Terrible Times

Day 302

Prayer for the day

Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Scripture for the day

Jeremiah 18-19, 2 Timothy 3

There are a lot of preachers who start to weigh in any time there is a natural disaster. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, tsunamis, and the rest, are often described as a punishment by God for what we have done. They are described as God’s discipline, God’s retribution, and often, God’s anger manifest against wickedness. While this may be true, and I’m not saying that it isn’t true, it certainly is the case that these preachers are offering an interpretation of the events rather than claiming a divine revelation.

The difficulty with this pronouncement is that God rarely says anything about these events that happen these days. And certainly, we don’t hear a lot of warnings prior.

Unlike today, Jeremiah’s people were warned again and again. Sometimes the warnings were specific and sometimes they were general, but all of them point to a time in the history of the people of God when the people of God will suffer significantly for their disobedience. And God is clear that GOD will bring about these sufferings, and He will tell them when He is doing it.

Likewise, when Paul speaks to Timothy about the coming danger, he does not claim that what will happen is from God, but that it will originate from contentious men and women. Paul clearly outlines what these people will do and why these people will do it, in an effort to prevent the kind of wild speculation that can come whenever disasters overtake or whenever evil people triumph.

The differences between the account of Jeremiah and Paul’s letter to Timothy are stark, and intentionally so. One is clear that God is bringing the destruction. The other is clear that men are bringing the evil. We ought to be careful not to confuse the two here and now.

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