"If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses. He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they will cling to you. Also every sickness and every plague which, not written in the book of this law, the LORD will bring on you until you are destroyed. Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, because you did not obey the LORD your God."
If you make time to read the Bible, you will find held before you a very great, all-powerful, sovereign God. You will also likely be surprised if not shocked to discover the things God assumes responsibility for. The passage at the head of this post speaks plainly to the fact that God sends, "lasting plagues and miserable and chronic sicknesses." Perhaps you've seen the movie, "The Ten Commandments" with Charlton Heston as Moses at the burning bush. What Cecil B. Demille offered us was an abbreviated recounting of God's call of Moses. You may remember that as the call came from God, Moses insisted that he was not the man for the job because he was, "slow of speech." Then God drops the bomb:
"The LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?"
Hold on, we're just getting started. In His Word, God proclaims that He is in control of calamity as much as He is well-being:
"The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these."
We hear cries from our cities of the spreading virus and all the harm that comes with it. Does the Bible say anything to us about such things?:
If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?
By now, you've come across these verses on Facebook. Note what is underlined:
2 Chronicles 7:12-14
"Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
What about natural disasters? Hurricanes for example:
"Out of the south comes the storm, and out of the north the cold. From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen. Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, that it may do whatever He commands it on the face of the inhabited earth. Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen."
I could keep us all day so for the sake of time let's go for the whole enchilada. The ultimate issue is death, isn't it? Many people believe that God is in control of life's start but somehow think that He has handed control of death over to Satan. Is God in control of death as much as He is life?
"See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand."
For those who might be inclined at this point to point out that these are all Old Testament references I will remind you that God is who He has always been and does not change (Malachi 3:6). But if you need further proof that the God of the New Testament is in charge of calamity stop watching YouTube videos for a while and read the book of Revelation:
"Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished."
Beyond the raging atheist there are a few groups of poor, deceived people who perhaps have not read or do not understand the Bible. The first group is made up of people whose idea of God is a mixture of Santa and grandpa. He's old, He's nice, He cares and loves but cannot be factored into calamity, illness, and death. This God is well-intentioned but impotent. He is up in heaven, looking down and sad. He pounds the floor with His scepter and commands but no one listens. This is the God that is called upon from fox-holes and nights of drunkenness to whom the promise is made that if He will deliver you from your rebellious, foolishness, you will serve Him forever. But for all He is, the devil is more. This God is nice but it is the devil who is in control. Frankly, a God like this is to be pitied more than worshipped.
Then there is the sneering, rebel whose response to the truth is, "How can a loving God send plagues and make a place like hell?" These people take it upon themselves to question and judge God and in their way, exalt themselves above Him. Such people do not seem to understand that God is as holy as He is loving. They also have no concept of the evil of sin or justice. The thought never enters their mind that suffering and hell are what evil deserve and that they, along with the rest of us, brought suffering and hell upon ourselves. These make their demand: either God must forsake His holiness and justice or they will not have Him as God. Poor people, they actually think that they can define God and make demands upon Him. What a shock Judgment Day will be for these when they find out, too late, that God is who He is and that it was they who were wrong, not Him.
The Scriptures hold before us the worst news and then, the best news: God in His holiness created hell, God in His love made a way for us to be rescued from going there.
How evil and tragic that those who lead us either hate God or are afraid to lead us to God amid the Corona-virus or any of the other troubles we face. Much attention is given to where the virus originated as it comes to a location on earth but no interest or concern is expressed as to why it has been sent from heaven. For now, let the truth be established that God assumes ultimate responsibility for both well-being and calamity. Whatever role Satan may play in calamity is only by the permission of God. Therefore, Satan is the second cause, not the first.
Why God sends calamity, plague, and illness we will consider next, if He wills.