Summary: In the face of a crisis, are instruction from God is the same as it was to Joshua, "Be Strong and of Good Courage."

2020 will be remembered as the year of the world wide coronavirus pandemic. We have seen and experience entire countries close down, commerce slowed down to crawl, whole states, cities, and communities shut off and placed in quarantine. Every day, we hear the new infection and death count. Our own county health department has warned us against congregating in groups over 10. On Friday our Florida State Governor closed all the restaurants. Masses are out of work, our beaches are vacant, store shelves are empty. It’s like people are preparing for the apocalypse.

Where does it end? People are in a panic. People are afraid. How do we respond to all this as God’s people? That is our subject this morning, our response in the midst of a worldwide crisis. We will consider the instruction given to Joshua. For Joshua, as the newly appointed leader of God’s chosen people, there was much to be fearful of.

Joshua 1:1–9

What is the Biblical outlook on the Coronavirus crisis. Are we entering the apocalypse? Are we entering the time of tribulation? Is this one of those plagues mentioned in the Book of revelation?

The answer to all these questions is no. However, we can view these as a harbinger, an indicator of things to come. We can easily see how a really nasty plague can throw the world into chaos, we can see how governments can create a crisis and institute overwhelming control over our lives.

But this crises reminds us of three things Biblically.

1. Reminder of the reality of the Fall. This virus is yet another reminder of the reality of the fall. Because of sin, the whole of creation has become corrupted and this has affected everything, all the way down to micro-organisms. In our broken world, we long for the return of Jesus Christ who will make all things new. [1]

Romans 8:20–22 (NKJV) For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

We live in a sinful world. We need to remember there are many who die every day from various illnesses and diseases. Cancer claim many lives every year. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, famine, wars rages all around us. These things are to be expected. We have had these events throughout history. Remember the black plague of the middle ages, the influenza pandemic of the early 1900’s. These things have happened and the past and we can expect more in the future, because we live in a fallen world.

2. Reminder of our mortality. We cannot control the world around us. Any time people are reminded of the hard truths of mortality and their inability to control the world around them, there is an opportunity to share the glorious truths of the Gospel: God is in control; the world is not as it should be due to sin; sin affects each one of us and has separated us from God; those who turn to Christ for the forgiveness of sins shall have their relationship to God restored and shall inherit eternal life with Him. [2]

James 4:14b (NKJV) For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

The fact is, everything in this life is temporary. Our health, our possessions, our bank accounts, and yes even this earthly life is temporary. One day it will all come to an end. The only thing that are eternal rest in the hands of God. This is why Jesus teaches us where our true treasures should be:

Matthew 6:19–21 (NKJV) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Only those things that are eternal are worthwhile. Yet, even in this temporary world in which we live, we can take comfort in knowing nothings escapes the notice of God.

Matthew 10:29–31 (NKJV) Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Right here in this verse we are commanded not to fear. The command “do not fear,” “fear not,” or “do not be afraid” is in the Bible well over 300 times.

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