He spoke to the the prophets (Jeremiah 36:2). In this way He sent the Law and then later He sent the Spirit to inspire the words of the bible, written down by the chosen apostles and disciples. (1 Corinthians 2:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). He sent angels with messages (Acts 8:26; Luke 2:9). He speaks to us through discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11) and trials (1 Peter 1:6-7). Sometimes He even uses a donkey (Numbers 2:28).
He uses symbols. "And God said to Noah: I will make a covenant with you. Never again will all men die because of a flood. This is my token to remind you of my promise. I will set a rainbow in the sky." (Genesis 9:11-17). Bread is a symbol of Jesus' life sustaining eternal truth. "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life..." (John 6:35)
If you think about the myriad ways God speaks to us, it is amazing. There is another way He speaks, and like all the other ways, He uses vocabulary. For example, if you hadn't read the bible you would not know that God is speaking to us when He sends a rainbow. This next language He uses to speak to us is through 'natural' events. Earthquake, fire, hail, thunder, drought...are all ways God sends His people His word and expresses His will.
God is the creator of the earth and all the universe. (Psalm 24:1). He can and does use anything in it to get His point across. In Revelation we see 100 pound hailstones, a sun that turns up the heat, earthquakes, and at one point, no rain for three and a half years. (Revelation 11:6).
Remember that everything that happens on the earth, God either indirectly allows to happen, or directly causes to happen. Allows, or causes. That's it. When people mock the notion that a particular natural disaster event was due to God, they are wrong. We don't always know the reason behind the event's occurrence but because God is sovereign, He either caused it or allowed it. Here is God causing an event:
"Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you." (Deuteronomy 11:1)
Here is God allowing an event. Satan had come to God and asked to harass Job. God said OK, but do not kill him. The great wind that came and killed Job's sons and daughters is one of the events that God allowed to happen:
"While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” (Job 1:18-19).
Let's focus on drought as one of God's vocabulary words. Drought is not a sudden cataclysmic event like an earthquake. It takes a long time to happen and its build-up is more creeping than instant. That is what makes it even more amazing. Only God who knows the end from the beginning, knows how to start a drought years prior and allow its progression to increase to the point of pain just at the moment the people need to be pricked. That is the heavenly dynamic. This article from NASA explains the earthly dynamic,
"While much of the weather that we experience is brief and short-lived, drought is a more gradual phenomenon, slowly taking hold of an area and tightening its grip with time. In severe cases, drought can last for many years, and can have devastating effects on agriculture and water supplies. ... In general, drought is defined as an extended period–a season, a year, or several years–of deficient rainfall relative to the statistical multi-year average for a region."
Australia is susceptible to droughts-- "Why are droughts dangerous? When there is a drought, there is less water available for growing crops, farming animals, industry and our cities. Droughts also impact the environment by causing erosion, harm animals by destroying their homes and cause people to pay more for food and affect our water supplies. Droughts are hard to predict and also hard to live with." (Source)
Places in Africa are in a terrible drought. "Two of Africa's impoverished drylands - the Horn of Africa in the East and the Sahel in the West - have experienced devastating droughts and famines in the past two years: the rains never came, causing many thousands to perish, while millions face life-threatening hunger."
The United States of America is in a terrible drought right now.
Corn prices hit record as crops shrivel
"Corn prices surged to a new record high Tuesday, as the worst drought in more than 50 years continues to plague more than half the country. Almost 90% of the United States' corn crops are in drought ravaged areas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and nearly 40% are situated in the hardest hit spots. Corn prices have soared more than 50% during the past six weeks as the crops continue to shrivel in relentless dry heat throughout the Midwest."
"We’re expecting another year of tough food prices, bad news for consumers,” said USDA food economist Richard Volpe. “The difference between normal and higher than normal in this case is one hundred percent attributable to the drought,” Volpe said. The food price index data is released by USDA each month; it is a set of numbers that indicates how much an average shopper is likely to pay at the supermarket. ... More than 60 percent of America’s farms are located in areas experiencing drought. Two thirds of all crops and two thirds of livestock are produced in areas experiencing at least moderate drought."
|The dry section of the Morse Reservoir, one of three reservoirs which supply water to nearby Indianapolis, in Cicero, Indiana,on July 12, 2012. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg|
This next verse is a direct example of how He uses the language of drought to squeeze His people and warn them they need to repent-
"When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place." (2 Chronicles 7:13)
God is telling us a few things here. First, He controls the heavens and allows or disallows rain. Second, when God shuts up heaven and prevents rain it is because they have turned their faces away from Him. Third, He makes a promise, if they repent and turn their faces toward Him, He will re-open heaven. What a blessing! God is holy- He hates sin. God is kind, He warns His people.
In this next biblical example, God is telling us that His decision to send drought or rain is extremely precise. He is very much in control.
“I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither;" (Amos 4:7).
|Annie Vallotton Amos 4:7 illustration Good News Bible |
"Still you did not come back to Me"
Most of America, and part of Africa and Australia are without water. At the same this time China and Japan and North Korea have endured torrential rains in just these last weeks.
Yesterday- Torrential rains hit China's arid northwest
"The heaviest downpours in six decades have hit Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, since Sunday, authorities said.Precipitation from 8 a.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Monday in the city proper exceeded 100 mm, or half of the average annual precipitation in the city, according to the city's flood control and drought relief headquarters."
|Credit AP, from Salon.com|