Some people are looking at the coronavirus outbreak, the massive locust plagues across Africa and Asia, and the world-wide upheaval in the natural and political world as signs of God's judgment, especially His End Times judgment.
Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn't.
The Bible clearly records definite markers of the End which have occurred (Israel becoming a nation again, Isaiah 14:1-2) and are occurring now (God calling His people home, Jeremiah 31:1-5, and global upheaval, Isaiah 24:1-20).
But some markers have not occurred – the rise of the One who seeks world domination and opposes Jesus (2 Thessalonians 2:3-9), the Abomination that desolates the Temple Mount (Matthew 24:15-21), and the sign of the Son of Man, i.e. Jesus returning with the clouds and his resurrection army (Matthew 24:29-31).
But what we forget is God brings judgment upon nations even though it is not the End. In the past, God judged Assyria (Isaiah 10), Babylon (Jeremiah 51), Edom (Obadiah), and others. The United States is not immune from God's judgment. But judgment is more than just punishment. God’s judgment is also intended for discipline or to call people to repentance.
But if a nation will not receive discipline or heed the call to repent then God must act. Daniel pointed this out in his powerful prayer for God to restore His people whom He exiled to Babylon.
“Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquities and paying attention to your truth. So the Lord kept the disaster in mind and brought it on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all he has done. But we have not obeyed him” (Daniel 9:13-14).
As I was reflecting on what is specifically going on today (coronavirus with its subsequent fear) I asked in my thoughts how long will this last and if it is God's judgment. The quiet thought that came back to me was, “This will not bring the U.S. to repentance. It will continue. What will bring repentance is my people gathering together across the land to call out to me and change their ways. Then the evil in this land will be powerfully overturned to the dismay of those who seek to rule the world. They (the evil ones) will have lost the prize they so long thought they would easily steal from Me.”
Prophetic words are coming forth from unrelated people in the Body of Christ. What is amazing is the same word, “Repent. Turn to God. Make him your focus and priority.” And the time for seeking the Lord is all pointing to the Fall, specifically September.
In the Biblical/Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah (the New Year, also known as Yom Teruah – the Day of Trumpets) begins 10 days of intense turning back to the Lord and renewing our relationship with Him. It ends on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement when it is believed our fate is sealed for either a good or bad year to come.
It is such an intense time of repentance; the preceding month of Elul has been designated as a lead-in month of repentance. During Elul, people do a lot of self-examination and determine ways they can live better with their fellow people.
Perhaps the turmoil our nation is in right now is a clarion call from God to start the business of re-turning to Him. I believe things will get dicey over the next 3 months. Returning to God and remaining under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:1-4) is a smart thing to do, don’t you agree?
So, let's pray together and see what happens. Seriously, what could it hurt?
Pastor Jay Christianson
The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts