Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Katrina - The Question Is - Why?

Part one: Katrina - Nothing "Pure" About Her

As the nation watched helplessly the near complete destruction of the southern gulf coast, from New Orleans to Gulf Port, from Biloxi to Mobile and everything in between, the images of misery, suffering, death and destruction caused by hurricane Katrina began to flood our television screens. With tens of thousands of people in dire need of immediate help, the response to rescue them came late, and many hundreds, if not thousands, became victims of the second disaster to hit that area; the failure of local, state and federal government to respond quickly.

The resulting inaction has permeated our collective conscience with the images of misery and the horrible circumstances that tens of thousands of survivors found themselves in. Our minds are again seared with the images of calamity and desolation. It was only four years earlier that American's found themselves in a similar situation with 9-11. As of today, the political blame game is now focused on race, class, rebuilding, restructuring and reorganizing. The politics of hurricane Katrina is now in full swing. The question most people ask and desperately want answered is this; why – why did this happen? I pose the question - have we learned anything?

Two Pictures - Two Points of View

Those who reject God ask 'why' because they want accountability; "heads are going to roll" ...or.. "changes must be made". They are the ones who believe that mankind can and will, control his own destiny. These people believe that God is nothing more than a mere fantasy for the weak and feeble minded. Those who believe in God ask 'why' because they want to know what God is doing in this world, because they trust Him and follow His instruction.

The business of humanism is to glorify mankind, by giving out the doctrines of men. The business of the church is to glorify God, by giving out the word of God.

These two opposing ideologies are in fact, the same, yet they move in opposite directions, and the resulting conflict brings the age old question: is God really in control? ....or... is man in control? Are we alone in this world or is there a God that is in charge of things? This question is the oldest of all questions. These two opposing ideologies easily reveal life's most perplexing questions, as theologians, philosophers, politicians, the poor and uneducated, have all asked these very same questions since the beginning of time; who am I, why am I here, what is the meaning of life, what does the future hold, what happens when I die.

Picture one:
In New Orleans, we found that mankind descended lower than the animals; demonstrating that man is violent, cruel and brutal. This fact is an evidenced reality and is seared into the conscience memory of not only our great nation, but the entire world as our witness. The world witnessed the animal behavior of mankind unfold in front of them. This should be enough to prove to anyone who doubts that God's word stands true in this 21st century. Unfortunately, many remain deaf, dumb and blind to truth; "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer:17:9).

Picture two:
People from all over the world, and from all walks of life, became their brothers keeper, as compassion and the willingness to help and serve came rushing in like a torrent. Ironically though, it takes a destructive event such as Katrina to move people into action. "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd" (Matt:9:36).

Result:
Proving that, the two divisions of mankind is an evident and undeniable reality. To doubt this truth makes you deaf, dumb and blind. "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber (Isa:56:10).

Step One: Understand the times in which you live.
Matthew 16:1-4: O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah.
.....ENTER THE PROPHET HABAKKUK.....
”The doubting Thomas of the Old Testament”

I wonder... how many of you have even read the little book of Habakkuk? If you have not, you would do well to open it up and take a look, for Habakkuk was the prophet who asked “why”. When God answered him, the answer was worse than the question asked. This is Habakkuk's first question:
Habakkuk 1:3-4 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
Dr. J Vernon McGee states:
The message of Habakkuk is why? His book opens in gloom but it closes in glory. It begins with an interrogation mark and closes with an exclamation point. Habakkuk is a big WHY? Why God permits evil is a question that every thoughtful mind has faced, and this book is the answer to the question: Will God straighten out the injustice of the world? This book answers the question: Is God doing anything about the wrongs of the world? This book says that He is. The book is the personal experience of the prophet told in poetry, as Jonah’s was told in prose. The theme of this book is Faith. Habakkuk has been called “the prophet of faith.” The great statement of Habakkuk 2:4, “The just shall live by faith,” has been quoted three times in the New Testament: Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38.
Habakkuk's First Question: Why Does God Permit Evil?

The Problem:
Why does God permit iniquity, injustice, strife, contention, and violence? Why is He doing nothing about it? This is a capital WHY question. God’s law is ignored and spurned, there is no justice, the wicked are in control and the righteous are in trouble. Why does suffering happen to me personally? Why Lord, why?? We can be sure that of all the victims of hurricane Katrina, we know that many are believers in Jesus Christ, that they are true born again Christians, suffering the same as unbelievers. Their lives lay in ruin as well, only to have to start all over again.

The natural response is - why Lord, why would you allow such a thing to happen to those who love you and have chosen you? It is the natural response from all who believe in God and His promises, yet only to find that one day, disaster, calamity, destruction and desolation has arrived. Some find their bodies riddled with cancer. For others, the loss of a precious little child, a spouse or a sibling. Still others suffer debilitating illnesses, the loss of finances, persecution, ridicule, and so much more. Have you ever found yourself in such a position? Habakkuk did. His plea to God is simple - he feels that God is refusing to answer his prayer.

Habakkuk 1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!

Have you ever asked yourself this very same question? This is probably the most perplexing question any true believer can consider, and many, like Habakkuk, feel that God is doing nothing, that He is not listening to their plea's, that He is not moving to solve any of the problems. David posed the same question:
Psalms 73:1-3 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
David also questioned; why doesn't God do something? The collapse of the law, wickedness and idolatry abounds everywhere. It appeared to David that those who reject God, are prospering, while those who have chosen God, are despised. The mighty king David, a man chosen and ordained by God, came close to losing his faith because of all that he saw happening around him. David is not the only man of God to be in such a position. The prophet Jeremiah felt as if God had tricked him, and that God had caused his persecution and rejection:
Jeremiah 20:7-9: O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name.
The question is raised: How many of you have also come close to losing your faith, as David or Jeremiah did? You see that the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer and God is doing nothing about it. Truly, this is the most perplexing problem of every believer throughout all the ages.

God Answers Habakkuk

God answered Habakkuk and told him that He was going to judge Judah because of their gross immorality. They rejected the Mosaic law, they were a violent, cruel and brutal people. They were drunkards, sexually perverted, idolatrous, they were hedonistic and their attitude became "take it easy". God was now going to send the Babylonians into their land and utterly destroy it. They would take captive the Jews as slaves, and all who were found to be of no value would be put to death. Habakkuk is stunned. This is his second question to God:
Habakkuk 1:12 thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.
God's answer leads to this second question of Habakkuk - “Why would God allow His people be judged by an even more wicked nation than Israel”? Habakkuk is now more perplexed and heartbroken by God's response. His first question is overtaken with the answer God gave him and is more grievous than the first. Habakkuk, like many believers throughout the ages, have found that what they wanted God to do, is nothing in line with what they desired or had hoped would happen.

Habakkuk's problem is the same with that of many today. He states: “We are the good people, they are the bad people”. Why would you judge us with such a wicked people, more wicked than us? This is not fair Lord, this is wrong. They are more wicked than we.
Habakkuk 1:5-7 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldean's, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
God states to Habakkuk that He is in fact doing something. He is working on the problem, and that Habakkuk would not believe it, for it would be contrary to what he wanted done. God is preparing the Chaldean's (Babylonians) to come and take Judah captive. In the New Testament, we find the apostle Paul quoting Habakkuk:
Acts 13:37-41: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despiser's, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
Step Two: Understand that the enemy attempts to destroy the confidence and Word of God.

Would A God of Love Permit Evil, Suffering And Pain?

The enemy destroys the confidence of God. Take the example of the serpent deceiving Eve:
Genesis 3:1-5 And the serpent said unto the woman, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
This is the deception that the enemy gives to deceive those who lack knowledge, as deception started all the way back in the beginning. Consider the fact that Satan is well pleased that people are taught that evolution is truth, and now because several generations are taught such lies, they now believe it as true and know no better. How could this possibly have anything to do with hurricane Katrina you may ask? Friend, consider the fact that violence, cruelty and brutality quickly took place after desperation became a realizion, as we witnessed with our own eyes the immoral behavior of man, descending lower than an animal. For if man originated out of a pond of mucky green scum, as the evolutionists teach in our public schools, then man is nothing more than an animal, and therefore, why would you be surprised or even care for that matter? Its a dog-eat-dog world and only the strong will survive. This is true for the animal kingdom, and therefore, according to the evolutionists, it must be true for man.

Step Three: Understand that spiritual deception is a reality.

The Results of Deception:
The average person does not believe that God will judge sin – because God is doing nothing about it. Translation is formed in two pictures: 1) there is no God - God is dead. 2) that a God of love cannot and would not judge mankind, because there is no such thing as sin, only love. However, human nature has not changed since man first walked this earth. Death, destruction, war, brutality and cruelty have always been around, it is mankinds inherent nature. The fact is, mankind is not evolving - he is devolving.

Sin has always been around, and every generation before us was just as sinful. The difference today though is this; what once was done in secret, is now done in open. Does this now make sin acceptable? Result: The average person does not believe that God will judge sin, because a God of love cannot, and this is why we see nothing being done about it, God is neutral. This was Habakkuk's problem. The truth is however, that God is active in the affairs of men and of the nations. God is in full control of this earth, for all the earth and everything in it, belongs to him (Psalms:24:1).
Ecclesiastes 8:11-14: Because the sentence against a criminal act is not carried out quickly, therefore the heart of people is filled [with the desire] to commit crime. Although a sinner commits crime a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I also know that it will go well with God-fearing people, for they are reverent before Him. However, it will not go well with the wicked, and they will not lengthen their days like a shadow, for they are not reverent before God. There is a futility that is done on the earth: there are righteous people who get what the actions of the wicked deserve, and there are wicked people who get what the actions of the righteous deserve. I say that this too is futile. (The Holman Christian Standard Bible)
A Review

Step One: Understand the times in which we live.
Where is the watchman of God today? There are no prophets in this age to explain God's message to us, so how can we know what God is telling us? Answer: We have the word of God, where all has already been revealed. The apostle Peter declared that we have an [even better] witness of God's truth, better than even his own personal witness:
2Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Step Two: Understand that the enemy attempts to destroy the confidence and word of God.
2Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Step Three: Understand that spiritual deception is a reality.
Luke 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
With this foundation, part three will take a closer look at the day in which we live and reveal the similarities with that of Habakkuk and his day. Indeed, if we listen closely, we can hear the prophets of God pleading with us. Their call is simple: Repent, and turn to the Lord, for He is longsuffering and merciful, that none should perish. Their call to the nation is simple: come now, all you of the nation, and cry unto God and seek his forgiveness and tender mercy.

America stands in the same position today. Where is the call for this nation to turn away from its gross immorality and repent of her sin?

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1 Comments:

Blogger richmond said...

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Incunabula

1:29 PM  

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