How can we reconcile God’s love with disasters? For a couple of weeks now, the news media have brought us new images of the disaster in Japan: the worst earthquake there on record, a tsunami that struck the coast within 15 minutes and that caused a nuclear catastrophe worse than any other except Chernobyl. We have probably all received multiple reminders to pray for Japan, and I hope this post will serve as another, but I want to consider the question of how a loving God can allow such devastation.
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.… Read the rest
God wants his people to prosper. That hardly means that he will not allow them, or rather compel them to go through times of trial in which prosperity seems impossible. We have to put aside our human idea of prosperity and let God define it for us.
Jeremiah proclaimed the message of divine prosperity even in calamity in a letter to the Jews in Babylon, that is, to victims of a recent national catastrophe. The invading Babylonian army had taken King Jeconiah, his mother, all of his court officials, and all of the skilled craftsmen and artisans in Jerusalem as captives back to Babylon.… Read the rest
“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD.” — 2 Kings 19:14 (NIV)
Poor Hezekiah. He’s known as one of the good kings of Judah, but his father Ahaz was surely the worst. Ahaz inherited a secure and independent kingdom and by his idolatry and cowardice reduced it to a tributary of Assyria. Assyria, in turn, had little interest in having smaller states paying tribute. It wanted to conquer them all and rule directly.
Hezekiah trusted God more than any other king of Judah before or after him, and eventually rebelled as the Lord prospered him (2 Kings 18:5-7).… Read the rest