It has laid waste my vines and ruined my fig trees. It has stripped off their bark and thrown it away, leaving their branches white. Joel 1:7
The invading locusts of sin will show you no mercy. They will destroy your prime crops, your livelihood, your way of life, your protections and security. Left unchecked, the locusts of sin, small but mighty, can eat away at your very soul…if you let them.
The references for today’s verse are from Isaiah and Amos and they talk of how God Himself brings locusts on His unrepentant people. It isn’t my place or yours to say “God directly did this to me” when calamities occur. And they do occur. Death, storms, catastrophic bills, mass layoffs: name the calamity and it’ll happen at some point in your life.
Is it God doing that to you? Honestly, the best any of us can say is “maybe.” God does indeed directly bring hardship and evil on some people. Don’t believe me? Read the book of Exodus, specifically chapters 7 through 12, when God directly brought plagues on Egypt. Read about how God directly touched Jacob, giving him a permanent limp. Read about how Paul pleaded with Christ to take away his thorn, and how Jesus responded. In these and so many more stories, God did directly bring calamity and adversity on people.
Yet in so many more cases, especially in our own world, God ALLOWS calamity to barge into our lives. Wars, turmoil, disease, you name it: if God doesn’t directly cause these things (and we don’t know that He doesn’t), then, at a minimum, He allows them into our world, allows them to affect us, allows us to be left stripped and bare.
What’s common between these? He uses them to bring glory so that we might be disciplined. Keep in mind that not all discipline is negative; the root of the word “discipline” is “disciple.” God may bring or allow evil to affect us in order to refine us, prepare us, help us cast off the sins that are laying waste and ruining our lives. God uses evil and calamity so that His good may come from it, and so that more people will come to know Him. So that we may be His disciples.
Twisted? Egomaniacal? Only if you reject the fact that God is and has this undeniable love that is too good to horde. He knows our sins, and that our sins are sharp and painful. But He loves us more. So, as all good parents do, He sometimes uses or allows an evil circumstance so that we will learn to avoid the sin that shows no mercy. If we let Him.
For more reading: Genesis 32:22-32, Isaiah 5:6, Amos 4:9, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Joel 1:8
Lord, all praise to You for Your mercy, for how You use the sins I’ve done to advance Your good will.
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