The God Who Punishes the Sins of Disobedience
As it appears, God is expected by people, who are not learned in the way of the Bible, to stop criminality and the vicious cycle of corruption - without any move from people involved.
But aren’t people the cause of moral evil – who do drugs, crimes, and corruption?
In the case of the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who won the elections on a platform of stopping drugs, criminality, and corruption, in his moments of ruminating the complexity of problems besetting his fight, he speaks out his mind and the subconscious asks questions.
But he is not alone. When evil comes to a point wherein man finds himself helpless, he asks, "Where is God? Why all this senseless trouble in the world? This may come to a point of doubting His very existence.
It is because we expect that God is good and that He can destroy evil. But He cannot simply do things for man as in destroying the evil around without sacrificing his intentions for mankind.
Here are the truths in the Bible:
1. God caused the existence of everything that is good!
THE ROMANS 1:19-20
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
In the original state of creation, everything was "very good!"
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
2. God gave man the most wonderful power he has: the freedom of choice.
JOB 34:4 (RSV)
Let us choose what is right; let us determine among ourselves what is good.
Except where such act may prevent others from exercising their freedoms, we have the right to exercise our own in any manner we choose. But we have to be more than robots to enjoy what’s free to do, like having one’s choice of food, one’s preference for tastes, for color, for smell, and even for the person to love like a husband or a wife.
The freedom to choose or "free will" was given by the Creator; we have the power to choose between good and evil, to some extent that there are those who think it is all right to disobey God.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
The caring God, our Creator, even emphasized, "Therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." But the adventurous prefer to choose the opposite of God's will! This is where every corruption and criminality begins.
II THESSALONIANS 2:11-12
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The reason why people believe in delusions and lies and evil is their utter disregard for truth! This resulted in a host of criminalities that beset the human race!
THE ROMANS 1:28-32
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
What aggravates evilness is people's disregard for capital punishment. The Bible states in verse 32, "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
In other words, punishment (whatever it is) is expected for such acts. Punishment as defined is “the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.” According to behavior experts, punishment is an important tool in dealing with dangerous behaviors that have to be stopped. Although God Himself is a punisher, He has given government the authority to determine what punishment is due to its citizens for any corresponding crime.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
It is the sense of allowing evil and having pleasure in evil that multiply evil in human society! And evil would progressively continue within a society with such permissive disposition.
II TIMOTHY 3:13
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
In all these, God must not be blamed or doubted! We know by conscience that those to be blamed are the leaders allowing evil!
Meanwhile, the difference with God and man is that the former does not execute judgment immediately, giving a sinner the chance to repent.
II PETER 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Although there are evil people who benefit from God's longsuffering, evil people take advantage of the time to do more evil, not understanding God's goodness! Instead of taking the opportunity to change, they take the time to extend their evil works.
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
THE ROMANS 2:4
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
So what about the doubt of God's existence because of the evil that now besets human society? A wise student of the Bible would consider this: Things happen as living testimonies that what the word of God has been saying all along is true. First, He exists. That is an undeniable truth. Second, if people will not believe and follow Him, all evil shall abound!
58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
59 Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.
63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to naught; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:
67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
68 And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spoke unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
As stated in these verses, the result of not obeying God’s words are plagues, diseases, sickness, death, a scattering among nations, having to serve other gods, even wood and stone; and being a stranger in other lands where there is constant sorrow and fear. In many forms, these are observed everywhere and to some extent are being experienced by many – including Filipinos.
In sum: Where is God? He is existing. The good God is existing but evil abound due to man’s rebellion: that of not observing his words. Man suffers from his own making.
Is God to be blamed for society with worsening ills? No. They who allow evil to flourish are to blame. They who allow the pleasure of sin.