Do not move the ancient boundary or go into the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong; He will plead their case against you (Prov.23:10, 11).
People who abuse their authority are going to have to face God and give an account, because all authority is delegated by God. Whatever people may claim, they are not free agents in this world. God will hold them to account, at some point.
It doesn’t matter in what form they have their authority. It may be as a husband, a father or mother, a business owner, a school Principal, a Minister in a church, or a political leader.
The scriptural warning above, is found elsewhere. The next chapter of Proverbs says,
Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, oh hold them back. If you say, ‘See, we did not know this,’ does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work (Prov.24:11, 12).
Tyrants ignore such warnings, to their peril. They invite God’s judgment, and they’ll surely get it. And the Bible plainly speaks to political and judicial leaders, in many places. Such as,
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Ps.2:10-12).
With this background, we must consider the church’s response around the world to governmental interventions with the coronavirus. And we can say with confidence that blind, unquestioning obedience to human authorities is firstly, manifestly unbiblical (as we consider the First Commandment-“You shall have no other gods before Me”-Ex.20:3), secondly blasphemous, and thirdly, very dangerous.
As a rule, God’s people historically have not accepted this foolish notion. Nothing could be more riddled with insurmountable problems that this. Are we the servants of God, or servants of men?
There is no doubt in my mind that the church was deliberately panicked into its response, to be obedient. That’s what evil rulers do: come up with some sudden “crisis” or “emergency,” which purportedly requires an immediate response of obedience from the community, then they railroad social institutions into that obedience. Then they say, “Problem solved!”
But let’s face it: God’s people have been dealing with tyrants who’ve hated them, since the Exodus. Pharoah was a kidnapper and a murderer (Ex.1:15-22), until the day that God drowned him in the Red Sea (Ex.14). In those circumstances, they quickly learned how to be imaginative, creative and deceptive, to avoid coming to harm from this tyrant (see Ex.1-2).
Furthermore, God plainly helped them in their deceptions, as they sought to preserve the lives of innocent children.
In the case of the prophet Samuel, in his relationship with king Saul, who was degenerating quickly, God gave him a successful strategy of deception, so that Samuel could go and anoint David as the next king (I Sam.16:1-3), and not be murdered.
The Psalmist spoke of a scenario like this. He wrote,
The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts (Ps.119:110).
Every challenge we face should drive us to the scripture, but I regret to say, I doubt this has happened with the coronavirus. We’ve chosen compliance/pragmatism: never a good idea. Now, we have the opportunity to back-track, to reconsider. What are we to do, now?
Let’s be blunt about it. Godless political leaders are never neutral, because people are never neutral. They want to deal with or control their opposition, and they know that the church is generally going to be part of that opposition. And they want to neuter us; get rid of us, because we constitute a threat. This whole “social distancing” thing has merely been a ploy, gaining more power for bureaucrats and politicians. Don’t they love it?
So, the proper response in the midst of this is resistance on the part of believers, to the crude political attempts at control. Resistance could be passive, or active.
By passive, I mean that believers choose to meet together privately on Sundays. Instead of in a public venue, the church quickly divides, meeting “house to house” (Acts 2:46), for worship, prayer, the preaching of scripture and fellowship, with possibly a meal together.
Depending on the size of the church, it could be in three homes, or fifty. That way, we get off the public radar, but continue to be obedient to the Lord in regularly meeting, and doing what we want to do, amongst the people of God.
By active resistance, we just go to church as we would normally, and simply defy social distancing rules. We openly challenge the regulations, and publicly take on the system that’s been imposed.
Which one do we choose? That depends on how much fight there is in the church, and how much opposition/adversity/reprisal we’re prepared to deal with. This is a matter for the church’s leaders to assess and decide on, in consultation with their people.
But decide we must, because procrastination in the face of evil attempts to control us, is simply moral weakness. It doesn’t honor the Lord.
All authority is delegated by God, and to be used in a God-honoring manner. Christian obedience to civil authorities must never be unconditional, because that makes authorities like God: a wholly blasphemous idea.
Despite what civil authorities may have claimed, their punitive and crude attempts at social control, purportedly for health reasons, have been attempts to control the community, furthering an unnecessary and dictatorial level of control. This requires a resistant response from God’s people: passive or active.
Believers are obligated to obediently follow Jesus Christ, not the foolish dictates of political leaders and bureaucrats, who are more interested in usurping authority and flexing their muscles, than working amongst a peaceful, freedom-loving community. And what we think and do in response, is an important example for others around us.
What will you do?
The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion (Prov.28:1).