In the constantly evolving science of a global pandemic, we have been through several iterations of do this/do thats. From ‘bleach your groceries‘ to ‘further science has determined that you may not need to bleach your groceries,’ we have followed the science with bated breath, waiting for the day when science will have the final word. Personally, I continue to pray fervently that 1. God removes this virus from the earth, and 2. We develop a vaccine. Yes, I know a vaccine may not completely solve this issue. See #1.
In the days of Jeremiah, the cream of the crop of Israel, including the king, the scientists and artists, had all been removed from Jerusalem and taken away to Babylon. Jeremiah received a prophecy from God that the people were to settle into this new normal and await God’s promised return to their land. But in the meantime, they were to plant crops and have babies. In other words, everyone needs to wait patiently for God.
Hananiah stood up in the temple and announced that the exiles and all the spoils of war were about to returned in full, and that victory and peace had been achieved. This was not the case. Jeremiah stood to speak the harsh truth of the matter.
Jeremiah 28 (Common English Bible)
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah responded to Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the Lord’s temple. 6 The prophet Jeremiah said: “Indeed. May the Lord do just as you have said! May the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied and bring back from Babylon the equipment of the Lord’s temple and all the exiles to this place.
7 However, listen closely to what I have to say to you and all the people: 8 The prophets who came before you and me long ago prophesied war, disaster, and disease against many lands and great kingdoms. 9 So the prophet who prophesies peace is recognized as one who is actually sent by the Lord only when that prophet’s message is fulfilled.”
I wish that the news that we have conquered this virus and are now safe to return to normal operations was true. It is not. The numbers say otherwise. States that have seen a recent upswing in positive cases are now moving to mandatory face masks and enforced social distancing. Some have issued curfews. Some counties are levying fines for those who don’t comply.
Science now suggests that wearing masks will help us bring this thing to an end. The more compliance we see, the sooner the virus will be defeated. As we move forward, let us continue to pray for our county, state, and national leadership to make wise and informed decisions that will help us defeat this thing. The Hananiah’s among us are trying to claim victory. But Hananiah was wrong. In other words, we all need to wait patiently for God.