Text: Exodus 4:10-12
I. We desire explanations for the world and its events
A. It is not enough that things happen, most of us are curious as to why they happen
1. Even the three-year-old will drive his parents to distraction asking “Why?”
B. Hence, when disciples come across a blind man, it brought a question to their minds - John 9:1-3
1. The assumption that the disciples made is a common one among man.
2. No one would want to be blind, so therefore it must be a punishment sent by God.
3. The only thing that was difficult was trying to figure out who’s sin was being punished
a. The man was born blind, so it is difficult to imagine what sin a person could commit before birth that deserved blindness.
b. Yet to say the blindness was because of the parents’ sin would mean that another person was being punished for a sin that someone had committed.
4. Jesus points out that their assumption was wrong.
a. The blindness was not the consequence of a sin
b. But the blindness was allowed so that God’s glory could be shown.
C. When an accident happens to someone young, I have had people ask, “What do you suppose they did to deserve such a fate?”
1. Like the natives who saw Paul bitten - Acts 28:4
D. Followers of the teachings of John Calvin find themselves struggling with this question often
1. God is obviously supreme and His will is always done.
2. To Calvinists, nothing happens that God did not approve of, plan, and executed.
3. But this leads to the obvious conclusion that God is the cause of all evil in the world, which directly contradicts James 1:13.
II. Where do handicaps come from?
A. When God made the world, it was perfect - Genesis 1:31
1. But then Adam and Eve sinned and the world became not so perfect as a consequence - Genesis 3:17-19
2. Hence, we could say that imperfections came about by Adam and Eve
3. As this world wears down, things like genetic disease become more prevalent.
B. Sometimes disease does come as a punishment for sin
1. Uzziah wanted to offer incense to God and was struck by leprosy for the remainder of his life - II Chronicles 26:16-21
2. Sometimes the problem is the result of someone else’s sin.
a. After all, we still bear the consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin.
b. Jeremiah complained that Israel was suffer for the sins of their ancestors. - Lamentations 5:7
3. Yet, before we get too quick to blame someone else
a. God points out that they are suffering because the Israelites continue to sin as their fathers did - Jeremiah 31:28-30
b. In the same way we continue the practice of sin as did Adam - Romans 5:12
4. Some sins, such as sexual sins, contain a natural high risk of disease as a consequence - Romans 1:26-27
5. Hence, afflictions may come because we are bad.
C. But we must also recall that it was Satan who tempted Eve into opening the door to sin - Genesis 3:1
1. Satan has never been satisfied with God’s work.
2. Satan wanted to make Job’s life miserable in hopes that he would leave God - Job 1:6-12
a. Job suffered many losses. Satan did not reveal who was doing it. For all that Job knew, God had turned His back on him.
b. When he did not turn against God (Job 1:22), Satan attack Job’s health - Job 2:7-10
3. We learn many things from Job.
a. But one of the obvious lessons is that at least some misery is due to Satan trying to turn people away from God - I Peter 5:6-10
b. In other words, afflictions may come because we are good!
c. But did you notice that Satan had to go to God for permission to do what he wanted?
D. Sometimes trials come as a way to try our metal
1. James 1:2-4 - Trials build character
2. Just like muscles require resistence to be come stronger, we must endure difficulties to spiritually become better people.
3. Paul suffered to give him proper perspective - I Corinthians 12:7-10
4. Afflictions are chances to train - Hebrews 12:11
5. So God may allow afflictions to make us better.
6. Just as there is a danger of overtraining, God limits what Satan can do - I Corinthians 10:13
E. Sometimes afflictions come “just because”
1. Man doesn’t know what the future holds - Ecclesiastes 9:1
2. Some events have no relation to whom it happens - Ecclesiastes 9:11-12
a. Some disasters, especially from an individual’s viewpoint, happen randomly.
b. Some afflictions come by happen chance.
3. What God expects of us is to do our best - Luke 13:2-5
F. And there are some who are afflicted so that God may demonstrate His power
1. As the blind man was born that way so the power of Jesus to heal might be shown
2. Sarah lived her life, unable to have children, though she greatly desired a child.
a. Was God being mean to her?
b. Or didn’t the delay strengthened Sarah and give God the opportunity to accomplish a miracle through her?
3. Lazarus died so that Jesus could show his power over death - John 11:4
4. In other words, some were afflicted to serve a purpose.
III. When disaster strikes, when a child is born handicapped, or a traffic accident leaves a person paralyzed, do we know why it happened?
A. For man the answer is generally, no.
B. God is in control, but we don’t often have insight as to what He has in mind.
C. But we are expected to do our best with what we are given
1. When Moses wanted to get out of leading the Israelites, he offered the excuse that he was a poor speaker - Exodus 4:10-11
2. The answer is that God made Moses as he was and chose Moses as he was. Obviously then, Moses with his “handicap” was just what God needed for the task assigned to him.
3. God made you as you are. He could also make you blind, or deaf, or mute, but would that mean you are now exempt from God’s service?
D. Even when afflictions come, God is able to make good things come as a result of the bad things happening - Romans 8:28 (what kind of things? See Romans 8:35).
IV. God has always offered special protection to the afflicted and He expects His followers to do the same
A. The handicapped are not to be mistreated - Leviticus 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:18
B. Jesus ministered to the afflicted - Matthew 11:5
C. James 1:27 - Evidence of pure religion
V. We may not know why disaster strikes or when it will strike, but we do know that God can turn a disaster into a benefit.
A. It gives us a chance to grow.
B. It gives us a chance to show the world our faith in God
C. Never is a handicap an excuse to mistreat someone, nor is an excuse to say I don’t have to give it my all.
D. Because when this short life is over, there will be no handicaps in heaven.
Prayer (by an unknown Confederate solider)
God for strength, that I might achieve
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might to better things.
for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing
that I asked for – but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.