What will it take for a plague to end?

There are several plagues mentioned in Scripture and all of them are because of the anger of God. Since we are in the midst of a pandemic, we will explore the plagues mentioned in Scriptures and what it took to end them.

Le Brun, Charles; The Brazen Serpent; Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-brazen-serpent-188732

Great plagues in Pharaoh’s house

But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.

Gen 12:17

Abraham lied to Egyptians that Sarah was his sister. When Pharaoh took her so that she can be his wife, God plagued Pharoah and his house. This plague was only for Pharoah and his house and does not mention any loss of life. The resolution in this plague was to restore Abraham his wife.

The Golden Calf incident

Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin–but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. Now therefore, go, lead the people to [the place] of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.” So the LORD plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.

Exod 32:31-35

When God was giving His commandments on the mountain to Moses, people below created a golden calf and started worshipping it. In this golden calf incident, God blotted all who sinned against Him by sending plagues as a punishment. The plague ended when all who sinned against God are dead.

Plague of Baal Peor

They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, And ate sacrifices made to the dead. Thus they provoked [Him] to anger with their deeds, And the plague broke out among them. Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, And the plague was stopped.

Ps 106:28-30

The LORD plagued His people because they joined themselves to Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices made to the dead. While the psalmist says that the plague was stopped when Phinehas intervened, Moses clearly reports all who sinned against God died.

“Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal Peor; for the LORD your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. But you who held fast to the LORD your God [are] alive today, every one of you.

Deut 4:3-4

The LORD destroyed all who followed Baal of Peor. Similar to the golden calf incident, the plague ended when all who sinned against God are dead.

Complaints for Korah’s punishment

So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense [on it,] and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD. The plague has begun.” Then Aaron took [it] as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.

Num 16:46-48

The LORD destroyed 250 men and the wicked men who rebelled namely, Korah, Dathan and Abiram. The people gathered against Moses complained that he killed the people of the LORD. God then plagued the people. The plague stopped when Moses, whom they accused, made atonement for the people and stood between the dead and the living.

And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me [what is] right, as My servant Job [has.] Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you [according to your] folly; because you have not spoken of Me [what is] right, as My servant Job [has.]”

Job 42:7-8

The way Moses made prayers for the people suffering in the plague is identical to how Job made prayers for his friends.

David’s Census

Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” … So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. … Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” … And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

2 Sam 24:1,15,21,25

It is often misunderstood that it was David’s sin that caused the plague. We discussed this in a previous post in detail. While David asks for forgiveness, He never punished him or his household. God plagued the land because He was angry with Israel. The plague was withdrawn when David prayed for the land.

Conclusion

Plague always occurs when God is angry. Pharoah restored Abraham’s wife because of God’s plague upon him and his household. The plague during the golden calf incident ended when all who sinned against God are dead. God destroyed all who followed Baal of Peor using a plague. When people wrongly accuse Moses, God plagued the people until Moses prayed for the accusers. God was angry with Israel who moved David to take a census and plagued the people. It was only withdrawn when David prayed for the land. What will it take for COVID-19 plague to end?

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