Nahum 1: 2– “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.” 8v. But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof and darkness shall pursue His enemies. (KJV)
“He is slow in getting angry, but when aroused His power is incredible and He does not easily forgive: he shows His power in the terror of the cyclone and the raging storms, clouds are billowing dust beneath His feet.” (LAB)
The ancient prophets had no telescopes or satellite imagery to guide them, they viewed the acts of nature through the lens of faith. They certainly did not view the acts of nature through the modern scientific world-view. They saw and interpreted events through the lenses of the Hebrew world-view.
High clouds meant God was taking a walk. They would interpret the event of Harvey as God walking from the shoreline of the African continent through the Cape Verde chain of islands down through the Caribbean to the tip of the Southern peninsula of Florida and turned left into the Gulf of Mexico. He decided to go inland near Galveston and paused at Houston. The weather reporters kept emphasizing that the storm hovered over Houston before moving east where major flooding occurred as the death toll exceeded sixty (60) people.
Category five (5) Irma with 185 mph winds is headed toward the Southern tip of Florida with Jose following, as Katia has formed in the Gulf of Mexico. When earthquakes swallow up several hundred persons in Italy and a typhoon kill hundreds in Asia we exhale and ask whether God was responsible for deaths as a result of the acts of nature.
Since evil is the absence of good it could be referred to as natural evil which is present as we live in a fallen world under judgment. Global warming appears to be a reality. A word to the Faith Community: We are not exempted from storms, disasters and even tragedy. We can rely on one irrevocable truth…God promised to be with us in every situation that we encounter. Even in perilous times as believers we are encouraged to be discerning and see the hand of God.
The ancient prophets and seers through the “eyes of faith” could see “victory in tragedy.” The ancient prophets would tell us to relax as God takes a walk. You can be sure that whatever God does is purposeful. As a philosopher I would ask what is this event? As a public theologian I am compelled to ask what does this event mean? We now know that the real storm is within the body politic of this nation. It may very well be that in the chaos of our immediate tragic circumstances we as a people may discover the true meaning of neighbor. The beauty in Houston and the flood ravaged areas people went past color and ethnicity and saw each other as significant others shaped in the image of God. According to the parable of the Samaritan, “whoever needs me is my neighbor.” Pray for the sanity of this nation lest we implode from within. God forbid that we move toward the future as a divided people. “Together we stand…divided we fall.”
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