We are now on the 6th part of our PUNISHMENT and SUFFERING Series. We have already gone through Punishment (Part 1),Sin (Part 2), Suffering (Part 3), what should be our Actions towards Suffering (Part 4) and the Will of God (Part 5).
It’s really important to ask some of your Christian Friends about some Biblical truths. That’s why a month ago, I asked my friends to give me some of their insights about Punishment of God and Man’s Sufferings.
I also asked if they could apply it to what is currently happening in our country. Do they consider both?
Now, here are their replies. Some chose to give short comments, but they really do mean so much and some decided to give answers and expand it with Scriptural evidences.
Friend # 1: HANNA PAULA said;
Throughout the Scriptures, storms have been display of God’s wrath and punishment on the wicked.
Jeremiah 23:19 says, “See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly.”
This verse continues on to talk about false prophet that have not come in the name of the Lord but to prophesy falsely.
Jeremiah 25:32 says, This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth. At that time those slain by the Lord will be everywhere –from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground
Based on these verses, and a lot of verses more in the Bible that talk about storms, one can simply say that God is punishing the Philippines for its wickedness. But I cannot entirely agree with that. Who are we to say that those ravaged by the storm are more wicked than we are? That they were punished because of their wickedness? By all means, NO! No one is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:23). It is only God who can pass judgment.
Romans 2:1-4 says “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
We as Christians in this country should not regard ourselves higher than any of our countrymen who are not yet believers in Christ. Yes, we are saved but that does not give us an excuse to pass judgment on anyone. If we should be pointing fingers, we should be ponting it on ourselves. We as Christians should be the ones standing in the gap for our nation. Even if this disaster was a punishment for wickedness (no one knows), we must see it as a wake-up call for all of us Christians.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 the Lord said when He appeared to Solomon,
…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
In Ezekiel 22:30 the Lord says, I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.
Terrifying as it is, this must be God’s way of reminding us our responsibilities for our land. We are the ones who are called to pray for our land and seek the Lord’s face. We have to wake up from our slumber and cry out to the Lord for our nation. God’s wrath excuses no wickedness, but if we stand in the gap and fervently pray for our Land, God’s mercy and kindness will surely abound.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
Friend # 2: HANNAH A. said;
God is Sovereign. He does what He wants, and what He does is always right. God meant everything for good. Maybe we will not understand it right away, but God will ultimately give the answer along the way. 🙂
Friend # 3: FIEVY said;
God is Righteous, Just and Holy that’s why He must punish the guilty, the sinners, ALL of us.
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” –Exodus 34:6-7
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God –Romans 3:23.
Man suffers because of his own sin and iniquities. Because of Not knowing the Truth and for having Not turn to God and Repent, people will never understand why these sufferings are occurring in our lives.
All of are subject to the Wrath of God. And these sufferings we are experiencing are just nothing yet but a foretaste. So soon, He will judge everyone and those who has not turn to Him will be eternally punished in hell. Man’s suffering is natural because we live in a fallen wicked corrupted world subject to God’s wrath. World is not home. It won’t last forever for it will soon be burned.
What is happening in the world are all revealed in the written Word of God. What we need is peace in our hearts despite of all the sufferings we experience. Peace comes from the Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Way to everlasting life. God allowed these sufferings like calamities, to happen in our lives to remind us that we are just dust and God is God, and understand that Life is all about God. Because many doesn’t even care about God and instead follow the false happiness the world offers.
People are so ignorant to the perfect and true image of God — His plan and His will revealed in His Holy Word. People are so ignorant with the real situation why these things are present. People are deceived and blinded. People need the LORD Jesus Christ! JESUS is the Love of God for us. If people will only understand how Great the Love of God for us through His Son Jesus Christ, they will not grieve like there is no hope in the life to come.
Friend # 4: WILLIAM said;
I see it as God’s judgment to the ungodly and discipline or test of faith to His people. It should call us all to repentance.
Friend # 5: HANNAH said;
Psalm 135:6 “The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.”
Calamities are fashioned by GOD. Somehow, in our own view, may it be punishment but we must not forget that GOD is GOD and He does whatever He pleases. We are created for His glory, and even everything created above this earth, on this earth and under this earth are for His glory alone.
But still I want to address the two ‘parallel’ truths in the Bible: GOD’s Sovereignty and Man’s responsibility. Two things that will never meet. Though God is Sovereign but still we have been given the freewill to choose things. But this freewill are not to be used as a cover-up for evil (1 Peter 2:16). And since in today’s era the responsibility of man has been poorly handled, people suffer. Many people would ask “Is God sleeping?” “Where is God?” “Does He still care for us?” it’s as if GOD owes us something. To some who do not understand they would say “How can these things bring glory to God when in fact a lot of people are dying and continuously suffering?” But to us who believe, we understand that From Him and through Him and To Him are ALL THINGS. To Him be the glory forever! Amen (Romans 11:36) .
I’m not saying that I’m happy with what happened to Visayas. The truth is, my heart is really grieving, crying in agony whenever I watch news. But as you can see the Lord has His own way of bringing warning.
In the Book of Jeremiah says in verses 1-13 of chapter 10: Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” No one is like You, Lord; You are great, and Your name is mighty in power. Who should not fear You, King of the nations? This is Your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, THERE IS NO ONE LIKE YOU They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols. Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple— all made by skilled workers. But the LORD IS THE TRUE GOD; HE IS THE LIVING GOD, THE ETERNAL KING. WHEN HE IS ANGRY, THE EARTH TREMBLES; THE NATIONS CANNOT ENDURE HIS WRATH. “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’” But GOD made the earth by His power; He founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. WHEN HE THUNDERS, THE WATERS IN THE HEAVENS ROAR; HE MAKES CLOUDS RISE FROM THE ENDS OF THE EARTH. HE SENDS LIGHTNING WITH THE RAIN AND BRINGS OUT THE WIND FROM HIS STOREHOUSES.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” declares the Lord.
The message is not for the unbelievers but it is for those people who claimed to be Christian and yet lived a double-standard life. GOD is GOD and He demands Holiness for He is HOLY. Christians who are wise, Christians who are strong and Christians who are rich in their own thinking must stop boasting and let your life be the evidence of a true saving faith. What happened to Visayas is just a warning. What should be asked now is what’s next?
Psalm 32:6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; SURELY WHEN THE MIGHTY WATERS RISE, THEY WILL NOT REACH HIM.
My friends clearly said what we all need to know. God’s punishment is real and I’ve already talked about this even from the beginning of this series. But let’s not forget that we have a responsibility. We, Christians, know the truth. Thus, we should be the ones who’ll stand and ask for God’s mercy.
Thank you for reading this series, and may this clarify the issues on both truths; “God’s Punishment and Man’s Suffering.”
May God bless you and keep you. 🙂