The top news stories today headline the coronavirus; and for good reason. It is a pandemic (prevalent over a whole country or the world) and everyone of our lives are affected by this worldwide crisis.
The epidemic is spreading so quickly that any facts or updates I may post here will be outdated by the time you read this.
As I was thinking and praying about this I was reminded of the story of Jehoshaphat and the national emergency Israel faced when 4 armies prepared to attack them.
The cliff notes are: Israel is overwhelmed by an enemy attack and God leads them to victory. It is an encouraging event in the history of God’s people, and you can read the story in entirety in 2 Chronicles 20.
3 Things God’s People Do in a Pandemic
As I reread the story (it’s one of my favorites) I looked at it through the lens of what we are experiencing today with COVID-19. There are lessons to be learned about attack, fear, response, and God’s help from the events in the Old Testament.
Here are 3 things God’s people do in a Pandemic:
Turn to God First.
O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.2 Chronicles 20:12
We can talk, watch news, speculate, and semi-prepare; but ultimately, we don’t really know what to do or what might happen. The #1 antidote is asking God for help. The #2 antidote is staying away from fear.
“You cannot face fear and faith at the same time.”
That sentence has become my mantra since the time my friend Cathy looked me in the eye and spoke directly to the fear in my heart.
Fear and faith face opposite directions so you have a choice in this medical chaos to either stay in a place of fear (worry, stress, panic) or turn around and keep your eyes on God and your heart in peace.
I make this about-face, 180 degree turn by speaking God’s Word. Here are 2 of my go-to verses. I encourage you to find your own and begin to declare them.
I will not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For I am settled in my mind that Jehovah will take care of us. Psalm 112:7 TLB
My Guardian God: I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that my true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. Psalms 121:1-2
Do the “Un-usual”.
When your city, your people, your nation has 4 armies marching against them, the typical response would be to gather the troops, give out assignments, ready the people, and prepare for the attack.
Instead, Jehoshaphat calls for prayer and the whole family is involved.
As the people from every part of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there.2 Chronicles 20:13-14
It’s family time!
Gather around the table and have calm, well-informed discussions that lead to a wise, peace-bringing family plan.
This is a great season to:
- stay at home
- bring out the family board games
- enjoy your backyard
- start a new hobby
- plan and plant a garden
- pray together! (If you have children, continually bring assurance to their hearts and pray for them as you tuck them into bed.)
Fight Without Fighting.
Israel learned a new way of fighting the enemy.
Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem. . . The Lord says, ‘Don’t be afraid! Don’t be paralyzed by this mighty army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s!
Tomorrow, go down and attack them! But you will not need to fight!
Take your places; stand quietly and see the incredible rescue operation God will perform for you.
Don’t be afraid or discouraged! Go out there tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!2 Chronicles 20:15-17 TLB
Israel advanced against their enemy with the choir leading the march singing the song His Loving-Kindness Is Forever!
The “weapons” they employed were no fear, trusting, standing firm, singing, and watching the rescue of God.
In Paul’s writings in the New Testament he often speaks of the weapons of our warfare. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT
Yes, I do believe God gives us practical wisdom to use “worldly weapons” against the spread of viruses; washing hands, keeping our hands away from our mouths, improving our immune system, and disinfecting “high-traffic” areas such as computer screens and doorknobs.
But don’t forget to fight with spiritual weapons!
- Stand firm in God’s faithfulness with a quiet, peaceful heart.
- Keep singing. Turn on the praise music in your home and car.
- Stay alert and persistent in your prayers. Ephesians 6:18
- Encourage the hearts of others. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
When we keep our eyes on our Mighty God, we stand out from the crowd and God’s Name is famous.
And as had happened before, when the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God fell upon them. So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was quiet, for his God had given him rest. 2 Chronicles 20:29-30
I am praying for you!
God, I pray for my friends. Give them your peace, your wisdom, and your assurance. May their households be free from this virus. May their words be filled with encouragement and truth. And through all of this may they honor You and point others to Jesus. In Jesus Name – Amen