Jeremiah 16:  “And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, ‘Why has the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?’  then you shall say to them: ‘Because your fathers have forsaken me, declares the Lord, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law,  and because you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, every one of you follows his stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me.  Therefore I will hurl you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’
When the great calamity comes and people say “Why is God doing this to us?” The answer is not “God didn’t do it”. The answer is “Here is why God did it.”
The people of Israel in Jeremiah’s day are going to come to the point when they realize that God is fairly upset with them and then they will go to Jeremiah and ask why. Prophets for hundreds of years have been telling them why. God Himself told them through Moses, why. The question to ask here is not “Why did God judge Jerusalem the way He did?” but rather, “Why didn’t the people know why?” Jeremiah has been persecuted and his life has been threatened and he has been ostracised because he keeps telling the people that God is going to judge them for their sin. When the words of Jeremiah finally become reality they will ask him what in the world has gotten into God that He should do such things to them. Their ignorance is stunning.
And we find the exact same thing today. Bible believers are ridiculed and mocked and persecuted all over the world. And then when something the question gets asked of believers, “Where is your God now and why is He allowing such things to happen?” Sometimes the believers themselves are stuck for an answer.
Far too many Christians have a theology that cannot stand up in the day of trouble. The “prosperity Gospel” that preaches that God wants people wealthy and healthy has been adopted by the believers as a right that is inviolable. When things happen that are out of our control then they bring God back into the picture to ask where the wealth and prosperity is now.
It is easy for us to see God’s justice and righteousness when we read about it in the Book of Jeremiah. That was 2600 years ago. That was the sinfulness of ancient Israelites. And we reason that God doesn’t act like that now?
Should our culture be treated with less severity than Jeremiah’s? Is our culture less sinful? Is it more moral? Are we less idolatrous? And if the prosperity and safety and hope for a prosperous future were to all disappear would we say “Why is God doing this to us?” The culture might. But would the saints? It would not be very surprising if they did as well.
If the culture or the world screamed out at the faithful in the day of calamity “Why is God doing this?” what would we say? Many believers would be asking the same question. Many would say “O God didn’t do it”.
Perhaps a better question to ask is “Why should God shower His mercy upon us for one day more?” Do we have a culture that thanks God for its blessings? Do we live in a place where God is seen as the Giver of all good things? What would you say if you were asked, “Why is God doing this to us?” We may not know for sure that it is a judgement for some specific sin. We may not be able to say with Jeremiah-like accuracy that it is a judgement of God upon us. But we could say that God’s hand was in it for purposes beyond us. We could say that all God’s ways are righteous and holy. And we could certainly say that life is a gift from God to us and that given that our lives are in the hands of a God who is a consuming fire, it would be every wise to flee to Him for mercy while there is still time. It is a cold uncertain world from our perspective.
But this truth cannot be surrendered – God is in charge of it. And He holds out His hands every day to a rebellious and stubborn people. We do not deserve the least of His blessing and yet He offers eternal life. The question is not “Why does God allow the bad to occur?” The question is “Why is He so patient with sinners?” And the answer is “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish.” (II Peter 3:9). God keeps His promises. He has promised to judge the world. We see snippets of it all the time. It is a warning for people to seek the Lord while He may be found. When you are tempted to blame God for a sin wracked world or when people ask you why the world is in the mess it is in, point people to Christ. He is the ultimate reason for all these things and more.