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So whatíll we say about this tsunami calamity? Say it was just "bad luck" for those who suffered in it. Say the Devil did it because he hates the human family and likes to torment it (remember what he did to Job?). Say we learn a lot from it, say that it tests and strengthens our faith, say that it brings out the generosity of millions who pity the sufferers. Say God "allowed" it though he had nothing to do with bringing it aboutósay anything but whatever you do donít say God did it!
And why should we deny that God did it? Because only a monster would do such a thing!
I can understand non-believers saying things like that but for the life of me I canít understand a believer with a Bible in his or her hand talking such nonsense. But many do!
They read about a God who sent a flood in Noahís day, some kind of volcanic destruction on Sodom and Gomorrah, military invasion on this nation or that or his sending drought and famine and pestilence on, say, Israel as Amos 4 tells us. They read all that and do they speak of "bad luck"? Never! They read all that and do they say it was the Devil? Never! But when they talk to the public or write their pieces for public consumption they waffle all over the place and say that anyone who would do such a thing is a monster? Was he a monster when he did these things the Bible speaks about?
Whatís wrong with us? We tell the world that a God whoíd send calamity is a monster and then we want the world to worship and serve a God who insists that he sends calamities?
An immoral monster isnít fit to be worshipped even if he is omnipotent! He might be able to beat us into submission and we might grovel and crawl, but praise him, worship him, adore him and seek his presence? To hell with him!
Why donít we have the guts just to dump the Bible because make no mistake about it, the Bible doesnít waltz around on this issue. It presents God himself as coming at the head of invading armies and the innocent children and the righteous get it in the neck as well as the criminally treacherous and oppressive.
If itís monstrous to send calamities then God is self-condemned! And he doesnít have to do it over and over and over again. If itís monstrous to do it then itís monstrous to do it even once!
Donít let believers off the hook! Make them stand by their Bible. Donít let them horse you around. Donít let them give you these "wise" and "sympathetic" pieces that duck and dive and weave because in the end you arenít meeting the God of scripture and thatís the only one worth meeting! They like to tell you how compassionate he is and how he delivered Israel but they donít like to tell you that he buried Egypt! The sweet, kind and caring God got Israel out of there after he ruined Egypt with a series of calamities!
I wonít multiply texts but Iím telling you if the Bible doesnít repeatedly, again and again and again tell us that God does send calamity and that he does bring about awful human loss then may he strike me with paralysis while Iím writing this thing. We may not like it, may rather not believe it, may not want to teach it but itís God himself (as mediated to us in scripture) that says he is responsible!
Listen to this text in Deuteronomy 32:23-27. God is the speaker in the text. "I will heap calamities upon them and spend my arrows against them. I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague...In the street the sword will make them childless; in their homes terror will reign...Young men and young women will perish, infants and gray-haired men. I said I would scatter them and blot out their memory from mankind, but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy, lest the adversary misunderstand and say, ĎOur hand has triumphed; the Lord has not done all this." (If you think this is an isolated text of this kind, youíre wrong!)
Now who said this? If you listened to the religious babblers youíd say it was a "monster" but what does Moses call him (32:3-4)? "A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he."
But note especially 32:27. God portrays himself as musing over obliterating them completely and says he might have done it only there was something that was stopping him. And what was that? Listen! He didnít want Israelís enemies to think they had accomplished Israelís judgement. He didnít want the enemy to say, "The Lord has not done all this."
Now get this, weíre worried in case people think God did it and what does he worry about? Heís worried in case people think he did not do it!
Sometimes believers (especially the speakers among us) are shifty. A God whoíd send calamities embarrasses us, don't you see. We donít want to have to defend a God like that (though in our worship services we admit he says these things and does them). Itís tempting to think that it isnít Godís back weíre guarding, itís our own!
We donít call a paramedic a monster when he rips a child's throat open or saws off a leg with the nearest blunt tool or breaks ribs. Is it possible that the God who sends calamities is the human familyís best and (maybe) only friend? More later (God enabling).