Posted by: stpowen | February 27, 2014

God and the Floods

Job 36:26-27. Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him……For He draws up drops of water which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man.’

Amos 2:4. ‘Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept His commandments.”‘

Book of Common Prayer, 1662. ‘O Almighty Lord God, who for the sin of man didst once drown all the world, except eight persons, and afterward of thy great mercy didst promise never to destroy it so again: We humbly beseech thee, that although we for our iniquities have worthily deserved a plague of rain and waters, yet on our true repentance thou wilt send us such weather, as that we may receive the fruits of the earth in due season; and learn both by thy punishment to amend our lives, and for thy clemency to give thee praise and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’

My readers from abroad may perhaps not be aware that Britain has been subjected to an abnormal quantity of wind and rain in the last few months, and that now many areas of the country are flooded and many hundreds of houses inundated. There has seemed to be no end to it. A couple of weeks ago a local politician in Oxfordshire suggested that God might be responsible for this continuing deluge and that the legalization and impending commencement of homosexual marriage might be the cause. For his temerity he was suspended from his party.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-25793358 It is clear that even in such a Party as U.K.I.P., political correctness rules.

I think it is foolish to suppose that one particular sin can be claimed to be the catalyst for the country’s dismal weather. However, Britain and her governments have been figuratively thumbing their noses at God (cf. Isaiah 57:3) for a long time now in legislating on such things as abortion, divorce and the Lord’s Day. Same-sex ‘marriage’ is merely the last an most egregious of them. The wonder is that God has not long since either wiped us out or devastated us beyond recovery. However, it seems that our legislators and politicians, where they are not outright atheists, are deists since they do not believe that God will do either good or evil. Our senior clergy are no better, since they believe that God is too weak or soppy to take any disciplinary action against an errant people. ‘They have lied about the LORD, and said, “Not He! Neither will evil come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine.” And the prophets become wind, for the word is not in them. Thus it shall be done to them’ (Jer. 5:12-13).

So what can we say about God and the weather? Well, although the Old Testament writers knew about the Water Cycle (Job 36:27; Eccl. 1:7), they were still very clear that God is in control of the elements, and that He uses them as a means of punishment (eg. 2 Chron. 7:13-14; Jer. 5:23-25). It is impossible for anyone who knows his Bible at all to imagine God looking down at a flooded Britain and saying to Himself, “Oh dear! I wonder how that happened!” No, no! On the contrary, He declares, “I form the light and create the darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). If not a sparrow falls to the ground outside of God’s will (Matt. 10:29), how much more does that will control the weather?

We live in a fallen world due to sin (Gen. 3:17-18) and we learn that in that world seemingly random events and disasters happen (Rom. 8:20), although none of it is outside of God’s permissive will. We should not suppose therefore that every disaster that comes upon a nation is due to its wickedness (Luke 13:1-5), but at the same time it is clear that God does sometimes bring disasters upon a people because of their sins. Faced with a rebellious and intransigent Israel, He declares, ‘”Shall I not punish them for these things?……And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?” Now what is meant by ‘such a nation as this’? Surely it means a nation that has known great blessings from God yet has turned against Him? And surely Britain fits that description rather well?

It seems that God’s punishments upon a nation are meant to be restorative, to bring the people to their senses. But when the punishments are ignored time after time, eventually the judgement becomes final. Take a moment to read through Amos 4:6-13. In succession God brought hunger, flood, drought, blight, locusts, plague and war upon the northern kingdom of Israel, yet five times God declares, “Yet you have not returned to Me.” Finally His longsuffering is exhausted; temporal, restorative judgement turns to final judgement (v.12). “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” The northern kingdom was taken into exile (5:27).

So what can we say about Britain? Well, in the last several years, we have had Mad Cow Disease, Foot and Mouth Disease, banking and economic disaster (much worse in Britain than in most other countries because of her large financial sector), long and fruitless military involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan, an ever-increasing epidemic of sexually-transmitted diseases, and now floods. Yet there is no bishop or minister of the Gospel- none at least who has the ear of the media- saying, “Maybe it’s time for the country to turn back to God.” Is it not indeed time for someone to take up the words of Jeremiah 14:19ff? ‘We looked for peace, but there was no good; for a time of healing, and there was trouble. We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against You. Do not abhor us, for Your name’s sake……………..Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are You not He, O LORD our God?’

So whom shall we blame for these various afflictions that God seems to have sent upon Britain? Shall we blame the homosexuals, the adulerers or the abortionists? Shall we put the blame on the government that has legislated to facilitate all this wickedness? I don’t think so. Sinners sin; it’s what they do, and God will ultimately bring them to judgement for it if they do not repent. But judgement must begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). I do not know if there is one corner of hell that is blacker and hotter than the rest, but if there is, it will be reserved for the clerics and so-called men of God who have not called the nation to repentance (James 3:1). They seem to know exactly what the country’s tax rates should be and what the minimum wage should be, but either they do not know the word of God or they do not care about it. ‘I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings’ (Jer. 23:21-22).

My continuing prayer is that God would raise up men as He did three hundred years ago- men like Whitefield, Newton and Wesley- who would preach repentance and new birth up and down the land in the power of the Holy Spirit. May all of God’s true people pray that prayer, lest God’s corrective judgements on Britain eventually become final (Jer. 15:1-2).

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Responses

  1. Hi Martin
    Have you considered Psalm 104 especially verses 3-4. The Psalmist is speaking of god’s sovereignty over creation and nature but He is also watching and sending. He is on the clouds in authority, His promise is never to flood the entire earth in judgement again but to His people he does bring judgement with flood or drought, war or suppression. We can so easily look to the religious world and see severe sin and inconsistency but we have the mandate from Jesus to be light and salt in this dark and unsavoury world. The Psalmist tells us that he who is riding the clouds and the winds also sends His messengers to be as winds of change and fire of cleansing. However much we look to the established Christianized religion to make a difference they are ultimately dead in their trespasses and sins and so have no life to give.
    I believe that it is the church of the redeemed that is most guilty today. we have so many opportunities to give words of eternal life into all of the situations that you describe but yet we are silent. Great Christians of past days made a great difference but before they did they were nobody’s! Democratic government does not change society, in fact it is not really a leader but a follower of society. It is a people (or more to the point media ) pleaser. The media now it seems chooses the government and society follows. That should never be the case and so as Christians we should be about changing society, not by our poor meddling in social works but by the Sword of Truth and that is the responsibility of all who are truly born again.
    The church should be teaching and feeding, the believers should be attending their feeding station (no marathon runner by-passes the feeding station!) and then going into their own particular world with words of eternal life and turning our sad British world up-side down.
    I really enjoyed your post and it has made me really think as to where the real problem is. The established church is proving itself to be a shambles with nothing to say but the church of God is mighty. the world is in a mess and so therefore “the world at its worst needs the church at its best!” How do we achieve that my friend.
    Every blessing and keep on blogging
    Peter


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