We are seeing all kinds of statements and declarations with regards to COVID-19 in the media and almost every single day more of these declarations are added. To mention just a few of these – the following have come up instantly in a quick Google search:
Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on measures to combat COVID-19 ……. Media statement on tax measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic ……. Zimbabwe president threatens 20 years jail over fake Covid-19 statement ……. The statement of the UNESCO on some ethical considerations from a global perspective ……. declaration of a National State of Disaster ……. The president’s declaration of a national lockdown ……. declaration to confirm unemployment status in view of the impact of COVID-19 ……. declaration of the Ministerial Coordination Group on COVID19.
I am sure many of you have asked yourself the question frequently over the past few weeks: How do I keep my sanity and my sense of direction in a time like this? How do I get rid of the feeling that I am being swept away by an enormous tidal wave, together with many others, and there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it? Where can one find, among all these statements and declarations that are being thrown at us on a daily basis, statements of encouragement, statements of meaning in life and statements of hope?
I would like to suggest today, against the background of all these coronavirus-related statements and declarations, that we take time in these days to focus on statements and declarations of belief. And I am not thinking about the typical kind of statements of belief – the ones that we have grown up with, or the ones that we have been taught by our churches or previous churches, or the ones that we may find in books or websites on theology and religion. I am thinking of statements of belief that represent a drastic return to the basics of Scriptures. So, my suggestion is to start writing down or typing out your own individual, or your own family’s Declaration of Belief (DOB). And the catch is: Each statement that becomes part of this declaration of belief, must consist of ONE SENTENCE that is a direct quote from Scriptures, without any single change! There is no need to complete the task in one day or one week or even one year. It should be an ongoing project and it should be great fun and extremely rewarding! The number of statements should also not be restricted – the more statements we include, the more depth and different dimensions we add to our understanding and application of belief.
We tend to think of a statement of belief as something that should be phrased or formulated in a certain way, like: I believe that the Bible is true or I believe that Y’shua is the Messiah or I believe in the forgiveness of sins, etcetera. But there is no reason why complete Bible verses should not be used to make out the contents of our declaration of belief. A declaration of belief does not have to be made up of doctrines and man-made formulations that are different from the formulations of Scriptures. Strictly speaking, for people who would like to build their lives and convictions upon the Word of Yahweh, the best way to formulate their set of beliefs, would be to declare or confess Scriptural content in which they believe with all their hearts and for which they are willing to change the direction of their lives. And if we stick strictly to the words and formulations of Scriptures, we shall safeguard ourselves against error and against personal views that are different from what is clearly taught in Scriptures. Let us keep our statements of belief short and basic. And a very good idea would be to make sure, before we add a new statement to our DOB, that it is a statement that is supported by at least two others verses in Scriptures. I would suggest the use of a Cross reference Bible to help find other verses in Scripture that confirm the same truth that is reflected in the actual verse that we have chosen. The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge, that may be used with E-Sword and MySword, is one example of such a study aid. We can then write down or type out our statements with confidence, knowing that they fully represent the truth of Scriptures and will therefore be a source of inspiration and encouragement to those who have chosen, during these times, to pay at least equal attention to the declarations of Scriptures, when compared to the declarations of politicians and COVID-19 officials. In the paragraphs below, I have included a number of statements, in the format that is suggested here, that I believe, would be extremely valuable in any Declaration of Belief:
Gen 1:1 In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.
(Eccl 12:1; Isa 40:28)
Ex 3:15 This (YHWH) is my Name forever, and this is my remembrance from generation to generations.
(Mica 4:5; Zech 10:12)
Lev 27:30 And all the tithe of the land – of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree – belongs to Yahweh and is set-apart to Yahweh.
(Mal 3:10; Luk 11:42)
Num 23:19 El is not a man that He would lie, or a son of man that He would change his mind, or someone who would say something and not do it.
(1 Sam 15:29; Mat 5:18)
Deut 6:5 You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might.
(2 Kings 23:25; Mark 12:30)