God and Natural Disasters

This is an excerpt of a sermon preached by Bill Johnson at Bethel Church

At the pool of Bethesda Jesus heals a lame man and the bible celebrates the healing, but if it were to happen today, the Newspaper reporters and TV people would be interviewing the people that were around the pool that didn’t get healed, the theologians would be doing the same and the articles in the Christian magazines would go something like this:

‘This only goes to prove it’s not always Gods will to heal the sick’

This is because so much of our theology is built around what didn’t happen.

We do the same thing with natural disasters; we read into natural disasters and the church oftentimes comes to the conclusion that these things are Gods will.
The Lord reveals in His word, what His will is. There are absolute standards that reveal Gods heart and what we need to remember is that it is the promises of the Lord reveal his heart. Some of the things that happen to us are the effect of sin in the world and the chaos that goes on around us. It’s crazy to have people that become offended at God because he doesn’t intervene in a natural disaster when humanity has done everything it possibly can to get rid of God’s influence in society.
The Lord has given us a process whereby his intervention comes in a co-labouring role where we learn to pray, God responds and brings peace to a situation.

So there are two absolutes that are revealed in scripture. Gods will on earth as it is in heaven. If the chaos does not exist in heaven, then it’s not to exist here on earth. We know for absolute certain that that is the heart of God that is the will of God, which is his intention.

On the other hand, or an extension to that, is the bible says that God is not willing that anyone should perish and that all should come to repentance, and yet we know that people perish, but none of that is because that is Gods desire. It is because sin has entered the world, some receive the answer, which is Jesus, and some others don’t. There is a perishing that continues but none of it is the will of the Lord.

We have to adjust our expectations and understanding of Gods heart to fit with the one man healed at the pool of Bethesda… to fit the fact that Jesus rebuked a storm. If the Father sent the storm, then Jesus is rebuking the will of the Father. Jesus rebuked the storm because there was a presence in the storm that was demonic, and he was confronting it and rebuking it. You cannot have the Father sending a disease and Jesus rebuking the demon behind the disease. You don’t have God the Father and the demonic realm working in tandem to bring an effect so that Jesus can show up and save the day.

God doesn’t create an evil so Jesus can get rid of it.

Everything that exists, that is chaotic, is the result of sin. That’s a simplification, but it’s there. It doesn’t mean that if you are sick then you have sinned, it means we live in a world of chaos and sin… period. To put the blame on God is to misunderstand the purpose entirely.

The Lord has revealed his will, and it comes in dimensions. We know that his heart is on earth as it is in heaven, but we also know that scripture says the soul that sins shall die. What does God want? He doesn’t want anyone to perish, what is happening? People are perishing. What is the in-between realm? It’s entirely up to what you and I do, entirely. To blame the outcome on the will of God is carelessness on our part.

People will say, ‘well if God didn’t cause the earthquake, then why did it happen? Well here’s my question, who did he leave in charge? Who did he give his name to? Who did he give all authority to? Who did he reveal his heart to? Who did he show how to confront obstacles to his will? Command the mountain to be uplifted and put into the sea. The power of decree of connecting with the heart of God is to bring about the purposes of God on the earth.

And so we have last day’s passages and it’s puzzling why people would fill their hearts with the warnings of Jesus. They are to be heeded, but I want to put them into a perspective. Jesus said in the last days there would be earthquakes, famines, wars and rumours of wars. This is not a promise from God, it’s not a promise.
So on one hand you have warning; earthquakes, famines, wars and rumours of wars, pestilence, and then you have the Lord revealing his heart, by saying - arise and shine for your light has come, the glory of the Lord has risen upon the earth, darkness will cover the earth but my light will arise upon my people.
There is a contrasting reality. What is the will of God? It is the light of God upon his people. So on one hand we have the world condition and on the other we have the assignment of the Lord…pray in this way, on earth as it is in heaven.

So what are these warnings? Peter says in the last days people will be mockers of the truth, and there is this list of horrible things that happen in the hearts of people, none of this is the promises of God, the earthquakes, famines, wars. God didn’t promise those, he is describing the conditions of a world he has assigned you to; he is defining your job. Here world changer, this is what I am sending you into. He is not saying... Here army of God, here is what I am sending you into to change, but you won’t be able to change anything, you’ll probably die in an earthquake or famine or something, good luck, hope you make it!

He is defining the conditions in which he has sent world changers into. To create a theology around a crisis is absolutely foolish, it’s the same as creating a theology around somebody who didn’t get healed.

So, in the last days, perilous times will come, that’s true, those are the conditions for the world changing army to be sent into. What I am trying to figure out is why people would feed on earthquakes and famines when he also said in the last days people would fear God because of his goodness? One is the problem, the other is the answer. To major on the problem just creates an anxiety amongst Gods people.

People would say when a disaster happens, oh glory to God; it’s just signs of the last days. Well, let’s get excited about Jesus return, but He isn’t returning for a people who aren’t doing anything. He isn’t returning for a people staring up into the clouds saying glory to God look at all the chaos that is around us, come back Jesus hurry and rescue me. He’s not coming on a rescue mission, the more the Church realises who she is, the less she wants to be rescued. I can assure you, there is a great difference between being rescued and being picked up for your wedding.

So he equips us with tools and insights, with revelations of his heartbeat, he gives us promises of what could happen if we partner with him and prayed. He gives us assignments, speak to the mountain, the obstacle in the way of my will, command it to be uprooted and cast into the sea, this is my heartbeat, that all the earth be saved, I want my glory to fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

There are all these promises from the Lord that are the answers for the things he warns us about. When he says people will be mockers of God, is that His will? When people deny their relationship with God, to be rebellious in the home or to destroy their family life?

Everything God warns us about he gives instruction on how to overcome. If I feed myself on what God hasn’t done, as we have seen in scripture, it creates the environment for the spirit of offense to rise in my heart; the spirit of offense will always take me into unbelief. Unbelief is a partnership with the demonic realm that wars against God. You cannot please God without faith, so guess what unbelief does? Unbelief wars against that heart to please the Lord.

If I feed myself on what God hasn’t done, I create the atmosphere of offense, if I feed myself on what God is doing, or has done, I cultivate and awareness that has nothing but thankfulness and joy in celebration, it creates a context in which I can thrive.

Unless we become painfully aware of the grace and favour we need we will never be able to bring about change in a hostile environment.

The rest of the sermon can be found here

Disasters are not Gods fault; they are a result of sin and corruption, but the bible tells us that creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God Romans 8:19 we are co-workers with Christ who can stand in prayer to pray for Gods will to be done on earth, just as it is in heaven.
God and Natural Disasters Reviewed by Nicky on May 09, 2011 Rating: 5

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