(Recommended Reading: 1 Kings 14 thru 22 & 2 Chronicles 14 thru 20)
Sometimes bad things happen to certain cities and/or states and/or even countries. At times when those bad events occur someone will make a statement about how they are being punished by God because of something that they are doing – or maybe not doing. Then undoubtedly there are those who’s reaction will be to become highly offended by those kinds of claims being made. I believe that we should be very cautious of such claims – we cannot afford to appoint ourselves to be judge. But, we also need to be cautious of our reaction to those accusations because they very well might be correct.
There are those that believe God is so loving, that He would never do such a thing as punish such a large group of people – but there are numerous examples in the Bible of exactly that happening. People turned their backs on Him and began to live such evil lives that He then turned from them. When He lifts His protection from those that no longer live according to His ways, bad things can and do happen. The key phrase here to catch is “no longer live according to His ways” – which would indicate that they had at some point been living for Him.
We also have those that believe that God just sits up in heaven, watching and waiting for us to do any kind of wrong – when He sees that happen, He automatically strikes out with vindictive actions directed at us. I personally do not accept that line of thought for a single second.
When you read and study the Bible, you can learn that God loves His creation and His people so much that He wants only the very best for them all. That was the purpose of Moses’ laws – to show them how they should live in order to have the best lives possible. But, obviously those laws were so constraining they were virtually impossible to live out completely. They fully needed the strength of the Lord, in order to live the straight and narrow life. They needed a Savior to help them, and that came in the form of Jesus Christ. Because of Him and His sacrifice, we are no longer under those restrictive and impossible laws. Jesus lifted the load of those laws off our shoulders making it easier to follow the Lord and His ways.
So why then, would anyone make statements that the bad things happening in the world could be connected to God? Could it be God meting out punishment for the evil going on? Have you heard the saying that “history repeats itself”? I believe that saying could very well be the explanation. Consider that the Old Testament is the best history book we have. In it we have the story of how our universe came into existence, how man was created, how the world enlarged beginning with the Garden of Eden. We can read story after story with example after example of how lives lived with God at the center are blessed. But we also have many stories and examples of lives turned from God and their sufferings as a result.
If you will read the chapters in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles that I listed above as recommended reading, you will see so many examples of what happened to God’s chosen people as some of them totally turned from Him and began to live depraved, sinful lives. It was not pretty. You will however also read of the smaller remnant of people that “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” and of how their lives were blessed as a result.
Okay, so when we sit and think about all this good living and bad living, punishment and rewards, etc., I know what you may be thinking – what about when good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people? Those thoughts are both correct – you can see it almost every day. However, we have to always be mindful that the evil one that resides in our world is a sly one. Some may look at the bad people having so much good happen to them and decide they no longer want to try so hard to live a good and holy life – they would rather just be able to live any way they want and be rewarded with the good things they have seen some bad people getting. When that happens, Satan has won a soul.
We also need to be mindful that when bad things happen to good people, that the same evil one has a hand in it. If he can discourage someone to the point their faith in God wavers and they turn their back on Him, Satan again has won another soul.
The Christian walk is not always going to be easy. There is no doubt that some difficult things will come into our lives. But we need to stay strong, keep our faith, believe in the good and never forget how much our God loves us and what our ultimate reward will be.
Personally, I do not want to wander off to the other side and be destroyed by the just rewards I would get there. I want to stay faithful to my heavenly Father and live with the just rewards of a life well lived.
Written by Karran Martin – June 1, 2019