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Why does God allow terrible natural disasters to cause serious humanitarian catastrope? The insight fro the answer is found in the Bible, God's Word.

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― The five books of Psalms correspond to the five books of the "Torah".The fourth book of Psalms corresponding to the book of Numbers, begins with Psalm 90, one of the so-called "penitential psalms", where Moses urges us the importance of the awarenese of numbering our days aright, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom ―

  1. Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.
  2. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
  3. You turn people back to dust, saying, ‘Return to dust, you mortals.’
  4. A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
  5. Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death – they are like the new grass of the morning:
  6. In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.
  7. We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.
  8. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
  9. All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
  10. Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
  11. If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
  12. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
  13. Relent, LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.
  14. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
  15. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.
  16. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendour to their children.
  17. May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.
PSALM 90. ― A prayer of Moses the man of God ―

This oldest psalm by Moses is presumed to have been written after the desertion of faith at Kadesh Barnera when the twelve spies explored the promised land of Canaan. As a consequence, the Israelites wandered in the desert for the next thirty eight years until the entire generation died. Over two million Israelites died in the desert, including Moses himself, before entering the promised land. Moses wrote this psalm of death while witnessing a lot of people dying.

The Psalms are divided into five books and from ancient times many attempts have been made to discover the reason for it. The comparison between the Psalms and the “Torah” (Five books from Genesis to Deuteronomy) have for long been noted by scholars, which shows that Psalms Chapters 1-41 corresponds to ‘Genesis’, Psalms 42-72 corresponds to ‘Exodus’, Psalms 73-89 corresponds to ‘Leviticus’, Psalms 90-106 corresponds to ‘Numbers’, and Psalms 107-150 to ‘Deuteronomy’.

Linking the five books of Psalms with the five books of Moses, H.A.Ironside wrote in his commentary on the Psalms: ‘ Our Bible begins with the Pentateuch, from Genesis to Deuteronomy; and the entire Bible…seems to be built upon that Pentateuchal foundation. The book of Genesis is the book of life and the book of election; the book of Exodus is the book of redemption; Leviticus is the book of sanctification; Numbers is the book of testing and experience; Deuteronomy is the book of divine government…the remarkable thing is that in the first book of the Psalms the great outstanding themes are Divine Life and Electing Grace―God’s wonderful provision of grace, just the same as in the book of Genesis…In the second book of the Psalms the great outstanding theme is redemption, as in Exodus. In the third book of the Psalms we are occupied with sanctification, communion with God, the way into the sanctuary, as in the book of Leviticus, The fourth book is the darkest one, for it is the book of testing, the book of trial, as in Numbers. Many of these psalms have to do with bitter, hard experiences that the people of God often have to go through in this world. And then the last book of Psalms is the book that brings God in as overruling in all the trials, the difficulties, and perplexities―the divine government, as in the book of Deuteronomy―God bringing everything out at last to His honor and glory and to His people’s eternal blessing’ (‘Studies on the Psalms’, Loizeaux, p4-6.) .

This Pentateuchal chronological pattern (1. the preparation of the land, 2. the return of the wandering Jews, 3. the restoration of Temple worship, 4. the period of tribulation, and 5. the messianic Kingdom, each of which corresponds to the book of the “Torah”: 1. Genesis, 2. Exodus, 3. Leviticus, 4. Numbers, and 5. Deuteronomy, respectively) may also be applied to the present and coming future events, ―from the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 to the coming messiah’s Kingdom on earth. That is, after the recognition of the Jewish State in the Promised Land as a nation in 1948, the Jews have begun to return to their own land, and presently they have almost resumed Temple worship in Jerusalem. Next up would be a phase corresponding to the forth book of Numbers, the period of tribulation. The book of Numbers records great tragedy of a generation dying in the wilderness as a consequence of disobedience and unfaithfulness and so, it is very appropriate that the forth book of the Psalms, whose theme is peril and trial, begins with Psalm 90, one of the so-called “penitential psalms”, where the ancient Israelites cried out to God for His mercy. Finally, this phase would be followed by the emergence of the most graceful phase of messianic Kingdom by their long awaited Messiah Jesus Christ.

The opening message of Psalm 90, as quoted at the beginning, describes a peaceful relationship with God, in which the privilege of a reconciled people is to dwell with Him. Then in the following verse the eternal is contrasted with the transient. Man is destined to turn to dust, the very fabric of earth in the end, and return to the Creator. All man’s work and achievement in this world perish as quickly as a sweeping flood. The Psalmist reminds us of the divine principle that it is man’s sin that has brought death, and that because of man’s sinfulness God is angry. That is why man’s life is as short as grasses withering away within a day under the scorching Canaanite sun. Even a short span of man’s life is filled with trouble and moaning because man’s secret sin on earth is all exposed before God in heaven.

Ancient rabbinical thought has it that each day of creation prophetically represents a thousand years of human history and that the seventh day of rest represents the messianic age. In other words, at the close of the sixth millennium when human history is completed, the seventh millennium will be ushered in as the day of everlasting Sabbath. As we have almost arrived at the last decade of the sixth millennium, this rabbis’ teaching will soon be tested. Peter also taught: ‘With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day…But the day of the Lord will come like a thief’ (2Pe.3:8-10), and so everyone should be watchful. In this passage Peter warns us to come to the Lord with repentance as well.

If Peter and this rabbinical concept correctly reflect Moses’ meaning in Psalm 90, we would presently be in the final ‘watch in the night’ (v.4). Christ also referred to this concept: ‘“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him’ (Mt.24:42-44). When the entire world enters a spiritual sleep and the day of the Lord comes ‘like a thief’, it will be taken by surprise.

Moses lived to 120 years, Joshua, 110, and David, 70. In verse 10, why did Moses write that a lifespan could be seventy or eighty, when he himself had a much longer lifespan? He might have prophetically referred to a lifespan of the last generation who would see the restoration of Jerusalem and messianic Kingdom. After two thousand years of exile since the first century CE, in the last century CE, Israel revived as a nation and indeed, the concluding days of the sixth millennium are at hand. Aware that the Jews have not been forsaken forever, despite having experienced punishment for their disobedience, Moses continues with a plea for the Lord: ‘Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Relent, LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants’. The merciful God always calls for repentant sinners to return and He is ready to accept them.

According to rabbinical interpretation, the verses beyond 14, to the end of Psalm 90 are regarded as a reference to the messianic era, and Dorash Moshe puts it: ‘The blessing of the Temple and the Tabernacle is not confined to Israel. Rather, it is the factor which lends solidarity and prosperity to the entire world. We pray that God return to this world and establish His blessed presence for all time’. Many believe that the hardest thing to manage properly in our lives is the stewardship of time, which would be a supreme test of our discipline. The fact that Psalmist asks the Lord to let us know our priorities in our lives, is significant. Our priorities of time indicate our sense of value. If we could see the present in perspective we would make the most of our lives in accordance with the Lord’s will.

For the past several years we have been watching a drastic change of worldwide weather pattern. While in some parts of the world extreme heat wave continues, in other parts such as New Mexico in the US this month, not only snow but record breaking size of hail has been reported in the midst of the summer ( In Japan, the death toll related to heat disorder has markedly increased in the last few years, especially among the elderly people.

According to the Independent News, water scarcity has become a growing problem in the Middle East, East Africa and the US.: ‘Although the Middle East has experienced water scarcity for quite some time, Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of a recently published Nasa study, has said that there was an "alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently has the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India". With tensions already high in this region, water scarcity could become another cause of conflict.

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the driest regions in the world. East Africa, in particular the Nile River basin, has seen conflict rise over who controls fresh water supplies. Due to limited resources, the Sudanese civil war between 1983 and 2005 became a struggle over territory, which in turn led to conflicts over water supplies. The impact on the population and irrigation of the country would be substantial. After 22 years of fighting, 400,000 people were killed and 2.5 million were displaced from their homes.

Water cleanliness is an issue that is having considerable impact on sub-Saharan Africa. According to the charity WaterAid, 16.4 million people in Kenya and 43.4 million people in Ethiopia don't have access to safe water. The US is also facing significant strain on fresh-water supplies. According to WaterSense, a partnership program of the US Environmental Protection Agency: "Nearly every region of the country has experienced water shortages. At least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or state-wide water shortages" this year, "even under non-drought conditions". Water scarcity was recently addressed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who warned that by 2030 nearly half the world's population could be facing a scarcity of water, with demand outstripping supply by 40 per cent’.

It warns of the seriousness of what is going on in Gaza Strip as well: ‘The Gaza Strip, a tiny wedge of land jammed between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean sea, is heading inexorably into a water crisis that the United Nations says could make the Palestinian enclave uninhabitable in just a few years…The Gaza Strip, governed by the Islamist group Hamas and in a permanent state of tension with Israel, is not the only place in the Middle East facing water woes. A Nasa study of satellite data released this year showed that between 2003 and 2009 the region lost 144 cubic kilometres of stored freshwater – equivalent to the amount in the Dead Sea – making a bad situation much worse. But the situation in Gaza is particularly acute, with the UN warning that its sole aquifer might be unusable by 2016, with the damage potentially irreversible by 2020. Between 5 and 10 per cent only of the aquifer's water is safe to drink, but even this can mix with poor-quality water during distribution, making it good only for washing’ (REUTERS SUNDAY 30 JUNE 2013).

Why does God allow such terrible natural disasters to cause serious humanitarian catastrophe? Everybody believes that if He is truly in control, God must be able to control the weather and hence, natural disasters. If He is truly gracious, it seems unthinkable that God should allow so many people to die as a result of things under His control. The insight for the answer is found in the Bible, God’s Word as explored above. All is the result of the natural laws, which God created and within which periodical earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, volcanic activities or tsunamis are allowed. It is God’s sovereign way to use the forces of nature to call our attention so that we would turn to Him with repentance, and also as a means of judgment, or to bring about His greater goodness, although we cannot fully understand the reason why a particular natural disaster could fall upon a particular place and person.


This month, a money gift of £**** has been sent to Mary Jane to support her ministries in the Philippines; helping the disadvantaged minority tribes and reaching out to the children in the poverty with the Word of God. Pray for the Lord’s salvific work through her and her coworkers’ earnest commitment.