Summary: Sermon the week after the earthquake in Nepal in April 2015. Does God cause all earthquakes or are some just the result of an aging world in a death spiral? How does a Christian respond to 6,000 deaths in one disaster?
When I was in my 20’s I worked with a man in his 50’s. I thought he was old but he was in great health until he fell backwards on ice, hit his head and died instantly. We were shocked at the loss of Bob.
Last Saturday, April 24, 2015, there was a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal.
Here are a few photos of the devastation.
The death toll is over 6,000 and could reach 10,000. Many have not even given it a second thought. Do you realize that 5,950 is the total population of the Village of Arcade and Town of Yorkshire? Just try to imagine something coming through here and in just a few moments 5,500 out of 5,950 residents are dead! Gone! With 450 left to sift through looking for survivors.
Some of the survivors would be shaking their fist at the sky and screaming at God in anger.
Others would be saying, “Thank God, I made it out alive.”
Some might be saying, “If only I could have died in the place of my wife or son or daughter or mom or dad.”
Some would be looting buildings for things that weren’t destroyed.
Some might even say, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”
What about earthquakes? Does God always cause earthquakes?
Did you know that insurance companies think so?
Act of God
n. a natural catastrophe which no one can prevent such as an earthquake, a tidal wave, a volcanic eruption, or a tornado. Acts of God are significant for two reasons: 1) for the havoc and damage they wreak, and 2) because often contracts state that "acts of God" are an excuse for delay or failure to fulfill a commitment or to complete a construction project. Many insurance policies exempt coverage for damage caused by acts of God, which is one time an insurance company gets religion. At times disputes arise as to whether a violent storm or other disaster was an act of God (and therefore exempt from a claim) or a foreseeable natural event. God knows the answer!
But, setting insurance companies aside, what does the Bible say?
Well, God does at times cause earthquakes …
In 1 Kings 19 the Lord is giving a demonstration to Elijah who is running from Jezebel.
“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’
“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
“After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
“Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”
Now if you want to know the rest of the conversation you’re just going to have to dig out your Bibles, find 1 Kings 19 and read it for yourself. BUT NOT NOW!!! ;-)
We see God causing earthquakes at the most significant events in human history; at the crucifixion of Jesus and at the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after His crucifixion.