Droughts, Storms and Fires - Is God Speaking to Us?

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fires in Knysna3“You will be punished by the Lord of Hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire.” Isaiah 29:6

God’s Word on Natural Disasters
In the book of Amos 4:7-8 the Lord declares: “I also withheld rain from you when My harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another… yet you have not returned to Me, declares the Lord.”

Blaming God While Denying His Existence
The drought in the Cape followed by severe storms in Cape Town and the devastating fires in Knysna has sparked numerous articles and programmes alternately blaming God for the disasters, or claiming that these disasters prove that God does not exist. Similarly with the AIDS plague. “A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.” Proverbs 19:3. Several religious leaders have asserted that the drought, storms and fires could not have been a judgment from God!

Are People Basically Good?
It would seem that these theologians and religious authorities share a basic assumption: that man is basically good. Because we are all, at heart, such good people, we could never be judged by a loving and merciful God who would seem to be just too soft and gentle to judge anybody anyway. After all, none of us would ever be selfish, greedy, deceitful, vengeful, dishonest, lustful or murderous. We are all basically good!

The Depravity of Man
Far from people being basically good, the Scriptures teach the innate depravity of man: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of vipers is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”Romans 3:10-18

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the Second Death.” Revelation 21:8

Learning from Calamities
In the light of these passages and the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience outlined in Deuteronomy 28, it would appear that the message of these natural disasters is being rejected by most journalists and theologians. It is a double grief when lives are lost and lessons are not learned. Every deadly calamity is a merciful call from our Holy God for us to repent. That was how the Lord Jesus responded to those who brought news to Him of the Galileans who had been massacred by Pontius Pilate in the Temple.

Jesus on Disasters
Jesus answered: “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:2,3

Then the Lord referred to the disastrous fall of the tower in Siloam when eighteen died. “But unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5

Compassionate Love in Action
There is a time to weep (Ecclesiastes 3:4) and we should grieve with those who grieve and render all practical help within our power. But we should also repent: “'Now, therefore,' says the Lord, 'Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.' So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness and He relents from doing harm.” Joel 2:12-13

This is the lesson we should learn from every deadly disaster: Repent!

Recognising Reality
Grieve that God is cursed for every catastrophe, but seldom praised for His wonderful Creation.

Lament that God makes the news headlines only when man mocks His power or questions His goodness, but tens-of-thousands of God’s acts of mercy, grace, protection, provision and patience receive no headlines.

Grieve that the Name of the only righteous Man who ever walked the earth is used as a swear word on T.V. screens and in cinemas across the world.

Grieve that God is blasphemed by the very same people who question why God does not restrain the consequences of their own rebellious actions.

What Could God Be Saying to Knysna?
fires in Knysna
Could God be speaking to Knysna which has hosted highly publicised “Pink Loerie Gay Pride” marches and parades and multiple high profile “gay weddings”.

Could God be Speaking to Cape Town?

Could God be speaking to Cape Town where abortion kills thousands of babies every year, where gambling impoverishes the poor even more, where crime and violence stalk our streets daily, where the mayor organized inter-faith rain ceremonies and where our schools teach evolutionism, situation ethics and perversion?

The Judgments of God
In the wake of the catastrophic fires in Knysna and droughts and storms in Cape Town, we need to study afresh the Holiness and Justice of God and God’s Word to a nation.

fires in Knysna2“The Lion has roared – who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken – who can but prophesy?” Amos 3:8

“'I sent plagues among you… I killed your young men with the sword… yet you have not returned to Me', declares the Lord.” Amos 4:10

“You are Just in these Judgments, You who are and who were the Holy One, because You have so judged; for they have shed the blood of Your saints and prophets… yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are Your Judgments… they cursed the Name of God, but they refused to repent and glorify Him… they refused to repent of what they had done… and there were noises and thunderings and lightening and there was a great earthquake, such a might and great earthquake… and they cursed God.” Revelation 16:1-21

When Catastrophes Occur
Can God be speaking to a lost and careless world through these deadly disasters? Can these catastrophic calamities be a merciful call from a just God for us to repent?

In 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 the Lord declares: “When I shut up the Heavens so that there is no rain, if My people were called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Throughout the Bible natural disasters are seen as a judgment of God and a clear warning to us to humble ourselves and to pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways.

Repentance
It is time for us to take a fresh look at God’s Law and to structure our Repentance according to the Ten Commandments. Biblical repentance is not merely “feeling sorry” for our “failings and weaknesses”. What God calls wicked we should not try to redefine as some kind of “mistake”. Biblical Repentance involves: conviction, contrition and conversion requiring a change of mind, a change of heart and a change of life and demanding change of lifestyle and a change of behaviour.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked man forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy on him and to our God for He will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7

The fact is that people are not basically good. We are naturally selfish, innately depraved and very wicked. Every deadly disaster, whether man-made or natural disaster, is a merciful call from the Holy God for us to Repent. “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die?” Ezekiel 18:31

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit” Psalm 34:18

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

Dr. Peter Hammond
Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Claremont 7735
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: www.christianaction.org.za

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