On Plagues and Judgment

In my Bible reading during this time of quarantine, I’m taking note of the times when God judged his people by sending a plague among them.

For instance, we have the case of King Jehoram who walked in the wicked ways of the kings of Israel, who killed his brothers, and who led his people to spiritual harlotry. The Lord punished him in this way, “Behold, the Lord will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions,” (2 Chronicles 21:13 ESV).

Then we have the case of the Israelites in the wilderness: “But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel. But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and put God to the test in the desert; he gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them” (Psalm 106:13-15 ESV)

It may well be that the present calamity that has befallen the world is a form of global divine judgment. For people of faith who believe that God is sovereign, that nothing happens outside of his will, and that he has a purpose in everything, including judgment, this conclusion is not easy to dismiss.

In any event, now is as good a time as any to heed the words of 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14: “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”(NKJV)

Lord, forgive us our sins. Show us your mercy. Heal our land, heal our world! Amen.

Image Source: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/03/07/coronavirus-epidemic-prediction-policy-advice-121172

The Restoration of Purity

Do not say in your heart, it is now impossible for me to acquire a virginal purity, for I have succumbed in so many ways to the seduction and delirium of the body. For once the soul engages fervently and strenuously in the labours of repentance and we shed tears of compunction, then the prison-house is razed to the ground, the fire of the passions is extinguished, we are spiritually reborn through the abiding presence of the Paraclete, and once again the soul becomes a palace of purity and virginity.

– Nikitas Stithatos, On The Inner Nature of Things, no. 50