Pastors Message (COVID-19)

Thoughts on the Coronavirus Pandemic
19 March 2020

To the congregation of Berachah Church:

No crisis overtakes us, that the Lord does not know, and has prepared for in eternity past. The great questions that haunt us: What is the reason for the crisis? What will God do in this crisis? What will He show us? Is this divine discipline? What message does  He send to a client nation on the decline? The question for the believer is not: What is the cause, and who is to blame? Leave that to the medical establishment, and to the politicians. It is the Lord that must be our focus and our deliverer in this Coronavirus crisis. David
calls it in Psalm 18:2:
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
No matter the type of crisis—war, famine, pestilence, disasters, economic depression— this verse applies; but you must apply it to the crisis.
The Coronavirus is a new plague, never before identified. Yet, pandemics and deadly plagues are not new. They have appeared throughout history—the bubonic plague, influenza, typhus, anthrax, ebola, to name a few. All the ancient and modern civilizations have had their bouts with terrible contagious diseases and pestilence. Israel of the Old Testament, the first client nation to God, was no exception. In fact, God used such plagues to discipline this people. Leviticus 26:21 confirms: “If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins.” And this is only the third cycle of discipline out of five cycles. Client nations that fail cannot escape divine justice in whatever form.
But, then and now, when facing such epidemics, the solution is the same—faith-rest for the believer in Jesus Christ. Psalm 91:3 states the principle:
“For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, and from the deadly pestilence.” This virus is a test, to see if you have the doctrine to use faith-rest, and not to succumb to fear or panic; not hoarding food or toilet paper, so that others are denied; not defying the mandates of the local authorities because you do not agree; not launching unfounded conspiracy theories; not criticizing or spreading rumors of government attempts to control the citizens by quarantine or mandates against assembly. That is
one of the best purposes of government: to protect citizens. If some leaders and persons in government intend to gain advantage from the crisis, just remember whose justice is always active in the world. That is our study in Psalm Chapter 7. We don’t know, at least not at this moment, what God’s plan might be for this client nation. But clearly He has a purpose. And, that purpose works together for your good. That is the faith-rest attitude. So, we as believers must not succumb to the temptation to lean on mankind to solve our
problems. We need not dwell on the cause of the crisis—on conspiracy theories about China, President Trump, or government schemes to promote political agendas. We have the solution! In a crisis, we must look to the Lord for help and confidence. We have more spiritual problem-solvers than even David had. But David had faith-rest, and so do we—use it. For those who over the years have grown in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, this is an opportunity to shine, to present the attitude of the mature believer. This should be your finest hour.

Your Pastor,
Robert B. Thieme III