Intro: The world is in a mess and calamities are happening one after another in various places around the world. Where is God in all these? I’m sure you heard of the earthquake in New Zealand where145 persons have died and 300 missing including 14 Filipinos. Then the volcano in Sorsogon recently erupted and more earthquakes in Russia, Fiji and many other places but not big news because there are no deaths. Then there was this extreme cold and heavy snow in the northeast. So, where’s global warming? Then there is this warning of solar storm that could cause power cuts. Then there are countries in the Middle East revolting against their government like Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria and Libya. Here in the US government workers protesting against their State in Wisconsin and Ohio. People are angry. Many analysts are expecting an economic meltdown and crisis and the worse is yet to come. We are headed toward a One World government and the United States is losing its power and over taken by other countries. And the list can go on and on. So where is God in all these?
Thank God we have the Scriptures to answer this question to us who believe. Who then is responsible in causing all these calamities? God says,
“I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I the Lord, do all these things.” Isa. 45:7
When Katrina hit the US and Ondoy in the Philippines, where was God?
“The Lord sit enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.” Ps. 29:10
This is the God of the Bible. He is Sovereign and in all these He is in full control. What about the revolutions and other events? God allowed this in order to fulfill what Jesus said will surely happen.
“When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, these things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:9-11
Are these happening now? Yes it is. What about the revolutions? Who is behind these revolutions in the Middle East and even in the USA?
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.” Mark 3:24-26
Compare what Jesus does when He saves His people. He unites them. What about Satan? He divides and rules causing his peoples downfall.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” John 10:10a
In the life of Job, Satan can only do to Job what God allowed him to do. I believe Satan knows his days are numbered and he is making the most to kill and destroy. God is using his actions to fulfill His plan. In view of what’s happening we will see what God does to the people in the world.
“God of Love and God of Wrath”
First let’s define what wrath is. Webster defines it as – great anger, fury, often marked by a desire for vengeance. Webster agrees with God because he defines it as God’s punishment for sin. God is God and He has the right to be angry and for a just reason. He is angry because of wickedness and He takes vengeance. When evil is done to Christians this is how we respond.
“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” says the Lord.” Rom. 12:19
So who are those God is referring to as godless and wicked. Have you met people here in Reno who does not believe in God? They know there is God who created the heavens and the earth but deny His existence so that they will not be accountable to Him. Here’s how God describes and calls them,
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Ps. 14:1
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Rom. 1:21-23
This is nothing new because this was the condition of man just after seven generations from Adam.
“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Gen 6:5
And what did God do? He wiped out all of mankind by flood and left only Noah and his family, a total of eight people.
Another group of people today are the religious. They follow a religion to suit their thinking and lifestyle. Since they think they are righteous by following certain practices and rituals they glory in themselves patting their backs for being good. They are not thankful because they have worked it out themselves thinking that they have earned favor with God. These are not ignorant, uneducated people but wise in their own eyes because they have degrees and have religious studies and training as religious leaders, priests of different religious sects who are idolaters. God also calls them fools because they worship images made of wood or stone representing the immortal, invisible God in human form. That man is Christ Jesus.
Were we not all guilty of the sin of idolatry? When Paul was in Athens this is what he saw. (If he went to the Philippines he would also have seen this.)
“Paul stood in the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.” Acts 17:22-23
Thank God, He had mercy on us because of our ignorance.
“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
Thank God that by His grace undeserving people receive eternal life by believing in His Son. But for those who know but refuses to turn away from the sin of idolatry and unbelief, here’s where they stand before God.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains in him.” John 3:36
“Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.” Rom. 1:24-25
Therefore, is the consequence of what they do when God takes away any restraint but leave them to do as they wish. It is like those who were drowned in the flood. Given up without any hope of being saved. Isn’t it also possible that one can worship his or her own body? They could be so proud of their bodies to show it off in public. Degrading their bodies as stars in sexually provocative movies driven love of money, which is also idolatry. Another created thing are people who have died, like Mary and the saints who are being worshiped. As a result they are so filled with the cravings for sex to satisfy their passion disregarding any moral consideration.
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Rom. 1:26-27 (Homosexual relationship)
This is nothing new for this has already happened in Sodom and Gomorrah.
“The two angels arrived in Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city…Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom – both young and old – surrounded the house. They called Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Gen. 19:1, 4-5
The two angels appeared as men to rescue Lot and his family. But God gave every inhabitant of Sodom and Gomorrah over to death because they perverted what God has created man and woman to be in order to produce offspring. This was God’s will in His eternal plan for humankind.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Gen. 1:27
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Gen. 2:24
Hell is not just the penalty for those God has given over but even here on earth some has suffered this sexually transmitted disease called AIDS.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Rom. 1:18-32
The people who have already gained some knowledge about God, yet continue to reject Christ and the truth, choosing their own way, God gives them over to a depraved mind to be deceived.
“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” 2 Thess. 2:9-12
With a depraved mind one can justify anything he does as okay. If it feels good do it. Have you heard people say that we are in the 21st century and behaviors and moral standards are changing with time. Marriage between man and woman has evolved that same sex marriage is now approved and protected by law of the land. The other day as the Governor of Hawaii signed into law allowing same sex marriage an earthquake occurred that same day. It’s God saying I see that. It is now official the White House is withdrawing its defense of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.
One may not necessarily be doing everything listed as the result of a depraved mind but even just approving those who practice them is just as guilty. May I say this to you young people, disobedience to parents is a serious sin. This is the fifth commandment of God.
So if God is sending all these calamities as His judgment for sin how does one know that he has not been given over? Our response will tell.
“When judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and not regard the majesty of the Lord.” Isa. 26:9b-10
When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines, many people were saying God is punishing us resulting in the fear of the Lord. There were reports that many have been saved. It is not only through a calamity that God shows His grace, it could be through a personal problem, a dreaded disease or when one hits rock bottom and become so helpless with no one to help. When they cry out to God, He comes to the rescue of those who cannot help themselves.
For those who are already saved, forgiven and possessing eternal life, let me remind us where we came from and how we were rescued and got saved.
“All of us lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Eph. 2:3-5
In the past God judged the people of the world because of their sins, but He preserved His people from His wrath and gave them this instruction.
“Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer.” Isa. 26:20-21 (Babies who die by abortion)
A day is coming when God’s wrath will be poured out on the whole earth but thank God, He will spare those who are already in Christ and snatch them up to be with Christ and meet Him in the air. This is called the rapture.
What about you? Where are you in these?