COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic, shelter in place, quarantine, flatten the curve, social distancing, phases of re-opening, economic cost vs health risk…this is one of the strangest presidential election years that I remember. The news cycle is fixated on a virus instead of on the nearing election. Thousands have died of at least in part from contracting the coronavirus. Millions have lost their jobs. Locusts swarmed the African nations. Killer bees and malicious moths have landed in Washington state.
Do you wonder why the United States and other countries are suffering?
Are demonic forces pulling off a grand, coordinated attack against humanity? Is an international conspiracy being played out? Is Mother Earth rebuking mankind for pollution? Have the righteous been forsaken?
God speaks to us today the same words He spoke through His prophet, Jeremiah, c. 625 BC.
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.
Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.” ’ But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’” (Jeremiah 18:1–12)
Does God have just cause to judge the United States of America?
And any potential national treasury of merit has surely been exhausted.
Jeremiah reveals that God is opposed to nations which reject Him. A nation rejecting its Potter is filled with citizens who say, “It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.”
From the American’s point of view, the greatest sin is to deny a man his complete self-autonomy.
We laud the man who greets each neighbor, “Well, if that is ‘your truth’ then go for it!”
We despise the woman who tries to convert her neighbor to an exclusive religion through Jesus Christ alone.
We accept our children who self-diagnose themselves to have been born wrongly into bodies with sex organs which do not fit their gender identity. We allow infinite gender fluidity back and forth over one’s life while outlawing reparative therapy. And all of this despite the protest of the mirror on the wall.
We protect a woman’s right over her own body. That’s what we say when we allow her to have the life of her growing baby’s body taken away in the safety of her womb. The fetus is the woman’s right and freedom. Yet the newborn baby stops being her body and becomes the father’s responsibility via child-support payments.
Two-feet tall Americans rule their towering parents in the grocery check-out line and at bedtime. Our children have learned that it is a sin to deny complete self-autonomy.
Our schedules are too busy to care for our neighbors’ needs.
Our poor are too precious to mature.
We magically make money. Yet somehow our value and security has not increased.
Self-autonomy is a lie.
Declaring autonomy from the Potter is the greatest sin.
The United States is constituted of men and women and children who reject our Potter. The US is not alone in the hall of nations.
What pottery says to the Potter, “Why did you make me thus?” What crafted bowl refuses to retain liquid?
God says, “I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you.”
If this is how He spoke to His people Israel 2,500 years ago, how much more right does He have to speak thus to the United States and other nations?
But this is not all God says. He continues, “Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”
Keep your eye on the ball. Are you following your own plans, according to the stubbornness of your evil heart? Who can enter God’s court and deny that this characterizes the aggregate of our nation’s citizens?
God has declared His pleasure to forgive and relent.
But the self-autonomous has no need for God’s favor. He is alone…alone in the face of the coronavirus, alone in the furry of insect swarms, alone under racial violence and hurricanes and corrupt conspirators. The God-rejecting autonomous man is alone.
Are you alone?
Jonah and Nineveh know that national repentance is still possible.
If the nation is unwilling, God is willing to forgive you and you will not be alone.
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6–8)
“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:25–30)
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” (Romans 10:12–13)
Call on the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith and you will never be alone.