“The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” Psalm 33.18From David King
Hasn’t it been wonderful to hear the encouraging news about the vaccine. Not only does it hold out the hope of a swifter end to lockdown and better protection for the most vulnerable, but it was also developed in Britain!
In fact, just the other day, one of my children said, “Isn’t it wonderful how God has provided this vaccine!” I agree. But it raises the question of whether we will use this gift well. I think that there are two ways in which our society could get this wrong.
The first is to do with its distribution. I have no doubt that the vaccine will be distributed as fairly as possible in this country, but will the distribution be as fair between countries, or will we find that richer and more powerful countries get precedent. Will it be used as a bargaining tool in international diplomacy? Let’s pray that it will be fair.
The second is to do with who gets the credit. We will not hear any politicians say, “We can thank the Lord for his provision of this vaccine.” Scientists are quickly becoming our saviours. The book of Hosea challenges us in this. It is a distressing story of how God has loved his people and provided them with so many good things, but his people have committed adultery with other gods and given credit to those false gods for the good things God has given them.
As a culture we are in danger of doing this with the vaccine. The science which produced this vaccine is a wonderful gift from God, but we are in danger of turning it into a god instead. How much do we find ourselves putting our hope in what the scientists can produce?
But here’s the problem, the vaccine can’t save us. It might stop us dying of coronavirus, but it can’t stop us from dying. That is why it is a foolish thing to fix our hope on the vaccine or scientists. In fact it is a foolish thing to fix our hopes on anything God has made. Listen to the psalmist:
“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.”
We might add a couple of lines: “No government is saved by its COVID lockdowns, no country is saved by its scientists”
Instead the psalmist says, “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love”
How about trying the following in the weeks ahead: every time you hear the vaccine mentioned, pray this, “Lord thank you for this vaccine, but my hope is in your unfailing love”