“Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24).

First, it is important to note that for years men of God have warned of these days. What men and nations sow, they shall surely reap. God will not be mocked. We have sowed to the wind and are reaping the whirlwind (Galatians 6:7).

There are two national abominations that once they reach heaven, you are in trouble with the Almighty. They are child sacrifice, the shedding of innocent blood (abortion) and parading our sin like Sodom (homosexuality) (Leviticus 18). When a nation abandons God, violence, perversion, and corruption always replaces Him in the public life of a country (Hosea 4:1-6).

To justify these great evils in America, our government established a covenant with death (Roe vs. Wade), which created a culture of death. The powers that be conspired to call good, evil, and evil, good (Isaiah 5:20). The Supreme Court codified wickedness into law and our nation has suffered horrific consequences ever since. Tyranny in government and licentiousness in the culture are actively eroding our God given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This latest virus threat, whether it is a man-made biological weapon or nature itself attacking, reveals something about the status of men and nations. We do not escape the reality of God. If men and nations are not consistent in matters of justice, righteousness, and mercy, the penalties for rebellion against God and His commandments do not just magically disappear.

They merely shift from the guilty parties to society at large. National sins and crimes, uncontested by justice, bring national calamities. The previous scourge of slavery verifies this indisputable truth. God rules and reigns in the affairs of men (Daniel 4:17; Matthew 28:18-20). Though the church and state may fail in their responsibilities to protect innocent life and preserve the God ordained institution of marriage and family, God cannot deny himself (Leviticus 20:1–5). The problem is when God deals with unjust atrocities; He typically responds with a heavy hand. This virus could very well be just the beginning of woes.

Second, what does this virus reveal about the state of our faith and the condition of our character? I vividly remember being interviewed by our local TV station in Waco, TX concerning the plight of our son, Jeremiah Thomas. The empathetic reporter asked us what we thought about Jeremiah’s intense anguish. He had an aggressive bone cancer and yet made known his selfless desire to end the suffering and injustice against the preborn in Texas.

Tears welled up in our eyes as we communicated a Biblical truth. Intense stress, pressure, and challenges can not only forge good character, it also serves to reveal character. Romans 5:3-5 states, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

When the pro-aborts attacked him mercilessly and wished his demise and death, Jeremiah responded Biblically. He followed our Lord’s command, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:27, 28). Yes, when the intense pressure of pain, death, and persecution attacked our son, his Christian response was pure gold. What was deep inside him as a young man came flowing out and it inspired the world.

With the advent of the threat of this virus, it is time to take inventory to determine what is truly inside us, what is coming out of us, and the true state of our souls. By God’s grace, I’ve survived a few dangerous threats in my life. When death was imminent, there was a demand to consciously calm fears in order to think clearly and act responsibly in order to survive the peril.

When fear strikes an individual or nation, it can have a variety of effects. Fear tends to constrict, inspire fanatic, impulsive behavior, and the Bible adds, unchecked fear void of God’s perfect love can lead to torment (1 John 4:18).

Many lives can be spared, many disasters avoided, if people can keep their heads during trying times. Especially, when things outside their control create a mob spirit of hysteria that grips the souls of men. Yes, our knees may knock, our minds may be worried, and our stomachs may have butterflies. It is crucial in those times, however, that we demand those butterflies fly in God’s formation.

I saw some good advice recently from brother David Benham of the Benham Brother’s fame. He advised in this current distress to fix our gaze on three spheres. First, look up and get the eternal perspective. Life truly is but a vapor (James 4:14). The Apostle Peter compared man’s flesh to grass and our fleeting glory as a flower. His conclusion, “The grass withers, and its flower falls away” (1 Peter 1:24). No one makes it off this planet alive. The wages of sin is death. The good news, however, is “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Gaining the eternal perspective by looking up is to know that regardless of what takes place on earth, a glorious future awaits those who repent, believe, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Acts 2:38). God promises a place and time where there will be no more pain, sorrow, or suffering. He will dry every tear that has been stored in His bottle (Revelation 21:4; Psalms 56:8).

The next phase that Benham suggested was to “look in.” What has this threat revealed in us? I’ve touched on this a bit, but it is important to take spiritual stock and Biblical inventory. It appears we are moving from a convenient American faith to the necessity of a more solid Biblical faith. We must determine how our gift of faith can combat fear so we can negotiate through these trying times without hurting ourselves and others.

The Lord and the Apostles all taught about the struggle of this life due to the Fall of man and the subsequent sin, death, and hell that came in its wake. It’s only in the Lord that man’s peace can be found. The Apostle Paul reminds us:

Do not be anxious about anything (Corona Virus), but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6, 7).

Jesus is the eye of the storm. As the world descends into panic, chaos, and confusion, the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run in to find safety. (Proverbs 18:10). Jesus promised in this present world there will be tribulation, but we as Christians are to be of a good courage for our Lord has overcome the world (John 16:33).

God’s Word further declares, “Through much tribulation, we will enter the Kingdom (Acts 14:22). Think it not strange concerning fiery trials, which will try us (1 Peter 4:12). Peter went on to reveal that our faith will go on trial at times and the prosecution will be fire. If we endure faithfully, our faith will come forth as gold (1 Peter 1:7).

Finally, the Apostle James exhorts, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).

American Christians, at one time, may have thought these Scriptures need not apply to us. Like the Laodiceans before us, we may have believed that we are rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing (Revelation 3:17). The book of Revelations, however, goes on to set the record straight:

And do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent.

We must remember when God’s judgment comes, it always visits His Church first. 1 Peter 4:17, 18 warns, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear.”

Lastly, Benham reminds us to “look out.” As men fears increase, their idols brought low, their financial security shaken, and their prospects become uncertain, how should the church respond?

Obviously, we are to reject the spirit of the age with all its fearfulness based upon unbelief. I find it interesting that the states most in panic and taking draconian measures to lock down its citizens are the states that have led the way in establishing evil in our land.

Fearfulness and unbelief go hand in hand. In fact, the two categories of men that are first cast into hell are the fearful (cowardly) and unbelieving (Revelation 21:8). These are followed by, “abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

When the storms of life hit, we must continue to live out our faith. We must demonstrate our faith is built of the solid rock of God’s Word. It can weather any storm and when the smoke clears, it will still be standing. All else is sinking sand and the current distress, if it gets worse, will help make this truth more evident in the days ahead (Matthew 7:24-27).

This leads to the opening passage of Scripture from the book of Jeremiah. Most might not see the connection based upon the title of this article, but I assure you; it is directly connected.

If you recall, Jeremiah was the weeping prophet of Israel. He had faithfully warned Israel of God’s impending judgments. He was met with the typical opposition, resistance, and delusion of a stiff necked and disobedient people. The fallout was so great that Jeremiah wanted to give up and no longer speak in the name of the Lord. God would have none of it, “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not (Jeremiah 20:9).

When the proverbial “crap hit the fan,” The temptation of the wrong response ensued. This is where Jeremiah sets the record straight, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches.”

I’ve personally seen this erroneous response before in our nation. When the towers fell on 9/11/2001, our national response was not we repent and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. No, it was, “we will rebuild.” We will look to conventional wisdom, look to our military might, and look to our wealth to bail us out to maintain our comfort and ease as a people.

Will we make the same mistake in this current dilemma? Will we be tempted like Israel of old to forget the Lord our God, refuse to repent, and humble ourselves before Him? Deuteronomy 8:11, 17, 18 speaks to this situation:

Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today… then you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth. And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

How many times did Israel forget? How many times did they not take heed? How many times when judged did they clung to their idols and refused to let go? What did it cost them as a nation and is America following their foolish course?

Jeremiah 18 lays out the wide road to destruction and the narrow path of God’s salvation, not only as individuals, but nations:

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

Choose wisely America, your future hangs in the balance.

Lastly, I desire to leave you with some much-needed hope. The church in times past was no stranger to danger. It has endured tyranny, persecution, plagues, pestilence, and a variety of intense challenges through the years. Jesus is still on His throne waiting henceforth till all his enemies become His footstool (Psalms 110:1). He ever lives to make intercession on the behalf of His people to save them to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

The issue is are you His child, redeemed by His blood, and filled with His Spirit? Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? Have you tasted of God’s great salvation? Have you made peace with God through the merits of His Son, Jesus Christ? if so, be assured of these precious promises:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God bless you saints and keep pressing on to the high call and promise in Jesus’ name!