Thursday, April 29, 2021

Plague of Fiery Serpents and COVID-19

Numbers 21 tells the story of the Israelites being affected by a plague of fiery serpents. Moses, by the direction of God, made a serpent of brass and asked the Israelites to look at it to be cured from the plague. While many of them did, many of them, thinking the thing was so simple, did not. Another example is in 2 Kings, chapter 5, where Pharpar is asked to bathe in the river Damascus seven times, a particularly dirty river, to cure leprosy. At first he was hesitent, but then, in verse 13, we read "Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, `Wash and be cleansed'!"

With this plague, we have been asked to do a few similar things, ones that even have the backing of science, but have been encouraged by religious leaders, including those of my faith, that of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Of some note I can't find anything from any apostles, but it was certainly encouraged by example from the highest levels. We have been asked to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have been encouraged to socially distance ourselves to minimize the spread. And while I haven't seen it explicitly stated, we are encouraged to get vaccinated when we are able to to even further prevent the spread.

While the effects of not following these simple guidance aren't as dramatic as that of the fiery serpents, I can't help but wonder how many people have had a similar reaction of that of the Isrealites, of not doing the thing because of its simplicity. It sadens me deeply that it seems like the evangelicals are those on the leading edge of anti-mask and anti-vaccine behavior. To me, these are those who are not looking at the brass serpent.

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