The nations presently find themselves trapped inside their fears—and all because they’re afraid of getting sick and/or dying from a disease. Though from the beginning of history God sentenced all humanity to trouble, anxiety and death for Adam’s sin Genesis 3:17-19.
The more important question hardly anyone has asked is: has the present crisis increased anyone’s FEAR of GOD? Has it made anyone more aware that, while we may or may not contract COVID-19...and we may or may not die from it...we’ll ALL appear before “the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for things done while in the body, whether good or bad” II Corinthians 5:10?
This generation may be in the introductory stages of trouble that will bring turmoil we’ve never faced. If so, all of it will be well-deserved. We have, as a culture, abandoned the fear of God; as a result we consign ourselves to being afraid of challenges that are mere difficulties blown by our unprotected lives into enfeebling tribulations.
With that insight, maybe the lesson we can learn from COVID-10 is: repent America of your intellectual hubris and your moral depravity. Return to God and his Christ who made this nation the envy of the world. Pray Ezra’s prayer in Ezra 9:5-15.
Understand that God CANNOT be mocked. Not SHOULD NOT be mocked. We cannot throw our shoulders back and lift our head in scorn of God, tossing him off as a nuisance or irrelevance. We suffer if we try. We may complain that we’ve done nothing deserving what we experience. But since God, not we, made the rules, he says we have and he won’t tolerate it.
All of which introduces the content of Part III: “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on’”. “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them” Revelation 14:13.
In the context preceding 14:13, God’s angel foretold the punishment of anyone worshipping—that is--devoted to the world system opposing Christ. He left no doubt of the eternal torment they received for daring to contest God’s universal sovereignty over history.
Interrupting that baleful denunciation, the third beatitude comes directly from heaven. If all kinds of bad come to God’s enemies, the future for those dead in Jesus is dramatically different. Blessed is their death. The very same word Jesus used in Matthew’s beatitudes means valued, desired, pleasurable, fortunate, beatified, happy—Psalm 116:15 all over again.
Against the doom awaiting God’s enemies, the delight ahead for God’s people. Against the anxiety characterizing the living who oppose God, the assurance of the redeemed entering God’s presence. Against depression in the living, but doomed, mortals, buoyancy for the saved dead. Amen. End Part III