This is, of course, a very timely question. The whole world is now thinking about this deadly disease and it is striking fear and panic in the hearts of many as we witness thousands of people being infected with the Coronavirus and everyone being affected by the drastic disruption in our daily lives, which includes an economic impact that may be felt for a long time to come. I believe it is wise indeed to turn to the Bible to see what it has to say about infectious diseases.

Pestilences (i.e. deadly, infectious diseases) are not new in mankind’s history. One of the most well-known passages on this subject is found in the book of Exodus when God sent various plagues and diseases to the people of Egypt so they would let His people leave for the land of Canaan. In Exodus 9:13-16 God told Moses to tell Pharaoh (the King of Egypt): “Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: ‘Let my people go, that they may serve Me, for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth. Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with PESTILENCE, then you would have been cut off from the earth. But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I MAY SHOW MY POWER in you, and that MY NAME MAY BE DECLARED in all the earth.” In these words the Lord is reminding Pharaoh that He could have completely destroyed the people in the pestilences that had already taken place (see verses 1-12), but instead He spared many of them to display His power and make His name known in all the earth. I believe every pestilence God has allowed since then should serve the same purpose; to show ungodly men His power and to declare His name. God is no doubt trying to speak to people today through this deadly Coronavirus but the question is: Do they have ears to hear? I must also say that this pestilence pales in comparison to future pestilences that will occur during the coming Tribulation Period. We read of them in Luke 21:11, “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and PESTILENCES; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” Like today, men’s HEARTS will be FILLED WITH FEAR at that time: “Men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken” (verse 26). Again, God uses pestilences, along with other calamities, to get man’s attention, but the question remains, “Do they have ears to hear?”

God also uses plagues and deadly diseases to speak to His people who are in a sad spiritual state. God told the Israelites, “If you walk contrary to me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more PLAGUES, according to your sins….I will send PESTILENCE among you” (Leviticus 26:21). One may be thinking, “God is very harsh in His dealings with His people.” Yet we must realize that God is HOLY and hates sin, and He will sometimes use diseases to get the attention of His people so they can repent of their sins and be restored to fellowship with Him. In the church at Corinth His people were living in unjudged sin and as a result we read, “For this reason many are WEAK and SICK among you, and many SLEEP. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1st Corinthians 11:30-33). And let’s remember that when God does chasten His people, His LOVE is also in action as we see in Hebrews 12:5, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

Now I would like to address BELIEVERS who are living godly lives and wondering, “Why is God allowing this to happen?”  I believe He wants us to BE A TESTIMONY TO OTHERS and in doing so to GLORIFY CHRIST. We see this truth in 1st Peter 1:6-7, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” It is during times of trouble that we can really MANIFEST TO THOSE AROUND US that we are true believers in Jesus Christ. If they see us enduring trials patiently (see James 1:2-4) it will prove to them “the genuineness of our faith” and it will bring honor and glory to our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. During this Coronavirus crisis, our faith should also be displayed in acts of love and kindness towards others who are in need in so many ways. If our faith is on display, we may see unsaved souls coming to us and asking us, “How can you have so much patience and peace during this crisis?” This will be a golden opportunity to point them to Jesus Christ, the “Savior of sinners.” We are told in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” As I said above, God is no doubt trying to speak to men at this time. He wants them to “face their own mortality” and “consider their eternal destiny” and we can be His messengers to show them that God truly loves them and wants them to be saved from eternal destruction. This is, dear fellow-believer, our main mission in life, and we can be praying for the Lord to open up these precious opportunities to us so we can proclaim the gospel to precious souls.

Some believers may be thinking, “I wish I could be used of the Lord in this way, but I find myself frightened by all that is happening.” Dear ones remember what the Lord Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, MY PEACE I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED, NEITHER LET IT BE AFRAID.” The Lord Jesus wants to give us HIS PEACE! Just as He calmed the troubled Sea of Galilee (see Matthew 8:23-27), He wants to calm the fears of our heart. The Apostle Paul gave us this same “prescription for PEACE” in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING, but in everything by PRAYER and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the PEACE OF GOD, which surpasses all understanding, will GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS.”

I will close with a final word to UNBELIEVERS. Dear friend, you have every right to be fearful at this time. Your life has been turned upside down and you don’t know how long and how bad this is going to be. You may very well be thinking, “I could even die if I become infected with this dreadful disease.” If you would die, where would you be? The Bible is clear there are only two destinies, heaven or hell. The Lord Jesus pleads with you in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to DESTRUCTION, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to LIFE, and there are few who find it.” Jesus does NOT want you to continue on the road that leads to DESTRUCTION (Hell); He wants you to “enter through the narrow gate that leads to ETERNAL LIFE”….and HE IS THAT GATE. In John 10:9 Jesus said, “I am THE DOOR. If anyone ENTERS BY ME, he will be saved.” In John 14:6 He declared, “I am THE WAY, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” I would plead with you, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).  (405.1A)  (DO)