By Amanda Schrieber
People of the Quarantine – Amanda Schrieber
Quarantine. Who would have thought this word would become part of our everyday vocabulary? According to dictionary.com, quarantine is “an enforced isolation to prevent the spread of disease.” Synonyms for quarantine are “seclusion” and “separation”. Its origin comes from the Italian words quaranta (40) and quarantina (40 days). Many biblical scholars have studied the significance of the number 40 mentioned in the Bible. It is first recorded in Genesis and we see it woven throughout scripture all the way into the New Testament. While perhaps there is no actual hidden and assigned meaning, biblical reference of the number 40 often symbolized periods of testing, trial and probation. We are living in an unprecedented time in history with this pandemic sweeping across the globe. While we are currently under an enforced physical quarantine to prevent the physical spread of disease, it leaves one to ponder what God is desiring to spiritually accomplish behind the scenes. His ways and thoughts are higher than our own. Could it be possible in this pandemic, we are being spiritually quarantined by God and for God?
Psalm 4:3 states, “Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for Himself.” In Leviticus 20:26, God declares, “And you shall be a people holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.” Exodus 19:5-6 states, “You shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” In Deuteronomy 7:6, we are told, “For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure.” And 1 Peter 2:9-10 reiterates this truth in stating, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God.”
As believers in Christ, God reminds us all throughout scripture we are his chosen and holy people. The Greek word for chosen is “eklektos,” which means “to pick out of, to gather, to select for oneself.” The word designates one being selected or picked out from among the larger group for special services or privileges. The Greek word for holy is “hagios,” which translates as “pure, upright, sacred, clean, morally upright, set apart for God, to be exclusively His.”
As this imposed quarantine on our nation is intended to isolate us in order to prevent the spread of physical disease, could it be that God is using this as a spiritual opportunity to set us apart? Could this be an awakening for us to realign ourselves with Him, to prevent and eliminate the spread of spiritual disease, sin, pollution of this world, and anything contrary to God’s will in our lives? Could this be a gift of mercy and grace that calls us to holiness?
We are entrenched in this world we live in. Yet, he tells us we are not of this world (John 17:14); he chose us out of this world (John 15:19); to be sent into the world (John 17:15-19), but not to be polluted by this world (James 1:22). It’s easy to be polluted by things that surround us and threaten to compromise the integrity of our faith. 1 Peter 1:16 commands us, “Be holy, for I am holy.” What would it look like if we responded to this quarantine/pandemic as if it were a gift? A gift to cleanse our lives from anything that clogs or pollutes our relationship with God or skews and distorts our priorities and perspectives toward holy living.
We are the people of God; people of the Promise. In this time of quarantine, may we be set apart as his holy, chosen people who proclaim his praises into the darkness and shine with his marvelous light.
Prayer: Ask God to reveal ways you are not living holy before Him.
What love and mercy it is that I have been called, chosen, and set apart by you and for you. Thank you for the gift of Jesus whose blood washes me clean and makes me holy. Thank you for your Holy Spirit whose power enables and equips me to a life of holiness. Help me to respond to these gifts by being wholly obedient to you, your will, and your ways. Reveal where I allowed worldliness and sin to pollute my life and lead me into deep and true repentance for these things. Forgive me for the ways I think, speak or act contrary to your will. Protect me from the schemes of the enemy and keep my eyes steadfast upon you. Purify my heart and make me clean. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, your love, your thoughts, and a heart of gratitude and praise for all you are. Make me holy LORD, as you are holy. May I proclaim your praises and be a light to the world around me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Action: Identify one thing you can give up or remove from your life to pursue holy living. (Any sin, bad habit, association with ungodliness, lifestyle/behavior contrary to the will of God). Identify one thing you can increase or add to your life to pursue holy living. (spiritual discipline, prayer, praise, studying the word, memorizing scripture, serving).
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