Have you noticed during this quarantine period all of the different ways in which people have responded to the directive to stay home and shelter? Media posts reveal there are those who think the whole Coronavirus is a hoax, connected to one or more conspiracy theories, or otherwise blown way out of proportion; they in turn think that all of the shutdowns and social distancing are absurd. There are even those who have hosted ‘Coronavirus Parties’, intentionally violating all of the social distancing rules! In contrast, others meticulously adhere to every suggestion for safety—wearing masks and gloves, wiping down all of their food brought into their home, washing down their counters with an anti-bacterial cleaner—if one can be found!—and washing their hands for the prescribed 20 seconds continuously throughout the day. Some people even have taken to ‘ratting’ out those they think aren’t practicing appropriate social distancing and posting ‘shaming’ pictures on Facebook.
I thought of all of the ways in which people have responded to Covid-19 as I was reading in Deuteronomy today where the Lord tells the Israelites over and over again, to carefully obey all of the commands God gave to them (Deuteronomy 12:28;15:5;28:1, 13,15) Why did He insist that they ‘carefully’ obey ‘all’ of the commands? So that it might go well with them, and so that they would prosper all of the days of their life. In other words, He wanted them to obey the ‘rules’ for their safety and well-being. In Deuteronomy 27-30 God enumerates His commands and the blessings for obedience and the curses that would befall the Israelites if they chose to disobey—or rebel against— His commands. The history of the nation of Israel is directly linked to their failing to carefully obey God’s commands. Have you thought that perhaps what we’re experiencing in the world today is directly related to our also rebelling against God’s commands that He gave to us for our good? We as a world have violated all of God’s commands, so why should we surprised that ‘things are not going well’ for us?
What about you? How carefully do you follow God’s commands? Are you as concerned about following God’s commands as you are about following the temporary Covid-19 ‘rules’ for sanitization, ‘social distancing’, and being quarantined? In order to follow the Covid-19 ‘rules’, you have to know them, don’t you? Similarly, in order to follow God’s commands, you must know them. His commands are all revealed in His instructions to us found in the Bible. So, how well do you know God’s commands? In other words, how well do you know the Bible? For example, would you be able to say ‘for sure’ that something is— or isn’t- one of the 10 commandments? Would you be able to state definitely what the most important commandments are? And, more importantly, how carefully would you say you follow the Lord’s commands that He gave so that you can be safe, protected, and able to live abundantly?
Violating the Covid-19 ‘rules’ can lead to your loss of health, and in some cases even to the loss of your life. Violating God’s commands always leads to loss. Adam and Eve lost the joy and privilege of being in the Garden of Eden. Most of all, they lost the joy of having unbroken fellowship and intimacy with God when they disobeyed Him. Jacob disobeyed God’s commands to ‘not bear false witness’ when he deceived his father by pretending to be his brother Esau in order to obtain his father’s blessing; he lost his father’s trust, he alienated his brother, and he had to flee his home land to escape his brother’s wrath (Genesis 27). Moses lost his ability to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land because he didn’t carefully follow God’s instructions regarding speaking to the rock to bring forth water, and instead in his anger he hit the rock (Numbers 20:1-13).Ananias and Sapphira lost their very lives when they lied about what they had given as an offering to God (Acts 5:1-11). Name a character in the Bible who was disobedient, and you will find that they suffered some kind of loss. And what was true of them is also true for us when we choose to disobey God’s commands: we will always suffer loss of some kind.
If someone violates the rules for sanitizing, social distancing and being in quarantine, they may or may not get Covid-19. And if they do get Covid-19, they may or may not be able to regain their health and wholeness because there are some long-term health implications for many who contract it, and there is no known, sure cure. The loss can even be death.
In contrast, no matter how much someone tries to follow all of God’s commands, everyone ends up disobeying them, and therefore all are under the curse of the law and deserve death (Romans 3:23; 6:23) We do not have to live in fear that there is no hope for our violating God’s commands! We have a sure cure to our disobedience, which is faith in Jesus! God is able to turn even the losses we suffer from our disobedience to His commands into gain by using them to bring us to the ‘end of ourselves’ so that we recognize our need to repent and turn to Jesus as our Savior! It’s our faith in Him and His atoning work on the cross that’s the certain cure for our failure to carefully obey all of God’s commands.
May we all obey His command to turn to Jesus and ‘repent’, for in Him we will find healing for our souls, the power to overcome the temptation to ‘sidestep’ His commands, the strength to obey His commands, as well as everlasting life in Heaven! (Matthew 4:17;Mark 1:15;Luke 5:31-32;24:46-48)
Written by Julie Van Gorp