What in the world is the Lord doing? I am confident that many of you have wrestled with this question over the last several weeks, as I certainly have. Is this pandemic and the associated troubles just a consequence of living in a messed up world? Is it just “the course of nature”? Or the negligence of people? Perhaps it is the judgment of God (if it is that, do we not deserve far worse?). Maybe it is the Lord testing and purifying His people. In all likelihood, it is some combination of all of the above. There is, however, one thing that has been on my mind more than any other. It flows out of a verse in Revelation 12. There we read of a woman about to deliver a male child. But there is a dragon standing over her waiting to devour the child. It is clear that the woman is the Old Testament people of God (Israel), the child is Jesus, and the dragon is Satan. Satan is unsuccessful in his attempts to destroy the woman or her child. So we read in verse 17, “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
Dear friends, we who trust in Christ are the offspring of the woman, “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” This verse tells us that Satan is out to make war with us. He will use every means at his disposal to that end, including this period of isolation due to the coronavirus. In light of that fact, we do well to be on the alert. We must be aware of the devil’s schemes, and be well-equipped with the Word of God.
Satan loves lies. He is a liar and the father of lies. See John 8:44. He twists and manipulates truth for his own evil ends. He loves half truths, and delights in promulgating evil suspicions. In his temptation of Jesus, he twisted truth by misquoting Scripture. See Luke 4:9-12.
What kind of lies might Satan seek to tempt us with in the face of this pandemic? Perhaps it is the one that says you are only safe if you hide from everyone. Perhaps it is the one that says Christians ought to be terrified like the rest of the world. Maybe we get comfortable worshipping in our own homes, and we start believing that we do not need to gather with the people of God.
The only way to recognize and confront these lies is with knowledge of and appeal to the Word of God. This is how Jesus confronted the devil’s lies. The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105). Jesus said, “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17). He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). In the face of Satan’s lies, we make our appeal to the word of God with humble reliance upon Christ who is the Truth.
Let us be diligent, therefore, to take full advantage of this slow down and isolation that we are currently experiencing. Let us renew our commitment to know the truth. How? By reading and studying the Bible more diligently. Perhaps you can start a Bible reading plan. M’Cheyne’s Bible reading calendar is a good one, but there are others as well. Avail yourself of the online resources at Ligonier Ministries. You may stream them for free right now. Take advantage of the worship resources as well as the Pastor’s Blog on the church website. Deepen your habit of not only praying regularly, but of listening to the Lord through Bible study.
M’Cheyne’s Bible Reading Calendar: https://www.mcheyne.info/calendar.pdf
Ligonier Ministries: https://www.ligonier.org/