The shock of 25,000 people being crushed by a 7.6 scale earthquake in South-eastern Asia is mind-boggeling…or is it? Has it set in for you that 2 million people in the areas of Pakistan, Islamabad, Afghanistan, and the Northwest frontier are homeless after this massive earth blast? I know that for me, numbers on a screen will never have the comparable affect of experiencing first hand a tragedy of this magnitude. However, today we have access to many of the personal stories experienced by survivors that are simply astonishing. I commend to you a time of reading and praying through these stories.
Your response to this type of thing depends greatly on your view of God. This morning I prayed through Psalm 46 and the Lord reminded me of 4 things: (the text of Psalm 46 will be posted at the end of this blog)
1. We should behold this tragedy as a work of the Lord. (verse 8). We know from other passages in Scripture that God is in control of all nature (including natural disasters) and calamity.
- Isaiah 29:6 From the LORD of hosts you will be punished with thunder and earthquake and loud noise, With whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire.
- Job 31:23 “For calamity from God is a terror to me, And because of His majesty I can do nothing.
- Isaiah 45:7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.
2. God is our strength and our Refuge; A very present (or abundantly available) help in trouble.
- During these times of tragedy, when the earth caves in and the mountains tumble (verses 2,3) we DO have a rock to hold onto! God is ruling over nature and we can be secure in His perfect wisdom.
3. We should cease striving and know that God is God and He will be exalted!
- Cease Striving: stop trying to rescue God from His sovereignty.
- Cease Striving: stop trying to manage our own lives in such a way that produces self-sufficiency
- Cease Striving: stop trying to promote ourselves. We must join in the greatest task on earth, namely exalting God with all of our lives!
- Cease Striving: stop worrying. God is God.
4. Finally, what is our response?
- We should not fear abandonment by God (verse 2).
- Whe should fear God! (He has the ability to melt the earth with His voice!) (verse6).
- We should repent! Anytime we encounter God’s majestic power, we should be reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 13:3,5 when He was answering the question about people being killed when a giant tower fell on them. He responed with a question and then a statement (both will serve us well as we seek to respond to this calamity):
- Question: “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?
- Statement: “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
(NAS) Psalm 46
For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. 6 The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. 9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Soli Deo Gloria!