“Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.”
“BUT THE LORD IS IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE; LET ALL THE EARTH BE SILENT BEFORE HIM.”
Habakkuk 2:18, 20
These words were received from God more than 2600 years ago; and, they were written for every following generation of mankind to read and to contemplate. Human nature has not changed in the past 2600 years. And, to any person who is willing to “be silent before God”, these words are speaking loudly and clearly to all of the people on planet earth at the present time.
In the first sentence above, God warns us against the danger of worshiping idols. An idol is anything (Slow down. Read that word again. Stop. Apply it to your life. “ANYTHING”) that we place ahead of God in our life.
When we take the time to engage in serious personal reflection, when we deliberately choose to “be silent before God”, each person who is willing to listen to the conscience which God has placed in every human being will humbly admit that we serve not one, not two, but many idols in our lives.
Right now, at this very moment, God is calling our entire planet to engage in the positive, wholesome, honest reflection of this question: What are the idols in your life? The list of obvious idols includes, sex, power, money, comfort, security, recreation, amusement, politics, knowledge, information, television, media, FaceTime, internet, government, shopping, lawn work, the stock market, retirement, exercise, children, parents, news, and the list goes on and on and on.
When was the last time that you were simply “silent before God”? I am not talking about your daily Bible reading or your daily time of prayer. I am talking about spending one-on-one time with God as you allow Him to search your heart, to express His will for your life, and to create within you a desire to know, love, and value Him as your best friend.
Have you ever wondered why God sent His son Jesus to earth during the first century A.D.? Into a culture with none of the modern devices and machines which we have today? The answer is obvious. The Jews and non-Jews of ancient Israel had plenty of time to listen. And, they had far less idols to occupy their attention. Furthermore, life was hard and brutal. As a result, knowledge of the gift of eternal life was attractive and encouraging to a world in which disease, famine, suffering, hard work, and oppression were common to the majority of mankind.
Anyone who is not willing to consider what God is doing through the coronavirus is simply too preoccupied with one or more of their personal idols to pay attention to the bigger picture. As a world, as a nation, as a community, and (yes) even as the church of Jesus Christ, we have forgotten God.
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both the soul and body in hell.”
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So, don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:28 – 31
It may not have occurred to you during the coronavirus lock-down, but God is God. There is no perspiration on His forehead. If there is one molecule of the universe which is outside of His control, then He is not God. Everything happens for a reason. God is shouting to us from His throne room which is located outside of time and space. God is shouting that He loves you. God is shouting that His Son Jesus the Christ died on a cruel Roman cross to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind – past, present, and future. God is shouting, “Believe in the name and person of the Lord Jesus Christ” and you will be saved from the pre-announced punishment which God is graciously withholding from the rebellious inhabitants of planet earth.
The apostle Paul has warned us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise” of the coming judgment. When judgment day arrives, all people who have rejected the love of Christ will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
And Peter tells us that the Lord “is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
The coronavirus is child’s play compared to the judgment which is yet to come upon the inhabitants of the earth.
Peter tells us, “…the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:7
The coronavirus is a wake-up call for both the “churched” and the “unchurched”. Attending a worship service in a “church building” is not proof that you are a Christian any more than sleeping in a garage is proof that you are a car.
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell him plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!’” Matthew 7:21 – 23
The apostle Paul tells us this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
God loves you! He is crying out to you! He is trying to get your attention. Not only through the coronavirus. But, also through the visible and the invisible qualities of the vast universe which He has created.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day, they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all of the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:4
God is love. And, He created you and me and all of mankind so that we can enjoy a personal love relationship with Him for all of eternity.
Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16 – 18
Please read those words of Jesus (from John 3:16 – 18) again. Read them slowly. Meditate on them. Analyze what Jesus is saying. Jesus does not play favorites. He died for your sin, for my sin, for the sin of every man, woman, and child that has ever lived on this planet. Righteous judgment against sin awaits every inhabitant of planet earth who refuses to receive God’s offer of forgiveness because all of us are sinners. God does not send anyone to hell. Every person who goes to hell has already been forgiven by God. People go to hell for one reason and one reason only: they stubbornly refuse to receive God’s gift of forgiveness. They simply refuse to accept Jesus as the Savior of the world.
God is shouting to us (to all of the inhabitants of planet earth) from His throne in heaven. “I love you! I love you! I love you!”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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 11:28 – 30
Right now. Everyday. Day and night. The talking heads of the media – internet, television, radio, newspapers, magazines – are trafficking in fear. The media desires nothing except to control you, to scare you, and to win your allegiance to whatever agenda they are promoting. Why subject yourself to their manipulation? Why subject yourself to fear?
The disciple John has told us, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him…There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:16 – 18
Do not fear! Put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Let Jesus walk with you and talk with you! “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water (i.e. human childbirth) and the Spirit (i.e. to be made alive spiritually by a relationship with God). Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:5 – 6
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25 – 26
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
My friends, death cannot kill that which never dies! When you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, you immediately receive eternal life! You are “born again”. And, you take on a new nature which enables you to live a life which is pleasing to God. You are going to live forever! As a follower of Christ, you can and should live without fear. Nothing – I repeat nothing – in all of creation will ever happen to you on planet earth unless and until it first passes through the nail-scarred hands of Jesus.
Paul said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him (Jesus) who loved us… For I am convinced that neither death nor life … nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35 – 39
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
To “be saved” means you will not go to hell. You are forgiven of all of your sins – past, present, and future. The real you – the spiritual you – is never going to die. The moment your physical body stops breathing, the real you, your eternal spirit, passes immediately into the presence of Christ. And, because God is in absolute control of the universe, you will not die physically until God wants you to leave planet earth.
In Psalm 139:16, king David says to God, “…your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
God loves you. You were created by God and for God. God loves you so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son to die for your sins and for the sins of all of mankind. Therefore, you can and should live without fear. All of us should see this world-wide virus for what it truly is. God is using this pandemic to get everybody’s attention. God is calling the entire world to repentance. God is calling the entire world to receive and enjoy eternal life!
If you are already a follower of Christ, God is calling us to forsake the idols – the false gods – which we have allowed to dominate our lives. God is calling the believers in Jesus Christ who live anywhere on this planet to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
If you are not yet a follower of Christ, if you want to live without fear, if you want to live life on earth “to the full”, if you want to live with freedom and joy and without any anxiety, if you want to appear in the eternal kingdom of heaven the very moment that you breathe your last breath on earth (whether from the coronavirus or otherwise), then pray this prayer to Jesus right now:
“Jesus you died upon a cross
And rose again to save the lost.
Forgive me now of all my sin.
Come be my Savior, Lord and Friend.
Change my life and make it new.
And help me, Lord, to live for you.”
“The Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.” Habakkuk 2:20
Now, during this time of the coronavirus, take full advantage of the physical lockdown that God has allowed for the inhabitants of planet earth. Turn off the media. Open the Bible. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
Through the coronavirus, God is sending to us a reminder of how we should live. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
You think about that! Amen.
Sincerely Yours in the love of Christ,
© 2020 Nicholas J. Cook