By Spencer D Gear PhD
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie
Category 4 severe tropical cyclone (Aus scale)
Category 4 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
(Debbie shortly after peak intensity approaching Queensland, Australia on 28 March 2017, image courtesy Wikipedia)
Could there be a link between a nation’s disasters and its spiritual condition before the Lord God Almighty?
Here are a few examples from Scripture that demonstrate the pattern:
1. Amos 4:6-9, 12 (NLT)
“I [the Sovereign Lord] brought hunger to every city
and famine to every town.
But still you would not return to me,”
says the LORD.
7 “I kept the rain from falling
when your crops needed it the most.
I sent rain on one town
but withheld it from another.
Rain fell on one field,
while another field withered away.
8 People staggered from town to town looking for water,
but there was never enough.
But still you would not return to me,”
says the Lord.
9 “I struck your farms and vineyards with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured all your fig and olive trees.
But still you would not return to me,”
says the Lord….
12 “Therefore, I will bring upon you all the disasters I have announced.
Prepare to meet your God in judgment, you people of Israel!”
That was an instance from another nation of the core of the problem – the link between a nation’s spiritual condition and God’s sending drought. There IS A SOLUTION. Repent of our sins against God, Australia, and return to Him in confession and repentance.
The prophet Joel provided another case in point:
2. Joel 2:11-13
There is ‘a time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance’ (Eccl 3:4). I hope you have been doing lots of crying and grieving over the state of Australia and for God to open the heavens and send rain. Please grieve with the farming families in drought.
But here is another statement about the core problem …
… The day of the LORD is an awesome, terrible thing.
Who can possibly survive?
12 That is why the LORD says,
“Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish.
Originally, this was a warning to Israel, but the same principle applies to Australia. The day of the Lord’s punishment is terrible. Droughts, cyclones, bush fires, earthquakes (remember Newcastle NSW, 28 December1989 and the earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale) and tsunamis are devastating in their impacts.
Through Joel the prophet, the message to Israel and by inference to Australia to stop this drought is that no human being can break it by causing the rain to fall. Only the Lord God Almighty can do that. He shouts to all Aussies:
|‘TURN TO ME NOW WHILE THERE IS TIME. GIVE ME YOUR HEARTS. COME WITH FASTING, WEEPING, AND MOURNING.… RETURN TO THE LORD YOUR GOD FOR HE IS MERCIFUL AND COMPASSIONATE’.|
3. We have the same kind of message from Jesus
Every catastrophe is the Holy God’s merciful call to people to repent of their sinful ways. The Gospel of Luke records:
About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God (Luke 13:1-3 NLT).
In verses 4-5 of Luke 13 we read: ‘And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that UNLESS YOU REPENT, YOU WILL PERISH TOO’.
4. Does this sound like Australia in the twenty-first century?
The Scriptures are adamant:
You should know … that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.
3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT).
There is a direct connection between Australia’s moral and spiritual condition and disasters – the drought, floods, fires and other catastrophes. I do NOT equate one disaster with one type of moral disaster from God. That’s God’s business to do the connecting. I know clearly from Scripture that there is an association between the nation’s spiritual conditions and disasters that come (see the above examples.
5. More disasters
(a) The Townsville floods 2019
A general view of the flooded Townsville suburb of Idalia. Photograph: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
GOOD CAUSE: Sunshine Coast residents have donated to Townsville flood victims in the throes of cleaning up. AAP/DAN PELED
(1) How much rain was received?
According to Higgins’ Storm Chasing, ‘Townsville has broken its 6 day, 7 day, 8 day, 9 day, 10 day, 11 day and 12 day accumulative records from this event. A final 12 day total of 1391.4mm has been observed [in February 2019]’.
The Bureau of Meteorology made this statement about the Townsville flood on 15 February 2019 (reported by ABC News, Brisbane, Qld):
It is difficult to oversell the amount of rain that has fallen in north Queensland. Places like Paluma, Woolshed, and Upper Bluewater got over two metres of rain in 12 days.
(2) Estimated cost of Townsville flood damage.
Qld Premier, Ms Annastasia Palaszczuk, said … ‘the state budget is estimated to take a hit of at least $1.5 billion after catastrophic bushfires and floods ravaged Queensland over the last three months’.
(b) North-West Queensland: From drought to flooding and cattle disaster
Rachael Anderson of Eddington station says she has lost about 2,000 cattle, roughly half the herd. Photograph: Rachael Anderson
Grazier David Batt and volunteer Ash Travers line up carcasses for a mass burial. Supplied: Max Batt.
(1) According to ABC News, Brisbane, Qld, ‘An estimate is that the floods have ‘killed as many as 500,000 animals across Queensland’s north and central-west’.
(c) Fires in Victoria
In February 2019, Victorian fire authorities were bracing for hot and windy weather on Sunday [10 Feb] as they continue to fight fires which are threatening lives and properties in parts of the state.
ABC News, Brisbane, Qld provided this Victorian fire photo on 1 and 2 February 2019:
Photo: The bushfire was burning in a westerly direction towards Moe-Walhalla Road. Photo supplied: Jimmy Lia, 1 February 2019
6. I must give two warnings.
6.1 First warning
Don’t bother coming to the Trinitarian, Lord God Almighty in prayer if you don’t believe He exists. If you are an atheist, agnostic, humanist, sceptic, or secular person, you are wasting your time seeking help from the God in whom you do not believe.
How do I know? Scripture says: ‘It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him’ (Hebrews 11:6).
If you don’t believe in the existence of God, it would be like going to McDonald’s to buy a hammer and shovel. Don’t waste your time in praying to the God you don’t believe in.
If you are struggling with knowing if God exists, see these articles online:
Evidence for the existence of God
God reveals Himself in nature to everyone
6.2 Second warning
Forget about praying for rain if you want what God does not want for you. Scripture places this boundary around our praying: ‘Here is what we can be sure of when we come to God in prayer. If we ask anything in keeping with what he wants, he hears us. If we know that God hears what we ask for, we know that we have it (1 John 5:14-15).
If it is God’s will to send rain to the outback NOW, He will send it when we pray. He may have a greater lesson to teach us. Have Australian people repented of the sins of the nation and changed its immoral laws to agree with God’s laws? Have individuals repented and sought God’s forgiveness.
If God doesn’t send rain, what could be other blockages in Australia that are causing God to say, ‘No, not yet’?
If God sends a deluge of rain that we rightly label as disaster, God’s ways are the same. He will not tolerate Australia’s wicked ways. What I’m saying applies across this sinful world and to all countries. I’m focussing on Australia because we live here.
Note: This is a 5-part series of which this is the 4th part. It is connected to the next article: The path Australia treads to ruin
 See Emily Verdouw 2013. On this day: Newcastle earthquake strikes. Australian Geographic (online), 7 November. Available at: https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/blogs/on-this-day/2013/11/on-this-day-newcastle-earthquake-strikes/ (Accessed 7 January 2019).
 The Guardian Australia 2019. Flood waters inundate Townsville homes as army called in – in pictures (online), 5 February. Photograph: Andrew Rankin/AAP. .Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2019/feb/05/floodwaters-inundate-townsville-homes-as-army-called-in-in-pictures (Accessed 23 February 2019).
 Chloe Lyons 2019. Donations pile up for Townsville flood appeal. Sunshine Coast Daily (online), 11 February. Available at: https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/donations-pile-up-for-townsville-flood-appeal/3644239/ (Accessed 23 February 2019).
 Higgins Storm Chasing 2019. Ridiculous Rainfall Accumulations Up To Day 12 Of The Townsville Floods (online). Available at: https://higginsstormchasing.com/ridiculous-rainfall-accumulations-up-to-day-12-of-the-townsville-floods/ (Accessed 23 February 2019).
 ABC Weather by Kate Doyle 2019. North Queensland rains trigger BOM special climate statement (online), 15 February 2019. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-15/queensland-floods-special-climate-statement/10816184 (Accessed 23 February 2019).
 Talissa Siganto and staff 2019. ABC News, Brisbane, Qld. ‘Summer of disasters’ reveals the cost of climate change for Queensland taxpayers (online), 19 February. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-19/climate-change-and-the-cost-of-qlds-summer-of-disasters/10826122 (Accessed 23 February 2019).
 Eddington station is located 20km west of Julia Creek in outback NW Qld, Australia. See: https://www.jimpolamarketing.com.au/blog/eddington-station-20km-west-of-julia-creek (Accessed 23 February 2019).
 Ben Smee 2019. Up to 500,000 drought-stressed cattle killed in Queensland floods. The Guardian Australia(online), 11 February. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/11/up-to-500000-drought-stressed-cattle-killed-in-queensland-floods (Accessed 23 February 2019).
 ABC News, Brisbane, Qld 2019. Burying cattle killed in the Queensland floods (online), 21 February. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-21/burying-cattle-killed-in-the-queensland-floods/10834282 (Accessed 23 February 2019).
 Steven Schubert and Ben Deacon 2019. ABC News, Brisbane, Qld, (online), Drought-hit Channel Country cattle producers welcome floodwater from weather system that devastated neighbours, 23 February. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-23/cattle-producers-welcome-floodwater-that-devastated-neighbours/10843080 (Accessed 23 February 2019).
 ABC News, Brisbane Qld 2019. Tanjil South bushfire, 1 February. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-01/tanjil-south-bushfire-1/10772776 (Accessed 27 March 2019). The entry on 2 February 2019 was from ABC News, Brisbane. Watch and Act warning issued for Grantville fire as authorities prepare for worsening conditions (online). Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-02/fires-continue-to-burn-in-victoria-as-conditions-set-to-worsen/10773678 (Accessed 27 March 2019).
Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 27 May 2019.