Friday, February 6, 2009

Some thoughts on the Ice Storm of '09

Well, God did teach me some things during this past ice storm, though not as dramatically as at other times! Although, far be it from me to assume that I know even the tip of the iceberg, if you will, of all that God intended! He certainly taught me about serving others and thankfulness! And I read Robert L. Peterson's (no relation that I know of) book Robert Chapman: Apostle of Love. I can tell why Spurgeon called him the "saintliest man" he had ever known! Also, there was a sin issue that God dealt with in my life (suffice it to say it had to do with presumption and pride). I had more time to pray and think through it, and for whatever reason God had not answered my prayers about it until this past week. Appropriately enough (as it always is), Pastor James preached this past Lord's Day on our conflict with sin (Romans 7:14-25).

Brian Owens, a student at SBTS, wrote an excellent blog entry that echoes many of my own thoughts:

These are some thoughts I had from Job 37 regarding the events of this past week.

Did you hear God speak this week? You should have. Elihu says in Job 37:2 “Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth.” God showed us much this week when He sent the winter storm. Yes, God sent the winter storm. We need to recognize the fact weather doesn’t “just happen.” If you believe God created everything but stepped back and lets things just happen you are holding to an agnostic point of view which is not compatible with biblical Christianity. God is in control of everything, including the weather.

You may not like it or even agree with it, but that doesn’t change the truth of God’s Word and Scripture plainly teaches that God is sovereign over all things. Charles Spurgeon rightly said that “No doctrine in the whole Word of God has excited the hatred of mankind more than the truth of the absolute sovereignty of God.” We can’t stand the thought of God taking our hands off the situation!

Since we have established that God is sovereign over it all, think about this – any time we complain about it being too cold, or too hot, or too much rain, or not enough rain - when we complain about the snow and ice what we are in effect saying is that “God, you don’t know what you are doing!” Now, how blasphemous is that? Now let me be clear, I don’t shout for joy when snow and ice move in, but I can honestly say when I see that the temperature drops to single digits or when there is an inch of ice on the ground, “Thy will be done.”

That’s how the Christian is to respond. Job 37:3 says “Under the whole heaven He [God] lets it loose, and His lightning to the ends of the earth.” Don’t you think if He does it He has good reason for it? God does nothing on a whim, it is all for His purpose and His glory.

Job37:7 says “He seals the hand of every man, That all men may know His work.” That word translated “seals” literally means “ties up.” Our hands have been tied this past week! Why is that? So we will know His work. God does everything with the purpose of making His glory known. Matthew Henry once said “When we are, upon any account, disabled from following our worldly business, and taken off from it, we should spend our time rather in the exercises of piety and devotion (in acquainting ourselves with the works of God and praising him in them) than in foolish idle sports and recreations. When our hands are sealed up our hearts should be thus opened, and the less we have at any time to do in the world the more we should thereby be driven to our Bibles and our knees.”

How often did you read your bible this past week? Did you pray that much more? We should have. That is part of the reason that God sent the storm. Sometimes we just need to be slowed down so we can hear Him (Psalm 46:10).

Job 37:10 says that "From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen.” Now, we get an education on meteorology 101 every evening on the news (honestly, I wish they would just tell me the forecast and be done with it!). We know what causes the rain and the snow and so on. Basically, Elihu is saying “Hey, the ice comes from God. He speaks and it happens.”

What is so humbling for me is Job 37:13 which says “Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.” These are other reasons God sends weather such as we had this past week. John Gill writes that God does this “for the reproof and chastisement of men for their sins, by suffering such quantities to fall as wash away, or corrupt and destroy, the fruits of the earth: or "for a tribe" as the word sometimes signifies; the rain is sent, and comes only to a particular part or spot of ground, to one city and not to another…” Amos 4:7 says “Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you While there were still three months until harvest. Then I would send rain on one city And on another city I would not send rain; One part would be rained on, While the part not rained on would dry up.” And Jesus Himself tells us in Matt 4:45 that “He [God] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” If God is chastising us we better listen up!

So Elihu says that God speaks in the weather. So what else did he say this week? Aside from reminding us that He is in control, I think God said:

(1) We need to be taught patience. Our hands were tied! It goes without saying that we stay too busy and go so fast so often we miss God.

(2) We need to be reminded of our total dependence upon God. Remember where our resources come from – not KU, not Bluegrass Energy, but from God Almighty.

(3) To be inconvenienced for a day a week or a month should cause us to cry out to God. Did you?

(4) We rely too much on worldly pleasures and creature comforts. Electricity isn’t a bad thing, but we often forget God has the right to circumvent our technology.

(5) When we complain about the weather, we are in effect telling God that He doesn’t know what He is doing.

(6) Times like this bring out Christ-likeness in many people. Who did you check on that you normally wouldn’t have? The common grace of God abounded this week!

(7) Times like this reveal our depraved nature. How much have you complained about the time it takes to get your power turned back on? Did you notice how people try to take advantage of others?

(8) God is sovereign over life and death. For some this storm was a means of God taking them home to be with Him, for others it was a means of exercising His judgment on them for their sins.

(9) Thank God for what you have and don’t take what you have for granted. We don’t appreciate that light in the bathroom till we have to find our way in the dark. We don’t appreciate a working refrigerator till you have to throw out everything in it when it goes bad! To have been blessed with so much, we take so much for granted.

(10) If you spent the week in a shelter, thank God for the new friendships that were made. If you spent time with family thank God for the time you had to be with them!

(11) Remember this, God reserves the right to interrupt our schedules any time He chooses for any reason He chooses. So when He does, thank God for it as you know it is ultimately for our good and for His glory.

(12) We could go on for a while, but let me say one more thing – when the weather is beautiful and the power is on and all is well, remember, that is God’s work too!


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