There is a very sad fault that characterizes mankind in relationship to God. It was evident as the nation of Israel entered the promised land and began to prosper. God had warned them, knowing well their propensity to wander from him. Deuteronomy 6:10-12—
And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
The fault is this: When a people are experiencing prosperity, and when their enemies are at bay and things are generally going very well, they forget the source of all these blessings. They turn from God, their Creator and Sustainer. Again, this fault was and is well known by God, and so he teaches Moses a song to be remembered and sung as a witness against them for their unfaithful ways. To introduce the song and its purpose, God tells Moses in Deuteronomy 31:20-21—
For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant. And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring).
I encourage you to read the song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:1-43. America 2020 is not ancient Israel. On the other hand, we have experienced unprecedented prosperity, certainly a gracious gift of God, giver of all good gifts (James 1:17). While there are exceptions as true in any society, most people in America have the food, clothing and shelter needed. Many of us live far beyond subsistence, we have—in the words of the song, “grown fat”. We must acknowledge that what God said would be true of Israel (here by the name Jeshurun) in prosperity has proven true of us. God brought the people out of “the howling waste of the wilderness”, caring for them, watching over them, guiding them, feeding them “with the very finest of the wheat” (Deuteronomy 32:10-14), and with his blessing brought them into the promised land. Instead of gratitude and worship, they did forget (32:15):
But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
As God said, the result of this “forgetting” would be the loss of prosperity, loss of the land, and he would “hide his face from them” because of their idolatry and disobedience. In the place of prosperity would come trouble, (32:23-24):
And I will heap disasters upon them; I will spend my arrows on them; they shall be wasted with hunger, and devoured by plague and poisonous pestilence; I will send the teeth of beasts against them, with the venom of things that crawl in the dust.
Jeshurun (Israel) grew fat, America grew fat, and as anticipated when fatness comes, they turned from the God who blessed them. In Moses’ song, a serious question lingers as a convicting challenge to all who are in such rebellion, (32:6)—
Do you thus repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?
One would like to think that a pandemic would knock some sense into a senseless people, and they would return to God or turn to God in humble repentance. Let the lesson of the Corona virus be this (32:39):
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
It is time, in the midst of this pandemic, to ask ourselves personally—have I grown fat? Am I guilty, as is the nation generally, of forgetting God, of turning from his ways, and disobeying his commands? Instead of gratitude to the Giver of all good gifts, and generosity toward him that reflects his very nature and my humble indebtedness, have I created other idols I bow down to and to whom I dedicate my wealth? Remember God and bow before him only. Worship him. Trust in the Son our savior, Jesus Christ. Walk in obedience as you seek his mercy, grace, and deliverance.
If we will personally evaluate our lives and renew our commitment to God in every way, this season of trouble will have had good effect. If our nation would do this, the Corona Virus Pandemic could bring winds of revival. Pray to this end!