How to Stop a Pandemic
December 13, 2021 • By Ed Wrather
Here’s how the trouble began for David and his kingdom:
Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, “Go, number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it.” – 1 Chronicles 21:1-2 NKJV.
What would be the penalty for this sin?
Then the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, “Go and tell David, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.” ’ ”
So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Choose for yourself, either three years of famine, or three months to be defeated by your foes with the sword of your enemies overtaking you, or else for three days the sword of the Lord—the plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.” – 1 Chronicles 21:9-12 NKJV.
Here was David’s choice:
And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell. And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. – 1 Chronicles 21:13-15a NKJV.
Why did the plague stop?
Then David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. So David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. And David said to God, “Was it not I who commanded the people to be numbered? I am the one who has sinned and done evil indeed; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, O Lord my God, be against me and my father’s house, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.” – 1 Chronicles 21:16-17 NKJV.
The indication is from David and his officials being “clothed in sackcloth,” is that they were already in a state of repentance. They were likely headed for the tabernacle at Gibeon when they saw the death angel and “fell on their faces.”
And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. As he was destroying, the Lord looked and relented of the disaster, and said to the angel who was destroying, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. – 1 Chronicles 21:15 NKJV.
The contemporary plague, the pandemic that is now continuing to cause death and misery across our world continues to spin out new variants. Is the pandemic a result of sin? As we look across the world, sin appears to be reaching a crescendo beyond any time since the Noahic flood.
The solution to our plague is the same as it was for King David. We too must repent of our sins and fall on our faces before the Lord. No doubt the reason the plague has not grown any worse and God has not said “Enough!” is because of men and women that are on their knees in prayer. We need to join them, pleading with God to end this horrific pandemic.