Was The Earthquake In Haiti An Act Of God?

After putting the finishing touches on yesterday’s blog, tragedy struck in Haiti. An earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter Scale flattened Port-au-Prince, the capital city, and other surrounding villages. At least a third of Haiti’s population—3 million people—were affected.

The timing of yesterday’s blog post about God’s judgment and Hurricane Katrina—coinciding with the earthquake—takes my breath away.

Time and time again, it seems as if Haiti has a spiritual “kick me” sign posted on their backs. I’d be foolish to speculate that their tragedy is the result of God’s judgment. But I do wonder if their voodoo practices attract tragedy.

Please join me in today’s conversation.

TODAY’S READING

Genesis 30:1-31:16
Matthew 10:1-23
Psalm 12:1-8
Proverbs 3:13-15

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Genesis 29:31-30:24. Leah was blessed with children, but really what she wanted was Jacob’s love (notice the meaning of her children’s names in Genesis 29:31-35). Rachel, on the other hand, was blessed with Jacob’s love, but she desperately wanted children (Genesis 30:1).

Genesis 30:14. A mandrake is a dark green plant from the potato family that bears a yellowish berry, approximately the size of a small tomato, which can be eaten. Other surrounding cultures viewed it as an aphrodisiac as well.

Genesis 30:37-43. No clear evidence exists that the tree branches mentioned here actually cause sheep to mate. It’s probably an old wives tale. The real reason why the sheep mated in this episode is because the females were in heat.

Matthew 10:1. “Jesus gave his disciples authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” The disciples became an extension of Jesus.

THE WORD MADE FRESH

Did God vent his fury on Haiti two days ago?

Absolutely not. I might be overlooking something, but I can’t find evidence in the New Testament that God destroyed nations for their sin.

But here’s what I’d like to do today. Rather than explore our reading more in-depth in this section, I’d like to call all of you—our Daily Bible Conversation community—to be part of the answer to the tragedy in Haiti.

Here’s what we can do:

  1. Pray. Let’s pray that people around the world will give generously toward supplying the needs of the Haitian people. Let’s also pray that people will be rescued from the rubble, lives will be rebuilt, the spiritual “kick me” sign will be removed, and that this tragedy will serve as a turning point in this poor nation’s spiritual history. Please join me in asking God to root out the voodoo and corruption that have paralyzed this country.
  2. Give. In the past, I’ve worked with an extremely reputable organization called World Relief. If you’re interesting in making a difference in Haiti,  click here.  Also, my very good friend Dave Mansfield is leaving tomorrow to help with the relief effort in Haiti through RescueNet, a faith-based, nonprofit international emergency disaster response team. If you’d like to donate toward their efforts, click here and make sure to include “RescueNet” in the memo.

Yesterday, we read in Psalm 11:2, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do​?”

This is what they do.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. If you’re his disciple, then you’re an extension of Jesus (like  Jesus’ disciples in Matthew 10). Does it give you more confidence or less?
  3. Where was God in the January 12 tragedy in Haiti?
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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Was The Earthquake In Haiti An Act Of God?

  1. Tom

    In terms of evidence in the NT for God destroying a nation for its sin. What about Matthew 24?

    • Where in Matthew 24? The chapter speaks of God’s judgment at the end of the age, but specific nations aren’t mentioned.

      • Tom

        Well I guess I don’t see Matt 24 in that light. I believe he is speaking to Israel. Jesus said that all he spoke in Matt 24 would occur within that generation. And within that generation, Israel was destroyed as a nation. For those who Jesus spoke to and their children, everything ended in 70 AD. The temple was destroyed. But that is just how I read it. So I was thinking that in this way, Jesus foretold the destruction of a nation for its unbelief.

  2. Mike

    Excellent suggestions today and I agree that God did not “smite” Haiti – although who could blame him? Then again, why not America next? If even there was need for the faithful to rise up in prayer for God’s Kingdom to come this is it. The Psalms have been particularly appropriate this week.
    “…the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men” could be the headline in The Denver Post.
    Tragedy can always serve as a sobering wake-up call and become opportunity for the faithful. What if just a few in every Church took II Chronicles 7:14 to heart? “IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…” The promise is that God will hear from heaven, he will forgive their sin and heal their land. I am wondering if the authority Jesus gave disciples in today’s reading applies to this verse also. Again I am convicted that too often I am doing neither. My sin is less in my not doing than in the fact I fail to trust the Spirit to actually show up and accomplish what I know I cannot do myself. Maybe today will be a new day!

  3. Eugene

    I love the Old Testament. It is so real and unsanitized. Jacob is being cheated and is a cheat. He is “forced” to sleep with four different women. His wives are manipulative and self-deceptive. Laban and Jacob both use superstition and old-wives tales in determining (attempting to bend?) God’s will.

    Yet, God watches and waits, working his plan through very broken, incomplete, confused people. What hope there is in this story. If God used a guy like Jacob to become the father of his chosen nation, I too might be alble to be used by God. This is true in the Matthew passage as well. None of the new 12 were perfect and even Judas is sent out to minister and given the authority of Christ.

    On the question of Haiti. Thanks Mike for the push to pray and act rather than to judge. I wonder why we so often ask what others did to bring on their suffering and not as often realize that our own individual sins could bring on equal pain, if God were not a God of grace.

    Haddon Robinson once said, “Every drop of water this side of hell comes to us by the grace of God.”

  4. Let’s not forget there is a real Satan in this world that’s kills, steals, and destorys – He deserves credit for disasters, poverty, famine, disease etc. God has redeemed us from these things, but people have to receive what God has done for us – Those of us who are redeemed then are His ambassadors to show the world God’s love for them by doing, coming to their aid, showing who God is and that He loves them – As the body of Christ – the people of God – give, we will make a difference and God will be glorified!!

  5. Evan Roth

    From Jim Wallis at Sojourners:

    I also want to say a word about God and evil. Pat Robertson said that Haiti’s earthquake was caused because of the country’s “pact with the devil.” I don’t even know what he means, nor do I care. But I want to say this: My God does not cause evil. God is not a vengeful and retributive being, waiting to strike us down; instead, God is in the very midst of this tragedy, suffering with those who are suffering. When evil strikes, it’s easy to ask, where is God? The answer is simple: God is suffering with those who are suffering.

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