, as like a wildfire, contagious disease, but in a positive sense. Christianity is more caught, than taught. Is your faith vibrant? Is your relationship with the Lord real? Is your Christianity contagious?
He Gives More Grace
“He gives more grace when the burdens grow greater.
He sends more strength when the labours increase.
To added affliction, He adds His mercy.
To multiplied trials, His multiplies peace.
“When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed before the day is half-done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
“His love has no limit. His grace has no measure.
His power no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He gives and gives and gives again.”
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
A Balanced Response to the Coronavirus
Spiritual Diseases and the Biblical Cure
Martin Luther on Deadly Plagues
Click here for Spiritual Diseases, in a PDF Tract form that can be printed for distribution.
Click here for a Living Waters tract, 7 Ways to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus.
Click here to view the new Living Waters film, Pandemic.
To view the video of the Reformation Society presentation: Pandemic, Panic, Propaganda and Priorities, click here.
To listen to the audio of the Reformation Society lecture: Pandemic, Panic, Propaganda and Priorities, click here.