I recognize that this is a hard concept for some Christians, who do not believe God sends judgment upon people or nations since He is a loving and merciful God. They will also point out that God expressing wrath against people was part of the Old Testament covenant, citing Paul saying in Romans 4:15, "The law brings wrath"; the law here being the Law of Moses or the Torah. They will argue that law and justice are tied to covenant in the Old Testament, and we are set free from God's wrath in the New Testament by the blood of Jesus, as Romans 5:9 states: “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!”
But a few years ago, God showed me that His Bible is not divided into two separate covenants, or a "before" and "after" timeline. The Bible is one continuing covenant, extending from the covenant He instituted with Abraham [and all those who would share His belief in YHWH], through the "renewal" of that same covenant in the life of Jesus Christ. So God is just, and His attributes remain the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
|As reported by major news outlets,|
a Weather Channel meteorologist spotted
an eerie face in an untouched satellite
image of Hurricane Matthew.
Okay, I'm pretty sure that we are all not going to agree on this matter of God's wrath in the last days, so let's consider the question that I posed in the title of this blog. The underlying debate in this issue is if weather events such as Hurricane Matthew can be a tool of a God who judges individuals and nations for wickedness? There are plenty of Scriptures that tell us that God is Sovereign and He has the power to save and to destroy at His will. And if you look at some recent weather disasters in our history, you have to be blind to not draw some conclusions from our national actions. (See this post for a list of our indiscretions against the nation of Israel, and some interesting correlations).
And if you doubt God uses weather to judge people and nations, just take a look at these unambiguous verses in Job, Chapter 37:
9 The stormy wind comes from its chamber,
and the driving winds bring the cold.
10 God's breath sends the ice,
freezing wide expanses of water.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture,
and they flash with his lightning.
12 The clouds churn about at his direction.
They do whatever he commands throughout the earth.
13 He makes these things happen either to punish people
or to show his unfailing love.
14 "Pay attention to this, Job.
Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God!
The Hebrew word for "stormy wind" is cawphah and means a hurricane. And keeping verse 13 in mind, let's not forget that America is far from being a righteous and virtuous nation! We lead the world in porn production - Yes, lead the world with our filth. One of the major criticisms of Islam against America is our penchant for nudity, porn, and homosexuality, and it is criticism well deserved. Add to that our involvement in the sex slave trade, pedophilia, and abortion. And our nation, as a whole, has abandoned God nearly as fast as the Israelites built their golden calf. Did you know that there are surveys that show an alarming number of the population, especially our youth, do not believe they are born sinners, or for that matter that they even sin? Instead, sin has become just a mistake and not part of human nature. Our society has lost the knowledge that we are in need of a Savior from our inherent sins, and this has resulted in absolutely no fear of God. But the warnings given to Job, make it clear that God controls the weather and He can use it "either to punish people or to show His unfailing love."
Yes, I know that the Book of Job is about Satan being given authority to test Job, and No, I do not believe that Satan or his demon angels can control the weather or affect natural disasters. But, IF Satan could impact the weather, it would only be by God's permission, and restrained, as in the case of Job. Remember, Satan was allowed by God to torment Job in order to test him, and this included "the fire of God" (possibly lightning) which "fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants" (Job 1:16). This was followed by a "mighty wind" (maybe a tornado) that destroyed his home and killed his children (vv. 18-19). So even if the fire from heaven and the tornado were somehow caused by Satan, they were still under the ultimate control of God for His purposes.
Ultimately, we know that God is in control of all things, including the weather. Through His providence, God provides for and protects His children, but He also ordains or permits Satan, demons, and mankind to exercise their free will to commit acts of sin, evil, and wickedness. These same beings are fully responsible for any and all man-made disasters and tragedies they cause.
We know that God has ordained whatever comes to pass (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 11:36), and therefore His invisible hand is in our pain, even though He cannot sin or be the perpetrator of evil (James 1:13-17). So is Hurricane Matthew judgment from God? I am not privy to His counsel. There are enough reasons to suggest that it might be, even though there are still righteous and repentant people in the nation, and we are not appointed to His wrath. Unfortunately, just like Job, we do not always escape the judgment that comes from and against our fellow countrymen. There will be good people who will most likely suffer from the flooding and destructive winds of Hurricane Matthew; perhaps even losing their lives. But they will not be alone. Jesus will be beside them, extending His peace and mercy and delivering them through this impending tragedy. Until we leave this earth, there is no guarantee that we will leave it unscathed. But whatever the aftermath of this powerful storm might bring, let us pray that we see God's mercy on the righteous, and the repentance that saves coming forth from the wicked.
Matthew 5:45 "For he makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."