The Lord Has Done It - Amos 3:6, Isaiah 53:10

As the Prophet Amos delivers God’s rebuke to His people, ch. 3 opens with a string of rhetorical questions that build up to the one we heard in the second half of v. 6. God wants His people to know that the calamity they are experiencing is not a random coincidence or even just the work of Israel’s human enemies. The Lord claims responsibility for Himself by asking, “Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has done it?” If the answer is that sometimes, disaster comes to a city but the Lord has nothing to do with it, then the entire force of Amos’ message is lost. If the Lord didn’t do it, then Israel has nothing to learn; bad things just happen sometimes. But God sent Amos to slam the door on that interpretation. When calamity strikes, God is at work.

To apply Amos’ word to our current situation, the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God and Father of Jesus Christ, is responsible for everything that happens in His world, including disaster. When it comes to the coronavirus, Christians believe that the Lord has done it.

As Christians, we know that the Lord has done it, but when it comes to why, we need to be careful. In all of God’s actions, there are some things we can know, and some that we can’t. We can’t explain everything, but we’re not completely lost, either! Scripture tells us that everything that God does, He does for His own glory, and for your good.

This means that God sent the virus and all that goes with it for His glory and your good. That may be hard to hear, especially if you or someone you love is suffering, but at the same time, it is good for you to know. It’s comforting, isn’t it, that this terrifying disease is actually in the hand and under the authority of the good God who sent it, and that He’s using it for the good of the world, and especially for our good as His people.

And so as we respond to what the Lord has done, we line up our lives with His purposes by giving Him glory and by seeking the good that He has for us. And here are four ways to do that:

First, repent. This is Jesus’ instruction for us when disaster strikes: don’t worry about who the biggest sinners are or why this particular tower fell on these people. Instead, remember that you too will stand before God one day, so get ready now by repenting of your sins and trusting in Jesus for salvation! This glorifies God, and it does eternal good for your soul.

Second, lament. A lament is a cry of anguish directed towards God, expressing that we know in our hearts that things are not the way God made them to be, and so we call on Him to make things right. Yes, this has happened according to God’s sovereign plan, but the sovereign God is also a merciful and compassionate God! So lament the sickness and suffering that this virus has brought. Weep over the deaths of thousands of people made in God’s image. And ask God to hasten the day when sickness and death will be gone forever.

Third, learn. There are many aspects, both knowable and unknowable, when it comes to the providence of God, the devastation of sin, and the redemption that Jesus accomplished. Seeking to know the unknowable is foolishness, but seeking to know from His Word more of who God is and what He’s doing is faithfulness, and faithfulness glorifies God and does good for your soul.

Fourth, love. When God saw a suffering, sin-sick world, He came to help and to heal. So where you see suffering around you, imitate His love. For most of you, loving your neighbor looks like staying home, keeping your distance, washing your hands, and wearing a mask. If you’ve been blessed with money, give it to those who have lost their jobs. Maybe the simplest way to love your neighbor is just to pray for them and check on them during this anxious and lonely time. So give your neighbors and church members a call, and keep doing that until we can see one another again face to face. This too glorifies God and is good for your soul.

As we enter Holy Week, because we acknowledge along with Amos that the Lord has done it, the passion of Jesus Christ shows us that God uses even the greatest disaster that ever came upon the world, which by the power of Christ’s resurrection has become for us salvation and life. So in these anxious times, in the face of this disaster that has come upon us, put your trust in the Lord, give Him glory, and receive the good that He intends for you.

Posted on Wednesday, April 08, 2020 by CJ Bowen