November 17

Lamentations 2; James 2

Thought from Today's Old Testament Passage:

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? (Lamentations 3:38)

Once again we face the problem of evil being linked with God as its sponsor or author…. Verse 37 appears to have Psalm 33:9 in mind, which affirms: "He spoke and it came to be, he commanded, and it stood firm." Thus everything must be permitted by the hand of God. However, woe betide the individual, the institution or the group by which it comes! Though God may permit the temporary success of evil and even use it for his glory, that still does not negate the wicked's responsibility for what they do or how they bring it about…. Our text, in verse 38, does not contrast good and evil, but calamity and good. Furthermore, it does not ascribe these calamities directly to God, but says once again that God must permit them for them to happen. Those claiming this is unfair should look to verse 39, "Why should any living person complain when punished for their sins?" As the theme of this section declares, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail" (v. 22). Thus, the Israelites' very existence bore evidence that God still cared for them.

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Hard Sayings of the Old Testament (Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1988), pp. 206-208.

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