Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sovereign God and Oklahoma

“Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.  You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”  But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”  Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” – Romans 9:18-21

It is hard to reconcile a God that we know is all-loving with the events of yesterday’s tornados in Oklahoma.  As the death count rises, and more stories of being buried in the rubble of homes and buildings are told, we want to find a reason for this tragic event.  We would prefer to cast the blame for this on “mother nature”, global warming, Satan, and other entities both real and imaginary. We want to give God an out rather than believe He would do this.

But the fact is that God is sovereign over everything He created.  This too came from the hands of our loving God, whose character is not just love, but also wrathful (Isaiah 26:21), who seeks revenge for His children (Romans 12:17-21), who punishes those He loves (Hebrews 12:6), who blesses and curses as He chooses (Romans 9:18). 

When faced with unexplainable tragedy, we want to find a reason.  Often we do further harm by placing blame on those affected with statements about how they were sinful, or how it’s due to our nation’s sin.  But let us be reminded that Job was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1).”  Even though Job was without sin he was not spared from natural disasters. Fire fell from Heaven and burned up his sheep and servants, and it was a great wind that hit the house his children were in and destroyed it, killing them all (Job 1:16-19).

Job’s friends came to “comfort” him afterward.  They accused him of having sinned, and of the disasters being the results of God’s wrath.  In Job 5:17 his friend Eliphaz says to Job “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.” His friend Zophar said to him in Job 11:6 “Know therefore that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves”, expressing that Job’s sin was worthy of far worse than losing all he owned, his children, and his health!  His friend Bildad was so bold as to question Job’s relationship with God, saying in Job 18:21, “this is the place of him who does not know God.” Job’s young friend Elihu calls Job a hypocrite, and says in Job 34:35-37 “Job speaks without knowledge, his words are without wisdom.  Oh, that Job were tried to the utmost, because his answers are like those of wicked men! For he adds rebellion to his sin;”.  But remember what God said?  He said Job was “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil”. 

The tragedies that happened in Job’s life were not due to his sin, and we cannot claim that the tornado damage and loss of lives in Oklahoma were due to theirs or this nations.  The fact is, we do not understand God’s ways.  His ways and His thoughts are incomprehensible to those of us who live time bounded lives in this small little corner of the world (Isaiah 55:9).  It would be nothing less than arrogance to claim to understand God’s ways.

What should our actions be toward God after yesterday’s events?  Worship.  It is nothing less that He deserves, regardless of what He brings to our lives.  He is GOD.  He is our Chief Authority, our Sovereign God.

“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”  In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” – Job 1:20-22

We cannot charge God with any wrong either.  All we can do is help those that are hurting.

Father God, we love you, and we exalt you now.  Our hearts are broken.  We don’t desire to understand the horror that has hit our brothers and sisters in Oklahoma.  We desire that you comfort them, and grant them all they need to recover emotionally, physically, and financially.  We ask you to make us vessels of your love to them.  We ask you to show us ways to help them and love them as you would have us show your love to them now.  Father, fill the hearts of parents and loved ones who have lost children, family, and friends, with joy unspeakable.  We bow to your Sovereign authority over us, and beg for mercy and grace.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen.



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