COVID-19 Quarantine Part 2

            Whenever my wife turns on the news my brain immediately starts to process what is going on in our world, all while wanting to jump to the book of Revelation and connect dots. Of course, as that is happening reports filter in about COVID-19 having respiratory complications and I am looking at the definition of plague, while links are coming through our messenger about locust swarms in Africa. I mean, we have all the trappings of an apocalyptic series on our hands as it stands. Throw in wars, rumor of wars, they will say ‘peace’ and destruction will come upon them and way too much caffeine on top of too many hours staring at a screen—it’s really easy to fall into a state of fear.
          However, as we move through the growing pains of adapting to social distancing, I want to take a moment to remind all of us that God is the Great I AM (Exodus 3:13-14). Last week, I mentioned how God’s plan to restore us can be seen all the way back in Genesis 3 when Mankind fell. In that moment God was the Great I AM. When the sins of the earth became so great that God sent the Flood, He was still the Great I AM. When He brought the Israelites out of their bondage in Egypt and led them to the Promised Land, He even revealed Himself to them as I AM. His Covenant Name, Yahweh, I Am Who I Am, or I Am What I Cause to Be…or, if you prefer I Am the Self-Existent Oneeach of those attest to His being omnipresent (everywhere at the same time), omnipotent (possessing unlimited power) and knowing all things at once, as He is in all places at the same time, thus: omniscient (knowing everything).
          So, in just who He said He was to Moses in Exodus, who He reaffirmed He was every time His Name was used throughout Scripture, we can be certain that He knew, as a result of this Fallen World that we live in, the day would come that COVID-19 would happen. He knew which of us would be here and whether or not we would be proclaiming the Gospel to those who need it. He was aware of it before we were ever born.

          Now, some of us may be going, “Hold up, where is Yahweh in my Bible?” Truth is, most of our modern translations translate Yahweh as LORD. In fact, anytime that we see Lord spelled in all caps, with O-R-D in smaller caps, that is one of the 6,800 times Yahweh is written in the original manuscripts. When the Israelites ceased using the Covenant Name of Yahweh out of fear of taking His name in vain, they began to instead say and write Lord in an attempt to keep His name holy. Thus, when the Apostle Thomas proclaimed: My Lord and My God (John 20:28), we can understand that he was referring to Christ in the most holy way that his understanding of the Law allowed.
          In fact, when God sent the angel to tell Mary that she would be giving birth to the Savior, His very name Jesus, in Hebrew is Yeshua. As the Holman Treasury of Key Words puts it:  
In keeping with this ancient tradition, Joseph was told by an angel that he should name his son “Jesus” because “it is He who will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). The name “Jesus” signifies two important aspects of our Lord and Savior: first, it means that He is Yahweh; second, it means that He is “the Savior.” This is not our Lord’s first name. It is His primary name. He is Jesus; He is Yahweh, the Savior. Iēsous is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua meaning “Yahweh shall save.” Although Yeshua was a common name among the Jews (Luke 3:29; Col. 4:11), the name uniquely expresses Jesus’ work on earth: to save and to deliver.[1]
            So, as we can see, our Savior is Yahweh, in the Flesh, as Jesus/Yeshua, our Redeemer and Suffering Servant. Why is any of this important to us? As part of the triune aspect of Yahweh, as God in the Flesh, Jesus could have decimated all that stood in His way. His apostles even asked Him: “do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” (Luke 9:54). Yet, He chose to endure. He chose to go before the Sanhedrin; He chose to go to Calvary and what He had to say on the Cross changed everything: it is finished.
            Our fallenness, the debt of our transgressions, the cost of our iniquity—God paid all of it in full. Three days later, He rose out of the tomb just as He said He would. He laid down His life and took it back up to show us that the curses we brought on ourselves were paid for and we had a hope for a restored relationship with God, in Eternity, where all things are renewed and restored as a result of His power and majesty. That was His love for us. To do for us what we could not do for ourselves. To fulfill that which we could never accomplish of our own efforts under the Law. All we have to do is have faith in Him, surrender our lives to Him and confess His lordship within our hearts and with our mouths so that we are saved.
             In doing that, in surrendering our lives to Him, we have the greatest assurance against fear. He knows what is going on. He knows how it works according to the plan and purpose to bring about His will. He knows that we struggle, and we are afraid. But, He has provided a way for us to rise above that fear in Christ.
              You might be wondering why God would allow this whole COVID-19 situation. I used to ask similar questions. Why would a loving God allow my sister to die? Why would a loving God allow a 14-year-old kid to go to prison? To us, all of this, this world, our circumstances here and our state of being—it is all very permanent as it is all we know. As children, we understood and knew the world from our child-like eyes; and we learned many lessons as kids from either our parents inserting themselves into our lives, or when they stepped back and let us figure it out on our own. Those heartbreaks and life-altering situations for us as tweens, or teens which seemed like the end of the world to us—our parents knew that life would go on and they acted accordingly. We can even look back and realize how silly our perception was then. However, how often do we consider that an Eternal, All-knowing and All-powerful God such as Yahweh, sees things from a vantage that we do not?
                 Consider humanities history. God allowed mankind to do our own thing until it was evident that like toddlers we simply could not stand on our own two feet. Then He sent the Law and the Prophets. The Israelites got disciplined. Then, He subjected Himself to the consequence of this Fallen World to show us that while we see all of this as permanent, even death is but a temporary circumstance for those of us who believe! Now, we have His Word and a choice to study the Word to show ourselves approved and to choose to accept Jesus Christ as the Word made flesh or to choose ourselves and our own way.
               Why? Because, none of this is permanent. It is all temporary and it is all a preparation for the Kingdom that is to come. God knows this. He sees what we do not. He sees it from beyond time. He can see the outcome for us, much the same way we see the outcome for our children when they make good and horrible choices. Yes, we suffer. Yes, we endure hardships, and we go through things we wish we did not. But, none of that is His doing. All of that is a consequence of our choosing to be self-serving rather than God-serving, and self-centered, rather than God-centered. We live in a world that is still marred by the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Our world is Fallen. That is not on God. That is on Mankind. We had one rule: don’t eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If we are being completely transparent, someone at some point would have eventually tried their hand. It is better that it was Adam and Eve and we can get all the hard-knock lessons about why we should obey God out of the way.
             So, in this time of uncertainty, rather than focus on the End Times prophecies, rather than focus on our own mortality and how messed up things can be or how messed up things are—I encourage you to look at this from what we can understand of God’s perspective. None of this is permanent. All of this is temporary. Heaven and Hell are eternal. Salvation is available for all who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior. Some of us will choose eternal life, some of us won’t. But, when the circumstances in this Fallen World become dire, are we focusing on the horrible circumstances and the rabbit holes that lead us nowhere, or are we focusing on and sharing the Good News that Jesus Christ is still sitting on His throne, at the right hand of the Father?
            Until Next Time
            God Bless

[1] Eugene E. Carpenter and Philip W. Comfort, Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Defined and Explained (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 313.


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