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Understanding Storms

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Understanding the way the Lord uses storms gives us the understanding of how to rule His way.

Elihu said, “God is exalted in His power. Who is a Teacher like Him? Who has prescribed His ways for Him, or said to Him, ‘You have done wrong’? Remember to extol His work, which men have praised in song. All mankind has seen it; men gaze on it from afar. How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of His years is past finding out. He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. Who can understand how He spreads out the clouds, how He thunders from His pavilion? See how He scatters His lightning about Him, bathing the depths of the sea. This is the way He governs the nations and provides food in abundance. He fills His hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark. His thunder announces the coming storm; even the cattle make known its approach. At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of His voice, to the rumbling that comes from His mouth. He unleashes His lightning beneath the whole Heaven and sends it to the ends of the Earth. After that comes the sound of His roar; He thunders with His majestic voice. When His voice resounds, He holds nothing back. God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the Earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ So that all men He has made may know His work, He stops every man from His labour. The animals take cover; they remain in their dens. The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. He loads the clouds with moisture; He scatters His lightning through them. At His direction they swirl around over the face of the whole Earth to do whatever He commands them. He brings the clouds to punish men, or to water His Earth and show His love.”[1]

A few key verses here are: Who can understand how He spreads out the clouds, how He thunders from His pavilion? See how He scatters His lightning about Him, bathing the depths of the sea. This is the way He governs the nations and provides food in abundance.[2]

The Lord commands the weather: He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the Earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’[3]

Just as when He sent the wind to freeze the water into the ice caps after the flood of Noah: The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.[4] He brings the clouds to punish men, or to water His Earth and show His love.[5]

Some of the storms used by the Lord:

· The flood of Noah, where the Lord used the immense amount of rain to flood the Earth, to cleanse the Earth of the wickedness of mankind and to rid the Earth of the Nephilim (although they came back after the flood). The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the Earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that He had made man on the Earth, and His heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the Earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.”[6]

· In Egypt, the Lord used a storm to bring the 7th plague – that of hail, in His process of bringing the Israelites out of Egypt and showing His glory to the Egyptians.

· In Job, as we have seen, the Lord used the storm to make Himself known to Job.

In Matthew 8:24-26, we see Jesus in complete control of the storm that came up on the lake while He and His disciples were out in the boat. He slept, quite at peace, until He was woken by the frightened disciples. He calmed the storm with this rebuke: ‘Quiet! Be still!’ and then questioned His disciples about their faith. This was in fulfillment of Psalm 107:28-30. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven. The storm helped the disciples to know Jesus better and to realise more of who He was – The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of Man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”[7]

Following the feeding of the 5000, we see how Jesus used a strong wind to guide His disobedient disciples. Having fed the 5000, Jesus told the disciples to go immediately to Bethsaida (which is just on the other side of the river), while He dismissed the crowd, and He then went up on the mountainside to pray.[8] However, it wasn’t until evening came that the disciples got into the boat and headed, not for Bethsaida, but for Capernaum.[9] Jesus had gone up on the mountainside to pray, and it was from there that He was able to watch the disciples’ disobedience. As they headed off for Capernaum, there was a strong wind that came and blew against them. If they had gone to Bethsaida, in the other direction, this wind would have helped them on their way. Jesus was the One who calmed the storm earlier, and I believe it was Jesus who commanded the wind to blow against the disciples that night as He sat praying and watching the disciples go the wrong way.

This is just like with Jonah. Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.[10] …the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the LORD, “O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for You, O LORD, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to Him.[11]

In causing the wind to blow in this way, Jesus fulfilled Psalm 107:23-25. Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the LORD, His wonderful deeds in the deep. For He spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.

In the fourth watch of the night, Jesus finally came to the disciples, walking on the lake. The waves were buffeting the boat, but it was not the waves that scared Peter as he stepped out to walk on the water. It was when He saw the wind that he was afraid. What was it that Peter saw in the wind that made him afraid? It could have been the Holy Spirit. Jesus had said earlier: “But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”[12] The disciples had indeed heard Jesus’ words, but did not put them into practice. The Holy Spirit’s job is to remind us of Jesus’ words[13] and convict us of guilt[14]. When He arrived in Acts, it was with a sound like the blowing of a violent wind, which came from Heaven.[15]

After Jesus and Peter got into the boat, John wrote that they immediately reached the shore where they were heading. So they were translated from the middle of the lake to the shore. But the disciples were heading to Capernaum, and Mark wrote that they landed at Gennesaret, which is a bit further down the coast from Capernaum. Jesus was fully in control of the situation with the 12 disciples. He used the wind to prevent them from reaching Capernaum and then took them to Gennesaret. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognised Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard He was. And wherever He went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged Him to let them touch even the edge of His cloak, and all who touched Him were healed.[16]

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”[17] The key is abiding in Him and His word abiding in us. Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing and only spoke what He heard from His Father. As we listen to Jesus and put His words into practice, remaining in Him and allowing His words to remain in us, and as we listen to the Holy Spirit as He reminds us of Jesus’ words, then we will have the understanding and wisdom to do as Jesus did.


 

[1] Job 36:22-37:13

[2] Job 36:29-31

[3] Job 37:6

[4] Job 37:10

[5] Job 37:13

[6] Genesis 3:5-7

[7] Matthew 8:27

[8] Mark 6:45-46

[9] John 6:15-18

[10] Jonah 1:4

[11] Jonah 1:13-16

[12] Matthew 7:26-27

[13] John 14:26

[14] John 16:6

[15] Acts 2:2

[16] Mark 5:54-56

[17] John 14:12

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