It can be dangerous to assume that we know what God is doing through a crisis unless he has revealed his mind to us in his word. Which he has. To answer the question – ‘What is God doing through the Corona crisis?’ — we’ll reflect on Exodus 1-2.
As you may know, the people of God, Israel, were now in the land of Egypt (Exodus 1:1-7), far from the land God promised their forefather, Abraham. They were suffering terribly, but their numbers were growing (1:9) just as God promised Abraham. Out of fear, the new Pharoah tried to slow down their growth and control them. In his attempt to stop them, Pharoah pit himself against God’s promises to Abraham. That doesn’t work well. Look what happens after Pharoah implements three strategies to squash the Israelites.
- Strategy one: he tries to work them to death (1:9-11) — more precisely to work them so hard that they’re too tired to enjoy marital intimacy. The result? “The more they were oppressed the more they multiplied…” (1:12)
- Strategy two: he tells the Hebrew midwives to kill all the newborn boys (1:16). The result? Their plans failed thanks to two God-fearing midwives with some humorous excuses (1:19). “The people multiplied and grew very strong…” (1:20b)
Pharoah 0, the Lord 2 is now the score. Round 3 it seems Pharoah will certainly win.
- Strategy three: he sends his secret police to throw all the newborn baby boys in the Nile River (1:22). The result? Moses, the one God will use to rescue his people from Egypt, winds up in Pharoah’s own palace, nursed by his own mother (2:9) at Pharoah’s expense.
“Strike 3! You’re out!” to use a baseball analogy. More precisely, the Lord takes out Pharoah and his army in chapter 14, as he drowns them in water – perfect justice! But here in chapter 1-2, the point is that, even through the suffering God’s people endured — oppressive labor conditions, mandatory post-birth abortion and infanticide – God was silently at work, keeping his promises to Abraham. He is doing that today. Jesus, the promised offspring of Abraham has arrived. In the midst of the Coronavirus, God is growing his church as people from every nation put their faith in Jesus, the promised one. And nothing, certainly not a little virus, can stop him! If you read Acts, you see a similar pattern as Exodus – as the church is opposed, it grows. If you look at the church in many oppressive countries today, the more it’s opposed, the more it grows. God is at work building his church. Nothing, not even the gates of hell, can prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).