Let the Nations Know That They are but Men!

Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O Lord!
Let the nations know that they are but men! – Psalm 9:19,20

The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus reminded me of this verse. Mankind has been through many plagues in the past, and due to modern medicine, has been able to reduce that number. In fact, modern medicine is really a result of God’s grace in the gospel. Historians widely recognize that because the Bible teaches that God is separate from creation, men are permitted and encouraged to investigate and experiment with it, in order to understand its mysteries and repair its maladies. Because of this view of nature as separate from God but created by His intelligence, men – Christian and non-Christian alike – embarked upon many fields of discovery, including biology. So, we have Jesus to thank for our progress toward health, vaccination, and other medical breakthroughs.

 To illustrate this origination of modern biological science in the gospel, look at religions that existed even before Jesus was born. This is unlike a religion like Hinduism which discourages science due to its belief in God existing in everything, and ancestral spirits in many things, like cows and rats. In addition, Buddhism’s fatalism discourages science as well, since all is illusion. And in Animistic areas, no one is allowed to question or tamper with what is in nature, because spirits, who are usually evil, inhabit everything – animals, trees, rocks, ants, etc. Any experiment will release the wrath of those spirits. So, again, no one made a serious attempt to wipe out plagues in those areas – most relied on the witch doctor’s spells. Thus, without exaggeration, any medical benefit that has come to areas dominated by these religions is due to the work of missionaries, who often started the first hospitals and other medical efforts.

Yet, in spite of all this goodness from God in the form of medical science – men attempt to credit themselves with these discoveries. And that brings me back to the verses above. On occasion, it seems, God will do things to remind us that we are but men – we are not lords of the earth or the universe. This new virus makes me wonder if God is sending us a reminder of this kind? Of course, I am NOT in any way happy about it; and saddened for those who have been adversely affected by it. God sends his rain on the just and unjust, and in reverse, His plagues as well. He has no favorites in this – only a way of letting us all know – non-Christian and Christian alike – that we are but men, and we should fear His sovereign governorship over this world, which would include even things like this virus.

So, be in prayer for those who are working on the vaccine – pray that God will be gracious, even in the midst of putting men in fear to acknowledge their mere mortality and vulnerability, as well as His awesome Majesty. In addition, pray that in this time of appropriate fear, this also may provide an opportunity for you to speak of the gospel and its historical medical benefits to someone who will listen.

Thank you for reading! I welcome questions.

Pastor Jim

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