Does God Speak Through Nature?

Photo by Genaro Servín from Pexels

Weather across the US continues to be extreme, including here in SoCal. An hour ago, we had a downpour that flooded the streets and left puddles in our back yard. Now the clouds have moved off toward the mountains where there will likely be a snow storm before the day is over.

Oddly enough, the extreme weather makes me think of Exodus, the Egyptians, and the plagues they endured when God pried the Hebrew slaves from their control. I wonder how much the average Egyptian, without email, Twitter, or Facebook, knew about Moses and his demand to Pharaoh that he let the Israelites go to worship God.

When the first plague hit—the water-to-blood event—did the people think it was some sort of anomalous extreme they had to work around? Extra work, sure. They had to dig beside the Nile to get water fit for consumption, but not, surely, an act of the Israelite God.

When the frogs came, did the people revise their thinking? Or did they see a cause/effect connection—the bad water had chased the frogs onto the land and into their homes.

Then the gnats or lice followed and the swarms of other insects. And we know that insects can carry diseases, so no surprise that pestilence followed. Or maybe the Egyptians, who may not have known the connection between bugs and disease, were surprised.

At what point did they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was bringing these “natural disasters” on their land? Was it when Goshen where the Israelites lived became exempt from the effects of the plagues? Was it when Pharaoh’s magicians could no longer replicate what God did through Moses? Was it when boils appeared on humans and animals alike after Moses stood outside and threw ashes in the air?

At some point, Pharaoh’s advisers got the picture that God was behind all they experienced, and they urged their supreme ruler to capitulate. Eventually the everyday people got the picture, too, because they eagerly gave the Israelites their gold and silver and valuable cloth just prior to their exodus.

In fact, after the final plague, when the Egyptians awoke to find the eldest son in each house slain on his bed, they “urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, ‘We will all be dead.'” (Ex. 12:33.)

I’m just silly enough to believe that blizzards and monsoonal floods and wild fires and tornadoes and earthquakes and hurricanes and outbreaks of measles and chicken pox, while certainly not plagues, are nevertheless from God—“natural” events He uses to press us to His side.

The Egyptians were disbelieving until they couldn’t not believe. They may not have concluded that God was God and Ra was not, Pharaoh was not, the Nile was not, but they knew that Moses’s God must be obeyed.

Are we like the Egyptians? We know all about weather patterns now and, via satellite, can see hurricanes forming. We can track jet streams and air currents and the movement of high or low pressure zones. We aren’t like Pharaoh’s magicians in that we can make nature happen, but we can predict it. Which gives us a sense of control over it.

So I wonder if we don’t miss what God might be doing to press us to His side, to call us to repentance, to summon us to obey Him and not the idols of the world. I wonder if all our accommodating of the cold and the rain while we go about our daily business, is us sticking our fingers in our ears and saying, I don’t want to hear you, God.

Would that we could be like the boy, Samuel, who, when he heard God calling, responded by saying, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.”

This article is the “face-lift” version of one that first appeared here in September 2014.

Published in: on March 21, 2019 at 4:39 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 Comments

  1. The significance of God’s actions to free the Israelites from Egypt in one of the greatest events, perhaps only second to the Resurrection. Each shows the destiny of God’s intentions.

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    • Really true, bigsky. So maybe my equating extreme weather today was over the top. But one of the blessings God said Israel would have was abundance, if they obeyed Him. Then again we’re not Israel. So what do you think? Does God convey His reaction to national actions today, or was that something that He did in the OT, for Israel and is not true today?

      Becky

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      • Rebecca, we experience extreme weather from time to time so I look at it as part of God’s creation. Sometimes we have endure a hardship to experience God’s greater love and assurance.

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        • So you’re saying sometimes He uses the extreme conditions, though He doesn’t ordain them? I’m really trying to reach an understanding of this. I lean toward God being much more purposeful and active in our world than what we realize. But I’m not convinced beyond a doubt that some things don’t merely follow the basic rules of nature God set in motion.

          On the other hand, God seems to care for us as individuals at the level of our basic needs. So wouldn’t He be concerned about droughts and so on? I also remembered the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine He sent to Egypt at the time of Joseph. So I’d say, at a minimum, God may be speaking through what He allows or sends in nature.

          Becky

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          • It can feel unfathomable to fully understand God’s plan.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Might be because it IS unfathomable. 😀 But at the same time, I think it’s good to open our eyes and ears to what He might be saying. Over and over in the prophets He said He’d disciplined Israel but they didn’t change. I think, Might He be disciplining in the same way today? Or is He not working with nations in the same way He did before?

            Becky

            Liked by 1 person

          • Rebecca, I appreciated the discussion.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. To see some great examples of God’s working through nature, check out “Do You Grieve God?” my post from a couple of weeks ago. I have no doubt that God worked through the weather in some very specific events, and I grieved Him by failing to give Him credit at the time. Better late than never, I hope.

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