The Precious Word Bible Study Series – The Word Reveals Why Tragedy Exist (Lesson #11)

1Sa 3:1 “ … And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; …”

INTRODUCTION:

Why is there sorrow in the world?  If there is a God, why do we see horrible displays of injustice, wickedness and calamities in the world in which we live? In many cases, these questions are asked by those who are searching for comfort during times of great catastrophe. There are others who, when they see the many damaging acts of our world, seek to “make sense” of these events, by questioning the purpose behind them.

Can we ever come to an understanding of why evil exists in the world around us?  Of course, we cannot know the mind of God; therefore, we can never fully understand the particular reasons behind a specific event.  But, by God’s grace, we can come to an understanding of some common purpose behind the evil occurrences of this world.

In His Word, He helps us to come to a comprehension of why our world is filled with injustice, calamities and wickedness.  Let’s take time to examine the harmful events of this world in the light of God’s precious Word.

SCRIPTURES:

Isa 45:5-8

(KJV)  5) I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6) That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else. 7) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].  8) Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.

(ESV)  5) ​I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6) ​that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.  7) I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.  8) “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it.

Gen 3:9-24

(KJV) 9) And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou?… 16) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17) And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; 18) Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;  19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return…. 22) And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23) Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24) So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

(ESV)  9) But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”… 16) To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” 17) And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18) thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19) By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”…. 22) Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23) therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24) He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Eccl 7:13-14

(KJV) 13) Consider the work of God: for who can make [that] straight, which he hath made crooked? 14) In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

(ESV) 13) Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? 14) In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

THE STUDY:

Let’s take a look at our first text, as we search for the purpose behind the evil that is in the world today.

In Isa 45:5-10, we will see that evil exists to teach us about the True God….

5) I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

6) That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else.

Our Lord, as He speaks to the nation of Judah through the prophet Isaiah, begins to establish His uniqueness as the ONLY true God. His desire is for the entire world (“from the rising of the sun and from the west”) to come to understand this truth about Him.

7) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

8) Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.

To clearly demonstrate His exclusivity among all the “gods” worshipped by man, He points to His creation of:

  1. The light – illumination, both physical light and giving us understanding of His truth (spiritual ability to understand His Word)
  2. The darkness – literal darkness or nighttime, also can speak of the “dark times” of our lives (sorrow and calamities)
  3. Peace – the experience of safety, welfare and prosperity in both the physical and spiritual realms of our lives.
  4. Evil – times of adversity, affliction, calamity, troubles in our lives experienced as a part of a fallen, sinful world.

The Lord tells us that He “creates” these things.  In other words, He allows them to takes place in this world, either by bringing them into existence, or by allowing them to come into existence.  In either case, He is in control of these things and uses them to reveal Himself to fallen mankind. (John 9:1-7)

How do the dark, evil things in our lives reveal God to man?:

  1. His grace – It shows us what life would be like without Him. (Eph 2:12)
  2. His sovereignty – It shows us that we cannot control the events of our life (Acts 17:25-28)
  3. His love and care – As we experience His presence and intervention in times of trial. (Psa 36:5-9)
  4. His justice – As we see the direct results in the lives of the lost. (Prov 11:20-21)
  5. His wisdom – When these dark times result in our good and His glory. (Deut 8:2-3)
  6. The list goes on and on….

The evil things in life result to teach mankind about the True God.

In Genesis 3:9-24 we see that evil exists as the natural result of the existence of sin in a fallen world…

(KJV)9) And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou?16) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.17) And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;18) Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;  19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return…. 22) And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:23) Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.24) So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

In the above text, we find a listing of the general types of hardships that mankind experiences as the result of disobedience to God in the garden.  It was this act of disobedience that plunged the world into a sinful fallen state and brought with it sin and its results upon all creation ….

  1. Trials directly resulting from our decisions and actions…  this would include pain in childbearing, contraction of STD after intimate relations, punishments for breaking laws of land, broken marriage due to adultery, traffic accidents due to a careless decision, persecution due to choosing to take stand for Christ, the list is endless.
  2. Trials directly resulting from fallen nature… the existence of weeds, thorns, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wild animal attacks, poisonous bites and stings from animals and insects, once again the list seems endless.
  3. Trials directly resulting from sins’ effects on physical body…. death, sickness, pain, aging, birth defects, these and many others can fall into this category.

All of the above, as horrible as they are, cannot compare to the ultimate evil that has come upon mankind… spiritual death.  But even in spiritual death we see how the Lord uses it for His glory by restoring to us the spiritual life that was lost at the fall of man. (Eph 2:1-9)

In Eccl 7:13-14, we find that the evils that come upon us are beneficial to us.

13) Consider the work of God: for who can make [that] straight, which he hath made crooked?14) In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

Here, the Lord explains to us one of the great reasons why difficult times enter into our lives.  The Lord brings both days of prosperity and days of adversity into our lives.

Why? “that man should find nothing after him”.   In other words, so that we will not be able to predict what our future holds.  By doing this, the Lord constantly reminds us of our need of Him. We cannot know what the future holds and we cannot, with certainty, prepare for it.  It causes us to be in a constant state of reliance upon Him and recognition of our susceptibility to the evils of this world.

The Apostle Paul teaches us this same principle in 2 Cor 12:6-10…

6) For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but [now] I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me [to be], or [that] he heareth of me.7) And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.8) For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.9) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Paul suffered from a physical infirmity that forced him to rely on the Lord.  This produced a spiritual strength in Paul’s life as he looked to the Lord for guidance and strength, instead of relying upon his human wisdom and ability.

Through the trials that we face in life, we benefit in several ways:

  1. They teach us that we are not in control of our own future or destiny, therefore we must rely on the Lord daily. (James 4:14-17, Pro 3:1-6)
  2. They teach us that we should thank the Lord for the good times and rely on the Lord during the evil times. (Psa 75:1 , Psa 31:9-16)
  3. They are an opportunity to be strengthened and develop a closer walk with the Lord to prepare for the trials that may lie ahead. (Psa 119:71, James 1:1-4)
  4. They are an opportunity to present a testimony of God’s grace to others during the trial and, following the trial, it is an opportunity to help others in similar circumstances from the lessons we learned thru experience. (1 Pet 4:12-19, 2 Cor 1:4)

THE APPLICATION:

As we complete our study on the purpose behind the existence of evil, as followers of Christ, the preciousness of His Word is magnified.  The Word reveals to us that our Lord is in control of all the heartbreaks of this world (Dan 4:34-35); He has reasons for each to take place. Knowing, this makes it much easier to cope with them when they occur.

Through His glorious Word, we also receive assurance that the evil of this world only results in God’s glory and our good.  And, sadly the Word also brings to light that the harmful events of this world can only be blamed on man’s fall and our individual acts of sin.  We are to blame for the catastrophes of this fallen, sinful world.

But finally, the pricelessness of the Word is emphasized when we read of God’s eternal promises concerning the overwhelming experiences of this world.  For we are clearly told that these events are only temporal in nature, and short lived, in comparison to the wonderful eternity awaiting the people of God.

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2Cor 4:16-18 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.

1Pet 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Rev 21:1-5  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Praise God for His Word and the many wonderful teachings that enable us to withstand the devastations of this world.

For a free copy of the Teacher/Student Handbook for this series pdf version: please go to: http://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/tpw-1-teacherstudentmanual.pdf

For a free copy of the Teacher/Student Handbook for this series doc version: please go to:  http://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/tpw-1-teacherstudentmanual1.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

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About Rob Barkman

A retired pastor, Bible teacher and author of 20 years, he is currently ministering through Settled In Heaven Ministries. SIH Ministries is an on-line Bible teaching ministry that was founded by Bro Barkman in 2010. Settled In Heaven’s mission is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by fulfilling two different roles... rendering encouragement and Biblical knowledge to the saints in an effort to enhance their service to Christ; and proclaiming the gospel message to those who are in need of salvation, explaining to them their urgent need to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
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4 Responses to The Precious Word Bible Study Series – The Word Reveals Why Tragedy Exist (Lesson #11)

  1. This would be one of the most-asked questions that we face. Or maybe I should more accurately say it is one of the most frequent accusations against Christianity we encounter. It is also one of the most-heard excuses – “I couldn’t believe in a God who would . . . ” As the saying goes, there are none so blind as those who WILL not see.

    You have thoroughly answered the question, in much the same way I do. I trust your post will help many Christians to give a reasoned answer to genuine enquiries.

    We serve an amazing God who knows the end from the beginning and purposes for the very best for His own blood-bought, adopted children.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Angela, throughout my years of ministry this has been the most used “justification” for not being a follower of Christ. I am the first to admit if a person does not attempt to answer the question from a Biblical standpoint, it certainly does ssem to be a very confusing and contradictory issue. But when we look to the Lord and trust in the truthfulness of His Word, the issue is clarified. Thanks for your comments. Lord bless you.

  2. ptl2010 says:

    All happenings show the reality of God’s Word
    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
    9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    If we know and believe His Word, we are safe in His care whatever betide.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Evelyn,

      It is when we face the most difficult times of our life that the value of the graces of patience, faith and love are most clearly recognized. We are finally concentrating on and appreciating that which we should appreciate at all times. Lord bless you. Thnaks for the comments.

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