Friday, January 21, 2011

God, Judgment and the Weather: Sovereignty

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Who exactly is behind the devastating natural disasters?

Though there are examples of remedial punishments of God all throughout the Bible, some people though will say, "God just doesn't do that." Some people protest and say, "Oh, no, no, no, no. God doesn't judge nations any longer because we now live in the age of grace."

The first problem I have with that is that term implies that there was a previous time when there was no grace. God has always been a God of grace. There has never been any other way of salvation except by grace through faith. In Malachi 3:6 we are told, "I the LORD do not change." In Hebrews 13:8 we are told, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

Some try to counter by blaming all natural disasters on Satan. They say, "Oh, no, no, this all has to do with Satan. He's the one that brings all this." But, in doing so they overlook the fact that God is sovereign.

Here is the real description of God in Nahum 1. If you want to find a balanced description, look at verse 7, "The Lord is good. He is a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him." That's the God of grace, mercy and love! That's the God we all love. That's the God we all want to hear about. That's the God we want to hear preached about. But,God has another side to Him. Yes, He's a God of love, grace and mercy, but He's also a God of perfect righteousness, justice and holiness, and Nahum talks about that. Look at verse 2, "A jealous and avenging God is the Lord, the Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power. And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished." This is not somebody you fool around with. Our God is not a cosmic Teddy Bear!

As I said, some people try to counter this by saying, "Well, it's all due to Satan." But, in doing so they overlook the important fact and that is that God is sovereign. God is sovereign, and there are many examples of His sovereignty in the Bible. Let me mention two.

One is the example of Job. When Satan got ready to touch Job, what did he have to do? He had to go and ask, "God, would you let me touch him? Please, let me touch him?" God answered, "I'll tell you what, I'll let you touch him, but here's what you can do, and here's what you cannot do." Even when God allowed him to touch Job He put parameters upon Satan because Satan is not sovereign.

Consider this I don't know if you've ever thought about the example of temptation. In the Bible we are told point blank, "God does not tempt." But, in the Lord's Prayer we are told to pray, "Lord, lead us not into temptation." How do you reconcile that? How do you reconcile the point blank statement, "God does not tempt" and yet the statement that, we are to pray, "Lead us not into temptation." I know how to reconcile it. Satan is the tempter, but Satan cannot tempt you unless God allows him. Satan is the tempter, but God must allow the temptation. That's why we pray, "Lead us not into temptation."

Again, God is sovereign and nothing happens that He does not allow either in His perfect will or in His permissive will. For example, it is the perfect will of God for all people to be saved. But, in His permissive will, He allows people to be lost. He has a permissive will and He has a perfect will, and nothing happens outside that. Thus, in the Bible, all natural disasters are attributed to God. The Bible writers don't even hesitate to do that, because whether Satan was the one who sent the storm or not, God was the one that allowed it.


In the next segment of this "God, Judgment and the Weather" series, we'll see if the Bible says all natural calamities are a product of man's sin and represent remedial judgments of God.

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