A Voice in the Wilderness - Observations and Excursions of a Christian Zealot

Terry Walker's Weblog --- Occasional articles on the Christian Ethic

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Has Not The Lord Done It?

Consider for a moment, if you will, a day that surely still rests unnervingly on your mind. On this day in September at least 6,000 American people died, and some suggest as many as 8,000. Without warning the threat appeared in the skies and soon it obliterated everything in its path. Innocent men, women and children, ordinary and unknowing folk, simply performing their daily duties, were about to have their lives cut short, on the wrong side of the national average. The year is just after the turn of the century, but not this century, and the place is not New York, but Galveston, Texas, and the target is not a couple of buildings, but an entire region of our great nation, and the weapon used was a category 5 hurricane. On September 8, 1900 the most devastating natural disaster ever to occur on American soil, laid waste Galveston and killed a great percentage of its inhabitants. The wrath of this massive hurricane slaughtered indiscriminately. The blood of the righteous and the unrighteous mingled together as the bodies lay strewn about the rubble. And God did it! He decided before hand where every house would fall, where every horse would land, and whose body would wash up on the beach and whose would never be seen again. Amos 3:6 says: “When a trumpet blows a warning in a city, the people tremble. When disaster befalls a city, the Lord has caused it.” And Job 38:22-23 says: “Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?”

Such is the mystery of God. What the Lord gives, He as well takes away and He is to be praised in so doing as He owes us nothing! Not even His mercy does He owe us. As well God need not apologize as some “wise” men outrageously suggest when they say, “After Katrina, God has something to answer for!” Oh people, how quickly we forget. Is Katrina truly a formidable event in history? Did God answer for laying waste the land with locusts in Joel? When Jerusalem suffered the greatest calamity that has ever occurred under heaven, (Daniel 9:12) did the Lord repent? Does not the same book say, two verses later say, “for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does!...” And what of the terrifying day of the Lord, when even the mountains will tremble, will He answer to us then? No, no, on that day every knee will bow and every mouth will confess to the majesty of the great I Am.

But God has not abandoned the righteous, nor turned His wrath from the sinner, as the wicked woman preacher proclaimed, saying, “God doesn’t work in New Orleans anymore.” And others, wise in their own eyes, speak as kindred brothers of Bildad the Shuhite, inferring that the wicked alone suffer wrath. Do we reproach God as Bildad 10 times reproached Job? Or perhaps we act as Eliphaz and accuse God of wickedness as Eliphaz wrongly accused Job.

Listen you men of understanding; “Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to commit iniquity. For He repays man according to his work, and makes man to find a reward according to his way. Surely God will never do wickedly, nor will the Almighty pervert justice. Who gave Him charge over the earth? Or who appointed Him over the whole world? If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself, His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.” (Job 34:10-15) God owes us nothing. All flesh submits to His will, and all flesh, righteous and sinner alike, takes another breath only by the mercy of God.

Does God need to answer those of this age from a whirlwind? Can we not read for ourselves the greatness of God within the very Scriptures already given to us? Elihu said of God’s Goodness, “Behold, God is mighty, but despises no one; He is mighty in strength of understanding. He does not preserve the life of the wicked, but gives justice to the oppressed. He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous; but they are on the throne with kings, for He has seated them forever, and they are exalted. And if they are bound in fetters, held in the cords of affliction, then He tells them their work and their transgressions; that they have acted defiantly. He also opens their ear to instruction, and commands that they turn from iniquity. If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. But if they do not obey, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.” (Job 36:5-12)

And God responded to Job:
“Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; when I fixed My limit for it, and set bars and doors; When I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!’ Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? It takes on form like clay under a seal, and stands out like a garment. From the wicked their light is withheld, and the upraised arm is broken. Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, that you may take it to its territory, that you may know the paths to its home? Do you know it, because you were born then, Or because the number of your days is great? Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? By what way is light diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth? Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, or a path for the thunderbolt, to cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, a wilderness in which there is no man; to satisfy the desolate waste, and cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass? Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen. Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the great bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, ‘Here we are!’? Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven, when the dust hardens in clumps, and the clods cling together? Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait? Who provides food for the raven, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?

Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young? Or can you mark when the deer gives birth? Can you number the months that they fulfill? Or do you know the time when they bear young? They bow down, they bring forth their young; they deliver their offspring. Their young ones are healthy, they grow strong with grain; they depart and do not return to them. Who set the wild donkey free? Who loosed the bonds of the onager, whose home I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwelling? He scorns the tumult of the city; He does not heed the shouts of the driver. The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searches after every green thing. Will the wild ox be willing to serve you? Will he bed by your manger? Can you bind the wild ox in the furrow with ropes? Or will he plow the valleys behind you? Will you trust him because his strength is great? Or will you leave your labor to him? Will you trust him to bring home your grain, and gather it to your threshing floor? The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s? For she leaves her eggs on the ground, and warms them in the dust; she forgets that a foot may crush them, or that a wild beast may break them. She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers; her labor is in vain, without concern, because God deprived her of wisdom, and did not endow her with understanding. When she lifts herself on high, she scorns the horse and its rider. Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder? Can you frighten him like a locust? His majestic snorting strikes terror. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he gallops into the clash of arms. He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; nor does he turn back from the sword. The quiver rattles against him, the glittering spear and javelin. He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, “Aha!” He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of captains and shouting. Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high? On the rock it dwells and resides, on the crag of the rock and the stronghold. From there it spies out the prey; its eyes observe from afar. Its young ones suck up blood; and where the slain are, there it is.”

Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said: “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”
(Job 38, 39 & 40:1-2)

Dear God, what man can answer? We as Job are vile, and should lay our hands over our mouths. While we once spoke, we can no longer answer and we need not proceed any further.

Brother Terry Walker
Providence Baptist Church
Greer, South Carolina

For an eye witness account of the 1900 Galveston hurricane, follow this link
The author’s wife and 32 other people were thrust into eternity when their house collapsed. 18 people survived the collapse of the house, but the author and two other adults drifted on the wreckage of rooftops for 2 hours, being swept out to sea, before being washed inland once again. For another hour the drifting mass of wreckage they clung to slammed into and destroyed other residences before finally coming to rest. Miraculously all three of the author’s children survived the ordeal, floating on rooftops beside their father.