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He Causes It to Happen

Last night in Middle Tennessee, we witnessed a tremendous storm and a spectacular show of thunder and lightning. This spectacle brought to my mind Job 37:1-13, which I share with you here:

1"At this also my heart trembles, and leaps from its place.
2"Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that goes out from His mouth.
3"Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, and His lightning to the ends of the earth.
4"After it, a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard.
5"God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend.
6"For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,' and to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.'
7"He seals the hand of every man, that all men may know His work.
8"Then the beast goes into its lair and remains in its den.
9"Out of the south comes the storm, and out of the north the cold.
10"From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen.
11"Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning.
12"It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, that it may do whatever He commands it on the face of the inhabited earth.
13"Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.”

These are the words of Job's friend Elihu, who reminded Job of God's greatness and unchallenged power by describing His work in the weather of the earth. Elihu may not have been inspired of God, and his words are quite poetic, but they are filled with certain truth that no man can rightfully deny. Indeed, the truth of God's amazing power was on full display last night as I witnessed the storm.

This passage speaks in terms of universal experiences that every man and beast knows. All of us have been shaken by an earthmoving blast of thunder. Do we think of this as a roaring voice from God that declares He is "doing great things which we cannot comprehend?” Consider the lightning that He lets loose to the ends of the earth so that it lights up the whole sky. I have read that an average bolt of lightning is over one mile in length and carries more than one billion volts. That is enough electricity to power more than ten million homes for a month. NASA estimates that there are 1.4 billion flashes of lightning per year on earth, which is about 45 flashes per second. Truly, this is awesome power that we cannot comprehend, and yet it is only a tiny manifestation of the unlimited power of God.

Elihu's words declare that all of the power on display in the marvels of weather phenomena is the product of God's irresistible word. He merely speaks to cause the snow to fall and the rains to pour. "From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen.” By God's guidance and commandments, the clouds, thunder, lightning, rain, and snow go where He wills. This natural expression of God's power should remind us of the great power contained in His written word. Indeed, the Scriptures are God-breathed ("inspired” in 2Tim. 3:16), and the gospel of Christ in the Bible is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). Let us remember that the same God whose voice thunders and commands the storm also speaks to us with immeasurable power in pages of the Bible.

Consider also the effects of this power on creation. "He seals the hand of every man, that all men may know His work.” The power of God in the storms of nature stops the hand of man from his work and causes him to think on the mighty work of God. "Then the beast goes into its lair and remains in its den.” This causes me to think of my hound dogs, which tremble in their doghouses and will not come out until the thunderstorm ends. Likewise, every beast of the earth hides itself from the great power of God's thunder and lightning.

Finally, notice the purposes of God that are accomplished in the storms on the earth. It is impossible to know all of the purposes of God beyond what He has chosen to reveal, but some purposes are known and evident. Elihu stated, "Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.” This list is not an exhaustive list of God's purposes for weather events, but rather it is an affirmation that it is indeed God who causes them to happen regardless of the reason. Some would find fault with God if some presumably innocent persons are harmed in a storm, but there is no fault with Him. God is all-knowing, and His purposes are just, so man has no right to question Him. Notice that God can use storms "for correction…or for lovingkindness.” The worldwide flood meant destruction for the world but salvation for Noah. Likewise, God's actions can be ruin for the wicked and victory for the righteous at the same time.

How wonderful is our God, who is "doing great things which we cannot comprehend.” We saw His power here last night, just as we see it from day to day. Do we "listen closely to the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that goes out from His mouth?”

Stacey E. Durham




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