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Thursday: Extreme Heat — 5 Comments

  1. Australia has extreme weather. This year alone we have had three weather events that have caused damaging floods along the east coast. Only a few weeks ago I had to drive 1000km from Queensland to NSW through one of these events. It was like driving up a fire hose. Thousands of homes were flooded, some of them three times. However, we pm;y have to wind the clock back about 3 years when we were in the middle of a drought. Large towns were down to the last few drops of water in their supply. Then the soaring temperatures caused bushfires that burned a significant amount of your remaining bushland. It has decimated the population of Koalas on the east coast.

    Interestingly we can explain Australia's weather. We now know that there is the Southern Oscillation Index, and the Indian Ocean Dipole. In layman's terms, the water in the Pacific and Indian Oceans sloshes about and sometimes bring warm surface temperatures near to Australia causing hurricanes and flooding. Then when the cool surface temperatures arrive we have searing temperatures and droughts.

    The explanations are helpful, but it does not give us any control over the weather. We can explain why we are getting our extreme weather but we cannot stop it. When flooding or drought happens, we have to weather it and get out and help those who have been affected most by it.

    In some respects, the sin problem is a bit like our weather. We can wrestle with our explanations, but sin is still here causing damage. And the call of the Gospel is to provide hope by helping those who have been damaged by sin.

    One of the enduring images of the recent floods in Australia is we have seen people helping one another through the crisis. People took flood victims into their homes, supplied food, using their tractors and boats to help those affected. It has brought out the very best in people willing to lend a helping hand.

    In the flood of sin, what is more important? An erudite explanation, or the opportunity to bear one another's burdens.

    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matt 5:11 KJV

  2. Similar to Psalm 23 where it contrasts God leading us beside still waters versus accompanying us when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, today's passage in Isaiah 43:1-7 also distinguishes between when God is causing things to happen compared with when He is with us through things that He has allowed/permitted, but not directly caused.

    In light of this I would propose an alternative rendering of the conclusion of today's lesson:

    When God does not prevent us from experiencing extreme heat, is not to destroy us or make us miserable for the sake of making us miserable. Rather, it is to refine us so that we may be made pure, as we were created to be. In some situations this may involve redevelopment of a tendency to some sin (eg Malachi 3:1-3). In other situations this may involve growing our capacity for patience and perseverance (eg 1 Peter 4:12-13). God’s abundant compassion and care for us through all things, even including the extreme heat crucibles that are inevitable in this world for now (John 16:33), is constant and tender. He will never leave us alone, no matter what happens to us. He has staked His eternal reputation upon the truth of this promise!

  3. It is interesting to note that natural disasters that result without human intervention such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and so on are considered by insurance companies as „Act of God“ (- Clause). This term differs in other languages, e,g. In French it‘s Force Majeure and in German it‘s called Höhere Gewalt.
    As though God is responsible for not having prevented the disasters.
    Do we also blame God in our Christian walk when we face catastrophes? Can we rely on Him for full coverage of the damage accepting some exclusions, or do we believe the promises He made as our lesson quotes in Isaiah 43:1-7 ?

    In a sense, to protect ourselves or our homes from disasters or the uncontrollable, taking precautionary measures is always wise in the first place. Beyond that we can apply Psalm 50:15

    „And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.“

  4. And what about the "fiery furnace" in Babylon, and the fourth person there with the three Hebrews that also did not burn up at all and not even their clothes but only the rope on their hands that were binding them to perish in those flames?

  5. The experience of the three friends of Daniel in the fiery furnace and Jesus with them to keep those flames from hurting them at all gives me hope for the crucible of the "Seven Last Plagues," that God is bringing to the wicked world before Jesus comes to take us home with Him and how those plagues will not even touch God's people at all---those "Seven huge flames of crucible torcher" will have no negative effect on us as we eagerly await our Lord's return in the midst of them.


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