Category Archives: plagues
2. I really need human companionship — far more than I realized pre-pandemic. Yes, it’s great to use my laptop to view the Sunday morning church service (and I love that I can fast forward past the sermon’s boring parts), but it’s not the same. Will we ever feel free to shake hands, hug one another, and (God forbid) greet one another with a holy kiss?
We have the infamous passage:
2 Samuel 24:15
2 Samuel 24:25
1 Kings 8:37
1 Chronicles 21:12
2 Chronicles 7:13
In a letter to Rev. Dr. John Hess, found in Luther’s Works, Volume 43 p. 132, as “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague,” Luther writes:
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
One hundred and sixty-nine times the term “plague” is used in the Bible (109 in the OT, 60 in the NT). There are the famous plagues in Exodus (blood, frogs, gnats, flies, plague on livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, plague on the Firstborn), found in chapters 7-11.
In fact, God sends the plagues one after another after Moses and Aaron had gone to Pharaoh and said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.” (Ex. 5:3). Pharaoh’s stubbornness to release God’s people earns him a whole series of nasty plagues.
Apart from the plague of boils (Ex. 9), these afflictions did not directly involve disease. Some were of the pest variety: a super-abundance of frogs, gnats, flies, and locusts. One caused water to turn to blood; another attacked livestock. One (hail) involved the weather; another a darkness “that [could] be felt.” The plague on the Firstborn was the coup de grace and revealed a God who could execute His command with great finality.
God has His means of getting His will accomplished. He shows (at times) shockingly little concern for man’s health, comfort, or safety. He uses the animal world to afflict the creation made in His image (man), controls the weather as a weapon of His will, and does not hesitate to execute swift judgment by taking the lives of Egypt’s Firstborn sons.
My, what a different God we appear to believe in today.