The Bible reveals the almost totally forgotten reasons for calamitous weather and disasters in food production!
WHERE IS THE GOD who spoke these words?" Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall you be in the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your beasts, and the increase of your cattle, and the young of your flock.... Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out" (Deuteronomy 28:3-4, 6, Revised Standard Version). "Blessedness" does not describe what has occurred over vast areas of many nations during the past year. Just the opposite! Has God forgotten? Why? This past year saw multimillion — dollar losses from droughts, floods, hail, hurricanes and other adverse weather plaguing nations around the world. The immense suffering to human and animal life and losses to crops can only be called, if one were to use biblical terminology — a curse, not a blessing!
A Harvest of Drought and Despair
Prolonged drought and searing heat slashed grain production in many areas of North America — the world's most important breadbasket of exportable food. Crops in some local areas of the United States and Canada were cut as much as 65 percent. Many older farmers in both countries felt 1980 was "the worst drought year since the 1930s." High winds and erosion damaged soils in many states. More than 1,200 persons died in oppressive heat waves in the American Southwest and Midwest. Hundreds of millions of dollars in crops and livestock were lost. At the same time, Europe suffered just the opposite extreme in weather. Record cold and deluges of rain caused miserable living conditions and widespread crop damage. Mexico's worst drought in a general 30-year dry period intensified during the year. The nation now has a serious water shortage and crippled food production just when more water and food is needed to feed soaring population growth. In Brazil, a drought that in 1979 destroyed two thirds of crops in the poverty-stricken northeast part of the country, returned in 1980 with even greater ferocity. The whole of East Africa has shriveled under great drought. This devastation has been exacerbated by widespread warfare and political unrest. "From the Red Sea south... is a disaster area," says a United Nations official in Nairobi. "No matter what we do," he says, "millions will die." The worst drought in 100 years crippled portions of South Africa's rich agricultural Natal Province. Thousands of black tribesmen face starvation. Zululand may become a dust bowl. South African officials are worried about the impact. South Africa is southern Africa's breadbasket; it exports much food, especially maize, to nearby food-short nations. During 1979, the monsoon failed in India. Falling crop production in 1980 nearly wiped out 20 million tons of food reserves. Then the 1980 monsoon came like a deluge in many areas, producing rampaging floods and death. Australia suffered extensive drought, with sizable crop and livestock losses in some areas. But the most critical agricultural areas were delivered by rains in mid-year. Other areas around the world were also mercifully relieved from devastating weather. Why did these disasters happen? Why were some areas relieved? Most humans don't know.
Meteorologists — men and women trained in weather science — offer different reasons for weather calamities. The meteorological forces causing much of the miserable weather in the northern hemisphere during the year can be described. It was the result of a series of prevailing strong high pressure systems over a quarter of the globe. For weeks on end these high pressure systems locked huge air masses in holding zones, compressing them, causing them to heat up to scorching temperatures. This heated air absorbed moisture within locked — in zones that otherwise should have been converted into clouds and rainfall. The high pressure zones also blocked and shunted aside any moisture — bearing air that normally would have moved in. Over North America, this sinking super-heated air fanned out and burned much of the American southwest and northern Great Plains. Similar problems plagued the great wheat provinces of Canada-Manitoba and Saskatchewan in particular. As these huge air masses gradually moved out over the North Atlantic during the summer and fall months in the northern hemisphere, they picked up heavy loads of moisture and dumped them over Europe, then a low pressure zone. Europeans and Russians suffered under massive rains, floods, unseasonable cool weather and crop damage. A variety of explanations for such mixed-up weather have been offered. Some weathermen blamed a dry winter and spring in North America for fueling the ferocity of summer and fall heat, since dry soil warms faster than damp soil. Others blamed sunspot activity. Some feel pollution of the atmosphere from industrial or manmade sources is involved. Still others blamed antihurricane or other rain-inducing cloud-seeding experiments. There is some evidence that the Russians are experimenting with super, high-powered electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere. These waves could be altering the earth's magnetic field, which, in turn, affects weather patterns. A few meterologists blamed the eruption of Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington in May. There is, as yet, only limited evidence to substantiate this theory. Yet, it is possible that the fine layer of ash spewed into the atmosphere from the eruption aggravated adverse weather conditions.
Much That Weathermen Don't Know
Weathermen admit there is much about weather they don't understand. "Meteorology is a science which understands how but not why," says a European weatherman. "It is a discipline — that breeds conflicting theories and always will until the secrets of the forces of the atmosphere are finally known to us." Using up-to-date weather instruments and charts, meteorologists can explain major changes in high or low pressure areas, or shifts in powerful high altitude jet streams of air. "We understand how the jet stream locks into place for weeks or months, but not why, " says Dr. Jean Palutikov at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England. Weather science has discovered that the earth's weather patterns are chiefly governed by an intricate interplay of forces involving the sun's radiant energy upon the atmosphere, the revolving earth, the continental masses, the oceans and shapes and elevations of various land structures. They have also discovered that human activities on earth can change weather and rainfall patterns to a certain extent. Weather in or shortly downwind of some huge metropolitan areas has been demonstrated to be slightly warmer and wetter than areas farther away. In some areas of the earth, massive overgrazing, deforestation and vast areas exposed by harmful farming practices have altered weather and rainfall patterns. Over the centuries, these harmful practices turned fertile areas into great deserts. Notable examples are North Africa and parts of the Middle East. Once these were major food granaries. David Houghton, head of the long-range forecasting and climate studies of England's Meteorological Office says: "Man's activities inevitably are doing things to the local climate. He upsets the water balance, overgrazes, allows the rain to wash the top soil away.... Now that the population of Africa is rising rapidly, slash and burn agriculture is having far more serious effect on weather than ever in the past." Mr. Houghton adds, "The fact that the Amazonian forest is being chopped down is likely to have an effect on the local climate, if not a small effect on global climate."
Spiritual Forces In the Weather
What a tragedy that modern man and science have ignored or rejected the Source that reveals a very critical dimension in world weather. The Bible reveals God — the Creator of the heavens and earth — is the one who set weather — making forces in motion. The power of God sustains all of the forces of the earth and universe (Hebrews 1:2-3). Weather-making forces, for the most part, operate by themselves, without God's constant interference. Nations of mankind, largely living their own ways of ignorance or defiance of God's laws or presence, reap the bulk of their weather benefits or problems from the natural physical forces and laws governing weather. But God does intervene in weather more than many realize. Few seem to understand that catastrophic weather conditions are the inevitable consequences of not only broken physical laws influencing weather, but broken divine, or spiritual, laws! God has an awesome purpose for mankind. He has a purpose for the different races and nations of mankind. In His mercy, the Creator has seen to it that unjust nations are at times blessed with enough essential rainfall and good weather to survive (Matthew 5:45). If God didn't see to this blessing, few nations or peoples could survive for long. They would not live to experience the full results of their own selfish ways under Satan's sway (II Corinthians 4:4). Nor could they experience the blessings of God's goodness in His creation, or His mercy and long-suffering despite their perpetual sins (Exodus 34:6, Romans 1:20, 2:4). God is the Creator. He is greater than natural weather patterns or cycles. The Bible reveals He intervenes in weather to work out His purposes here on earth. Weather is but one tool — and a major tool — at God's disposal to bless or punish nations for the way they live. Many times during history God has used adverse weather to change the balance of power among nations and alter the course of history. God intervenes in weather to fulfill His prophecies. "Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word," reveals scripture (Psalm 148:8). Meteorologists don't tell you that! They don't tell you that calamitous weather means a nation or people are not being blessed by God. That disastrous weather is the result of grievous national sins and idolatry. Virtually nonexistent is the meteorologist who will stand up and say continuous bad weather is a warning from God that a people are not living right and need to repent. Few understand that calamitous weather — whatever the cause — means God has withdrawn His hand of blessing and intervention in weather patterns on their behalf! Wrong education about the Bible has blinded the minds of many to this clear biblical understanding. Many ministers or teachers of the Bible don't believe or teach such knowledge.
"Blessings Shall Overtake You"
Here is what the Bible reveals! Fantastic physical and material promises were made to the 12 tribes of the Old Testament nation Israel — if they would obey God. They were chosen to be an example to the world of the great blessings that could be poured out upon an obedient nation. These promises would apply to nations today if they obeyed God's instructions, for God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). "And if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments ... the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, Revised Standard Version). Deuteronomy, chapter 28, has a parallel in content and thrust in Leviticus, chapter 26. Together these two dramatic chapters of blessings and cursings show how every human and national good could be guaranteed. They describe precisely, or in principle, every type of problem that could curse, plague or afflict a nation or people — because of disobedience to God's laws and statutes. What wonderful blessings were promised for obedience: many and healthy children; strong and healthy cattle; abundant crops and food stocks; defeated enemies; prosperity and safety throughout the land. Nor are these all the blessings. In addition to these God promised: "The Lord will open to you his good treasury the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands..." (Deuteronomy 28:12, RSV). Note how the blessing of rain "in its season" would bless and prosper everything a nation does! But these fantastic blessings were guaranteed only, "if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you... to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them" (verses 13 and 14).
The Book of Curses
Then, in Deuteronomy 28, God reveals a jarring list of curses for disobedience. "But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes... then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you" (verses 15). In other words, they would be inescapable! "Cursed shall you be in the city; and cursed shall you be in the field" (verse 16). Where doesn't that apply? Do you know of any major cities that are not plagued with crime, violence, filth, pollution, poverty, unrest and sickness? Even many agricultural areas (reachable by car from major metropolitan areas) are plagued with these problems — plus drought, soil infertility, poor land and sick crops. The curses mentioned in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 are not all the result of God's direct intervention to produce them. Many curses are the natural consequences of breaking the physical and spiritual laws set in motion by the Creator. But the Bible also reveals there is a time when God personally chooses to intervene in the course of nations to cause specific penalties. His purpose is to punish or awake nations to their grievous sins, to warn them to repent. But if they persist in sin: "The Lord shall smite you with... fiery heat, and with drought, and with blasting [destructive high winds], and with mildew [excessive moisture and rot].... And the heavens • over your head shall be brass, and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust..." (Deuteronomy 28:22-24). The concluding verses of Deuteronomy 28, and its parallel chapter, Leviticus 26, reveal that persistence in rebellion and disobedience will lead to total agricultural and social collapse, and finally, national captivity by enemies.
God Does Intervene!
"Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction," we are taught in Romans 15:4, RSV. Listen to these remarkable prophecies about weather and sin. They apply to events many are experiencing today! "And also I [God] have with-holden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city; one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied; yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord" (Amos 4:7-8, King James Version). Prolonged drought is the RESULT OF SIN! "Yet have ye not returned unto me!" King Solomon understood this fact of life when he prayed at the consecration of God's Temple. How many national leaders today know and believe this? "When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they [the people of the land] have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou has taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance" (II Chronicles 6:26-27).
Reaping What We Have Sown
The Creator allows nations to reap the natural consequences on weather caused by wrong agricultural practices, warmaking or abuse of the environment. He allows governments of every ideology to make foolish political or environmental decisions that lead to unnecessary famine or agricultural disruption. He allows nations to experience the consequences on weather of huge paved-over metropolitan complexes, cloud seeding and experiments to turn weather into a powerful weapon of war. But God also intervenes in the weather to punish nations for such sins. There is also another factor in weather, however. The Bible reveals a powerful spirit being who is the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). The account in the first chapter of Job indicates that, when God permits it to work out some purpose, this powerful spirit — Satan — can use atmospheric phenomena to wreak havoc. Freak weather will most certainly be part of the "great wrath" with which Satan will afflict the inhabitants of the earth before the return of Jesus Christ (see Revelation 12:12).
A Chance to Repent
During the past year, some areas afflicted by serious drought were mercifully relieved by abun4ant rains or more normal weather. Australia and parts of North America are examples, among others. But do the peoples in these nations appreciate the period of grace given to them? Do they understand why this grace period has been given? How many understand the grace period is not a chance to go on living as they did before, but a chance to repent of their idolatry and sins? The Bible defines sin as the transgression of God's laws (I John 3:4). Idolatry is serving or worshipping anything above the true God and His laws. Our modern nations are full of material goods and gadgets that millions literally worship and crave in the place of God and His ways. Around the world, immorality, crime, family breakdown, and racial hatreds are increasing rapidly. God is warning nations through adverse weather because of what is in their hearts! But there is another reason for grace in the weather. It is necessary to allow God's Work — through His true Church — to carry Christ's Gospel to all nations as a witness before the end of this age. That Gospel is the announcement of the soon-coming rule of God's Government on earth. In that day when God sends Jesus Christ to rule the world in peace, weather patterns will be made a blessing for all obedient nations. But today you can expect more and growing-worse weather disasters. Few humans, and no nations, are repenting of their mounting sins. Few, today, grasp the most important causes, revealed in the Bible, for humanity's curses in the weather. Now, hopefully, you do!