2020-05-21 Shall I Gather or Scatter?

“yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
Matthew 11:26

I’m having a hard time today with all this coronavirus stuff. It’s really messing with some important plans of mine. Therefore, I need to remind myself of the big picture.

First, whatever happens in this world is allowed by God. As R.C. Sproul was fond of saying, “There is no maverick molecule if God is sovereign.” As one of the more neglected verses of the bible says, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity. I am the Lord, who does all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)

If Satan is involved at all, it is only to serve the Lord’s purpose. The father of lies only serves to glorify God, even though what he does only serves to steal, kill, and destroy. How is that, you may wonder? Because righteous and justice are the foundation of God’s throne.

Romans 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.

God will one day punish all wickedness. That’s the plan. Satan’s evil intentions are storing up God’s wrath against him. The same is true for us humans. We refuse to honor God or give him thanks. We are fully aware, so we are without excuse. One day, we shall meet his full wrath (Romans 1:18-23). Like it or not, the bible accurately depicts the human condition.

Yet God is merciful and forgives all who repent. This offer extends to every single human ever born or to be born. Whatever we may have done, he will forgive if only we genuinely honor him as God and give him thanks. Incredibly, we don’t. We won’t. We refuse to. Instead, we create gods of our own and worship them.

All through recorded biblical history, we see God using signs and wonders to get our attention. Even if we give him our attention, we soon turn our backs to him again. He has sent prophet after prophet to warn us directly, with spoken and written words as well as incredible illustrative examples. We end up putting them to death to silence them.

Why should this coronavirus be any different? Clearly, God is aware and will use it for his glory. Is he trying to get our attention with it? If so, why? I think the answers to these are yes and to repent. As far as plagues go, this one is incredibly mild. It would have been just as easy for God to wipe out billions of us, but he didn’t. That demonstrates mercy. He would rather we change our ways than to execute judgement against us. He’s giving us more time.

I’m glad for that. Yes, I am born again, so I will not experience God’s wrath. I’m forgiven. He not only gave me more time; he has deemed my debt paid in full. How? Through Jesus’ crucifixion. I don’t deserve forgiveness. God, of his own choosing, desired to choose me to show his great mercy. There is no getting around it, folks, apart from his mercy, I would still be worshiping other gods with the rest of the world until the day of judgment. But he forgave me. Not only that, but he changed me. He gave me a new heart that I might now willfully follow him. That’s his prerogative. He is under no obligation to forgive anyone.

Meanwhile, God is still sending his message to the rest of the world – repent and change your ways! He uses the wonders of the stars and the little toes and fingers of newborns to amaze us to this fact. Anywhere and everywhere we look, he leaves his mark for us to see – not in just the good things, but the bad things as well.

So, the coronavirus is a message directly from God to the people of earth so that we might be saved from a judgment of eternal flame. Why doesn’t he just say so? He did, in many ways, but particularly so through his Son. Remember what Jesus said about that when he told the story of the rich man and Lazarus, when the dead rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus from the dead to warn his brothers?

Luke 16:31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Jesus rose from the dead, right? The world isn’t convinced. Even so, God still keeps reminding the entire world to repent. Right now, the coronavirus is simply one way of doing that.

Now, I’m pretty sure you are like me in that you have plenty of unsaved family, friends, and acquaintances who are unsaved. Aren’t you glad that God hasn’t already called his court in session and began judgment? Your loved ones still have time to repent. You still have time to warn them of the wrath to come. You do, and I do. Isn’t it a good thing that God is patient?

Isn’t it a good thing that God sent the coronavirus?

Yes, it is. Now, am I going to get all twisted up about my own foiled plans and be angry that our government is creating more chaos than the virus itself is doing? I could, but then I would be missing the bigger picture. I really don’t want to do that.

“Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
Matthew 12:30

So, my soul, am I going to gather – or scatter?

Father, thank you for the gospel. Indeed, it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Amen.

Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers

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