Pillar One: Basic Discipleship - Weather and the Bible
The following is a transcript of the Audio and Video for Pillar One: Basic Discipleship - Weather and the Bible
This lesson is available for download.
Have you ever thought about the role that weather plays in the Bible? I really had not until I studied for this lesson. It has been amazing how much God uses weather. When we look around us in the world today, we see a lot of bad weather. We see floods, famine, drought, tornados, earthquakes and things happening to our planet. Has it always been like that? Have we always had problems with survival and talk about them? Who causes them? Does God? Does the devil? What is going on with weather and the Bible? I almost sound like the weather man, don’t I?
I did a search on weather and the Bible. I went to biblegateway.com and I typed in tornado, earthquake, flood and famine to see how much the Bible talked about it. You would be amazed. All the way from Genesis to Revelation, weather plays a huge part in the Bible, just like it does today. Does it mean that God only sends good weather and the devil sends all the bad weather? Not according to the Bible. God has his own reasons for allowing bad weather to occur. The devil uses it for his purposes to steal, to kill and destroy. That is all he is about. Are God and the devil equal? No, they are not at all. The devil was an angel at one point in Heaven. He rebelled against God saying, “I’m going to be like God.” God took care of that.
So much of the time in today’s Christianity, especially American Christianity, people want to say, “Well, God is good and kind and loving. He never does anything bad. He doesn’t bring judgment. Nothing wrong is ever from God.” We are going to examine that today. How do you examine things when you have a question? You examine them by the Word of God because God’s Word can never lie. If it says something, it says it. I believe that God uses all things to bring about good, ultimate good in our life. He also does it to teach us to have the fear of the Lord. Very few people today have the fear of the Lord. They mock God. They never know that some day, they are going to be so sorry. It is going to be a day that they cannot get away from the gaze of God in what they said. If Satan is the prince of the power of the air, according to Ephesians 2:1-2, what does that mean? That means that Satan is not in hell. A lot of people think that he is. He is not. He is in the atmosphere, even has access to heaven. It tells about that in the Bible. He came before God and accused Job to God. He had access there. But Satan can only do what God allows him to do. He cannot do one bit more. The Bible says that God even uses evil for his purposes. God uses weather for his purposes, too. The Bible is not silent about it at all. Do you believe that God is fully in control of everything? Yes, He is, but He does not want us to be puppets. He wants us to make the choice of choosing Him above everything else, because out of our heart that is what we want.
Look at this first Scripture in Isaiah 29:5-8. It is talking about the enemies of the people of God. “But it will be your enemies who are beaten to dust. The mob of tyrants will be blown away like chaff because surprise as if out of nowhere, a visit from the God of Angel Armies with thunder claps, earthquakes and ear-splitting noise backed up by hurricanes, tornados and lightening strikes.” There it is right there. It says God is doing it. My grandchildren do not like to hear thunder, really loud thunder. They get scared, do yours? When it is going on, I say that is God going bowling, so they will listen. Somehow it calms them down a little bit. I am not saying they still like it, but it does calm them down.
One of the places in the Bible that God sent an earthquake is described in Matthew 28:2. It says, “There was a violent earthquake.” When did that occur? When Jesus was in the tomb and the stone had to be rolled away. It says, “An Angel of the Lord came down and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it, but a violent earthquake occurred.” You know there are earthquakes going on all over the world. I did some research on it because I had heard that there are more earthquakes now than ever before, but it is not true. What has happened instead is that there is better reporting of it. There are minor earthquakes going on all the time. About once a year there is an 8 point earthquake, and then a few times a year there is a 7 point on the Richter scale. This violent earthquake occurred when Jesus rose from the dead. Can you imagine what happened when He rose from the dead? It shook everything up and caused an earthquake.
Does the Bible talk about weather in the future? Talking about our times, I think that there will be signs in the heavens and in the earth. It says in Luke 21:11, “There will be great earthquakes.” We are seeing that now, famines and pestilence in various places. We are praying so hard right now for the people in Zimbabwe because they are having such a terrible cholera outbreak. I remember helping a man in Kenya drill a well at a small village because his friends were dying from cholera. He was a pastor and said, “Is there any way you could help us?” A bunch of people helped me and we helped him. It says there will be fearful events and great signs from the heavens. How about just regular people that were solving the problems that the Lord sent them to do or they were stepping out for God. Look at Acts 16:26. It is talking about the early disciples, “And suddenly, there was a violent earthquake.” I know you have thought about other things that happened with Paul and Silas being set free, but did you remember that it was an earthquake? I did not. “Suddenly there was a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken and all at once the prison doors flew open and everybody’s chains came loose.” God used an earthquake to help deliver two men, two normal Christian people. You know anything Jesus did, we can do. We can do anything the disciples did. We do not do it ourselves, it is God doing it through us. We just have to have the faith to believe that God will deliver us and use whatever it takes.
It talks in Revelation about the very, very end of time. I personally think we are going to be around for some of it. Revelation 16:18 says, “Then there came flashes of lightening, rumblings, peels of thunder and a severe earthquake.” Listen to this, no earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on the earth so tremendous will this quake be. If you live in America, you know they talk about the “big one” in California is going to come. But, this is the really big one. This is so big, the whole world has never, ever in all of history seen anything like this.
Does God send snow, cold and frost? In Job 37:6, it says, “For He says to the snow, be on the earth.” Beautiful, isn’t it? Snow is so pretty. How about the lightening? Job 37:3 says, “He directs his lightening to the ends of the earth.” In Psalms 78:47-48 it says, “He destroyed their flocks with bolts of lightning.” Psalms 97:4, “His lightning enlightened the world. The whole earth saw and trembled.” Sometimes it takes something really serious for people to get the true fear of God. God is loving, kind and good; but He is a just God. He is the God of the whole earth, the whole Universe. He demands respect. It is a lot like parents. Parents love their children and they want their children to love them. They want to have a great relationship. At the same time, you still have a role as a parent. You still have to be in charge. You still have to make sure everybody shapes up.
Does God send the wind? Where does the wind come from? It says in John that you do not know where it is coming from or where it goes. All we know is that God sends it. Genesis 8:1-2 is about Noah and the flood. It says, “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth and the flood waters began to recede.”
How about God using weather to help a person in the Bible get where they really needed to be, because they would not obey the Lord? It was serious. Jonah. The people of Nineveh needed to get a strong message from God. God picked Jonah; and Jonah did not want to be picked. God said, “I am going to pick you anyway, whether you want it or not.” Jonah 1:4 says, “But the Lord hurled.” Now that was the Lord, notice it says the Lord. When Jonah was in that boat, “The Lord hurled a powerful wind across the sea causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart.” Look at Jonah 4:8, this was after poor Jonah had gone to Ninevah; and he still wished that he was dead. He did what God told him to do, and he still had a bad attitude. This time, the Lord sent the hot sun. Here is God using weather all the time. “As the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and he wished to die. He said, “Death is certainly better than living like this,” he exclaimed. Oh, he was having a terrible pity-party, was he not? So many times God does not pay any attention to our pity parties because He knows what He wants done. He wants us to do it. He needs you to do it.
There is somebody watching this show right now. God has been talking to you about something that is going on in your job. He has been telling you to speak up and say something. You have been thinking, “Nope, I’m not going to do it.” The Lord is going to keep nudging you and sending some circumstances across your path, so you might as well get busy and obey.
God can send and withhold rain. Where I live it may go for a long time without rain. We would have a church service and somebody would stand up and say, “Could we pray as a church for God to send rain? There has not been any rain in months and months and months. The farmers are hurting so much.” We would pray and within a week, sometimes just a few days, here came the rain. You knew it was an answer to prayer. God sent the rain.
Look in your Bible at Leviticus 26:3-4. “If you live by my decrees and you keep my commandments, I will send the rain in their seasons.” You need rain for your crops, you need rain for where you live, then live by God’s decrees and keep His commandments. How are you going to know what they are? You are going to have to read the Bible every day and find out what God says. And God says, “The ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit.” Because of sin, God withholds His blessings.
In 1 Kings 8:35-36 it says, “When the skies shrivel up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you.” See, no rain. God always wants to bless and help. He says, “But then they pray at this place, acknowledging Your rule, quitting their sins. Listen from your home in heaven. Forgive the sin of your servants, your people of Israel. Then start over with them. Train them to live right and well. Send rain on the land. But again, the children of Israel just kept rebelling. They were stiff-necked and did not want to serve God. They wanted to live life the way they wanted to live life. They did not want anybody telling them how to live life. They wanted to do it all exactly the way they wanted to do it. Once again, God held up the weather. In Amos 4:7, “I kept the rain from falling.” It says that. When your crops needed it the most, I kept the rain from falling. I sent rain on one town but withheld it on another. Rain fell on one field while another field withered away. People staggered from town to town looking for water but there was never enough. But still, the people would not return to God. We do not want to live the kind of life that God has to correct us or send correcting events into our life to get us to return to Him. It is a lot easier to stay with Jesus and just say, “Lord, I don’t even care if it’s hard, I’m going to go with You.”
You know, God sent hail. How about that? Exodus 9:18, “He said to Pharaoh in Egypt, “Therefore about this time tomorrow, I will send the worst hail storm that Egypt has ever seen from the day Egypt was founded until now.” Look at this second Scripture, Joshua 10:10, “Joshua traveled all night (this is Joshua fighting in the Lord’s name) and took the Amorite armies by surprise. The Lord threw them into a panic and the Israelites slaughtered great numbers of them at Gibeon. Then they chased the enemy along the road to Bethhoron, kept telling them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. As the Amorites retreated down the road from Bethhoron, the Lord destroyed them with a terrible hail storm from Heaven that continued until they reached Azekah.” The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.”
So much of the time, we think if it is to be, it is up to me. In a way that is not so bad because it makes you get up and get going. But you have to realize that you have enemies. You have enemies and sometimes you think, “I can’t conquer them. I don’t know if I’m strong enough.” And God can even send weather to slow things down, to stop you. Have you ever wondered how many times your life might have been saved because a rain storm came up so fast, you had to drive real slow and maybe it prevented you from being involved in an accident or something down the road.
Look at this third Scripture in Revelation 16:20. This is after a huge earthquake. I want you to be aware that there is so much to learn about what is going to happen in the end times. Some of you are very interested in end times. I am. Look what happened after the huge earthquake. “Every island disappeared and all the mountains were leveled. There was a terrible hailstorm and hailstones weighing 75 pounds fell from the sky onto the people below.” Did they cry out to God for help? Look what it says they did. “They cursed God because of the terrible plague of hailstorm.”
As we go further and further along and as we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus. We see that, do we not? People are cursing God more than they ever have. In fact, cursing God is just a common thing now. Curse words are common. God can send famine. It says that. We do not like to hear that, but it says it. Psalms 105:16-17 says, “He called for a famine on the land of Canaan, cutting off its food supply. Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them, Joseph who was sold as a slave.” So you see, God has His own reasons for doing what He is doing, but He is always watching out for people. He wants to take care of you. He wants you to do what He wants you to do. He even goes ahead of you and prepares your answer before you even get there. He sent Joseph, sold as a slave. Sometimes the worst thing that ever happens to you turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. There was Joseph, ready to help his people, ready to do the plan of God right when it was needed.
How about Satan? Satan can also cause weather disasters for sure, because he is the prince of the power of the air according to Ephesians 2. However, they have to pass divine approval, in Job’s case. Do you remember that? And they are limited to the extent that God allows him. Actually there are more Scriptures of God using weather in the Bible than of Satan using it.
Let us look at this fourth Scripture in Job 1:12 & 19, “God replied, go ahead and do whatever you want with all that is his but just don’t hurt him. Then Satan left the presence of God (remember, I told you Satan is up there, he has access) another messenger arrived and said, ‘bolts of lightening struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them, burned them to a crisp. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened. And then another messenger arrived and said ‘your children were having a party at the home of the oldest brother when a tornado swept in off the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they died. I am the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.” Why would a loving God use weather catastrophes that result in death and devastation? He does it to show people His ways versus their ways. We cannot control the weather. We can try, but we cannot. You cannot make a tornado happen. You cannot make an earthquake happen. Why does He do it? To punish and judge unrighteousness is one thing. Is it only talked about in the Old Testament? No.
Look at 2 Peter 2:5. “God did not spare the ancient world except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s judgment coming and then God protected Noah and his family.” Another reason is to alter the course of action of going away from God. You see, Saul and his family were guilty of murdering the Gibeonites in 2 Samuel 21:1. “And there was a famine and God said, it is because Saul did it. David asked, “Why did this happen?”
Another way God uses weather is to shake up apathy. Luke 15:14-17 is about the prodigal son. He got away, was living his life and having a great time. He spent all that money. Then famine, something beyond his control, hit the land and suddenly, he did not have anything left. It caused him to come to his senses.
A fourth reason God does uses weather is to instill the fear of God. That is what I have been talking to you about. If you look in Matthew 27:54, the Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake that happened then. That is two earthquakes that happened when Jesus died. They were terrified by the earthquake and all that happened. The Bible says, “They said, this man truly was the Son of God.” It instilled the fear of God in them. That is the fear of God, God wants you to have where you realize, “I better shape up and this is the truth. I better recognize what is the truth.”
God also does it for punishment for sin. Think about, it rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. God will alter weather conditions to redirect your plans. That is another reason He does it, like when they went down to get food in Egypt. Think about the one in Ruth. We would never even have that wonderful story of the Book of Ruth if a famine had not occurred and a man went down to Moab, his sons married women there, and Ruth came out of that. She came back and married Boaz, and she is in the genealogy of Jesus. Does it happen today? Sure, look at the great Chicago fire. You know about it. How about the Battle of the Bulge? The allies would not have won if they had not had an arctic high pressure system change everything and change the cloud structure. In Hiroshima, there was another tale, Kakuro, Japan. So, in all of this, God brings about correction, but He loves you.
QUIET TIME QUESTIONS
1. What types of weather conditions were mentioned in the Bible?
2. How does God use these weather conditions in the Bible? List each one and give examples of each in scripture?
3. Does any disaster occur without God’s divine approval? Explain your answer using scripture.
4. Why does God allow disasters caused by weather?
Permissions: Feel free to reproduce and distribute any articles written by Betty Swann, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this information, not protect or restrict it. Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: by Betty Swann, Betty Swann Ministries, P.O. Box 8882, Amarillo, TX 79114-8882,www.bettyswann.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
This lesson is available for download.
Adobe Acrobat Reader is required. You can download it free here.
Also available are iTunes audio and video podcasts for The School of Discipleship.
You will need iTunes to listen to these lessons. You can download it free here.