Posts Tagged ‘ Plagues ’

Topical message: The God Who … Slays?

If you are unable to attend a church at this time, may this short message help get you through. Obviously, it is preferable to get together to sing praises, pray, read Scripture, and hear the Word preached.

Regardless, may this message be a blessing to you in some way.

Topical Message: The God Who … Slays?

I guess we can consider this part two of the C-19 response series.

Last time we looked at whether the church staying apart during something like a pandemic is biblically okay. (Basically, yes, though far from ideal.)

This time, I am going to tackle one of those difficult questions: Does God send various calamities – such as C-19, locusts, earthquakes, and famines – against people, nations, and various groups?

There are two passages to consider.

The first is found in Luke 13:1-5:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

The other passage is Amos 4:6-10:

“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord. “I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither; so two or three cities would wander to another city to drink water, and would not be satisfied; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

“I struck you with blight and mildew; your many gardens and your vineyards, your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord. “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, and carried away your horses, and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

So, what do these two passages tell us?

  1. Sometimes people really deserve what they get! But they do not always get what they deserve, at least in this life;
  2. And sometimes God does send war, famine, pestilence, and pain as judgment.

We should talk about this.

Let’s start with that second point: God sending these things. We see through Amos and the other Old Testament accounts that God sent the plagues on Egypt (Amos 4:10), and we know long before that He sent the flood waters in the time of Noah. Further, we get to the Revelation at the end of the Bible, and we see that God’s wrath is literally poured out on the entire Earth because they have rejected God.

And of course, we see the highlight of the whole Bible, when God’s wrath was poured out on the Man on the cross. This points back to the first point: people do not always get what they deserve. As Christians, we appreciate this, because we know that humanity deserves God’s wrath and judgment. Yet, we do not get what we deserve thanks to God’s grace poured out to us through the cross.

But what about the rest of the world?

In the Luke passage, we see that Pontius Pilate deserved punishment from God by mixing the blood of Galileans in with the sacrifices. Yet, he lived much of his life in relative comfort. Conversely, those Galileans and the eighteen killed by the tower falling did not necessarily do anything wrong.

This brings up two other quick points:

  1. Is it so bad to die? If we are true followers of Christ, no! As Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10:
    For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
    So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

    So, for those apart from Christ, it is bad to die, because they still face judgment and wrath. But we Christians await judgment and glory with Christ.

    And, we must also recognize, God is our Creator. As Romans 9 reminds us, who are we to question the Potter? Just as we may create something – say, a bowl – and then throw it away later, why can’t our Creator do the same? Compared to God, we are nothing: clay. Yet, He still chooses to save us or let us reject Him. Which leads to …
  2. The other point is that God may not directly send these things, but He does allow them.

Make no mistake. God is still in complete control. He lets natural processes play out. And we may ask why, because, if He is all-powerful (omnipotent), then He can stop these things from happening.

But as I have said numerous times, if people keep saying they want nothing to do with God, that they push Him away and call Him evil, why should He stop these things or protect them from these things? We know God can control illnesses (Plagues in Egypt, Exodus 7-12), the movements of the Earth (see Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16) and the weather (Noah’s flood in Genesis 6-9 and Elijah’s praying for rain in 1 Kings 17-18), and even the Sun’s motion (Joshua 10). He can stop these things from happening or getting worse, but the majority of the world’s population says, “We don’t need you!” Then they blame Him for those things!

So, now that we know God does send some things and allows others, how do we respond?

We can blame God for all the problems in this world and fear what will happen to us in this life. And then the life to come.

Or we can remember that we live in a rebellious world, fallen into chaos because of our own (collective) sin, and that God is still in control. It is not pleasant to suffer, and I will not judge anyone for fearing that suffering. But we can rest in the hope that the One who suffered for our sins on the cross has promised He is coming again, and we will be with Him in comfort and joy for all eternity.

Therefore, believe that Jesus was the perfect man and Son of God, who saw us in our sin and rebellion but came to offer us grace and forgiveness by dying on the cross for our forgiveness of sin, that He rose again to life, and that He now sits at the right hand of the Father until He comes again. Then, you can know you will escape the final judgment of the Earth.

Video Lesson: Plagues & False Hopes

We are getting close to the Passover time of year! How fitting that we are currently in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic at the time of posting this!

Why? Because the Passover started during … THE 10 PLAGUES ON EGYPT!

You should read Exodus chapters 7-12 before reading/listening to this lesson.

Here are some questions to ask ourselves:

Does God allow or even send things like pandemics and plagues?

Is there a purpose to suffering?

Can God use evil for good? How do we define good and evil?

Now, to the big question of the day:

Can we learn from the 10 Plagues today?

Plagues and False Hopes
Exodus 7-12

Ten/10 is the number of completion, so God’s judgment is thorough and complete.

God gave Egypt plagues for each of their most powerful gods and goddesses.

  • #1 – Plague of the Nile into Blood
    • Hapi – god of the Nile
      This lasted 7 days, the number of perfection.
  • #2 – Plague of Frogs
    • Heket – goddess of Fertility and Water
      She had the head of a frog. Magicians made more frogs appear, but only Moses and Aaron could get rid of them.
  • #3 – Plague of Gnats/Lice/Mosquitos
    • Geb – god of the Earth
      1st plague the magicians couldn’t copy
      (8:18-19)
      Remember that we are made from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7)
  • #4 – Plague of Flies
    • Khepri – god of creation, movement of the Sun, and rebirth
      He had the head of a fly.
  • #5 – Plague of the Death of Livestock
    • Hathor – goddess of Love and Protection
      She had the head of a cow
      Economic disaster: food, transportation, and farming is affected.
  • Plagues 1-5 remove sources of sustenance and income.
  • #6 – Plague of Boils
    • Isis – goddess of Medicine and Peace
      Egyptians were neat-freaks and germophobes.
      This plague announced their uncleanness.
  • #7 – Plague of Hail and Fire & Brimstone
    • Nut – goddess of the Sky
      First plague to affect the household of Pharaoh himself.
      Affected the crops of flax and barley: used for making clothing and beer. The Egyptians would not be able to cover their nakedness nor “forget their woes” with alcohol.
      Wheat was not affected, showing God provides bread …
  • #8 – Plague of Locusts
    • Set – god of Storms and Disorder
      Locusts eat everything. This devastates even the food supply.
  • #9 – Plague of Darkness for Three Days
    • Ra – The Sun god, the highest god
      Their god of light was controlled by God.
      Darkness symbolizes spiritual blindness and death, judgment and hopelessness.
  • Plagues 6-9 remove sources of health and peace.
  • #10 – Plague of the Death of the Firstborn
    • Pharaoh – the living god
      If their worshiped king cannot stop a foreign deity from killing his son, is he really worthy of their worship? (No.)
      Most obviously, this points to Christ, the only Son of God and firstborn of the Resurrection, all others finding salvation from death through His shed blood.
  • Plague 10 removes our self-reliance.

God will allow and even send calamities, pestilences, and pandemics to show His power and sovereignty, and He might also do it to bring judgment on nations.

Think of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, or the locust swarms in Africa at this time. Or think of all of the wildfires in 2019.

Is this a buildup to Christ’s return? Maybe. Maybe not.

At the very least, God is in control, and our world has been pushing Him away like crazy. Just as the Egyptians claimed differing gods and had prophets declaring false things, we see this all over the world today, even within Christianity.

Just as the only salvation from death in the 10th plague was blood, the only way we know we are saved from eternal death is through the blood of God’s firstborn, Jesus Christ. We may not escape earthly suffering, but we are saved from eternal judgment. (And see the last lesson about those who have not heard the Gospel!)