Lesson 5: Why Doesn't God Intervene?

Understanding Tragedy


Luke 13:1-3

1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

As I read that passage in Luke, I think that the real questions being asked are these: Why did God allow this to happen? Why didn’t God intervene? Why didn’t he prevent it from occurring?

Apparently some good people went to church to worship the Lord and to make sacrifices to him, but Pilate sent soldiers to break in on them, and the soldiers killed those people, right in the church, right up at the altar while they were praying. The soldiers just marched right into the sacred place, right into the Temple and killed these church-goers.

It seems apparent that the people are asking Jesus why God would have allowed such a horrendous act to happen. If there’s one place you feel God should protect you, it’s in church right?

The question being asked is: Why Doesn’t God Intervene?

The topic of God’s intervention is a complex concept for us to understand. We universally consider him to be a God of love, and He is. Our minds are therefore perplexed when we witness crimes of this magnitude, because we have incorrectly defined love to include the idea that we should never allowing something negative to happen to someone we love if we have the power to prevent it. That type of thinking assumes that one party is more deserving than the other, dismissing the sinful state of the one side while condemning sin in the other. God doesn’t view mankind in that manner.

Jesus said those who perished, did so because of sin and yet those who were spared are just as guilty. It could be argued that God did intervene for those who have not perished who are just as deserving of judgment in God’s eyes. In fact God does intervene with much greater frequency than we give him credit for.

From a Biblical perspective, we discover that God cannot always intervene for 3 basic reasons: The gift of freewill given to man, God’s Righteousness and the sovereignty of God.

Take away points:

God doesn't always explain why he allows specific tragedies in our lives, nor does he explain why he doesn't always intervene, but he does give us generalities.

Ultimately all tragedies fulfill spiritual laws that God has established in life.

Because of the gift of freewill, God must not always completely intervene. If God intervened every time I chose to disobey him, then I no longer have freewill.

Because God is righteous and just, he must punish disobedience; there must be an accounting for disobedience to his purposes for our lives.

God cannot be righteous if he doesn’t establish boundaries for us. God cannot be just if he doesn’t punish sin and rebellion against those righteous boundaries.

Some of the tragedies we face in life are consequences of disobedience or disregard of the natural laws God has established.

Man lives in a universe of cause and effect and the consequences of certain causes are inescapable.

Man's neglect and misuse of his own life has corrupted the stream of human life itself, and has left evils behind him which fall on succeeding generations.

The consequences of man's acts are not only directly physical. The social and political evils which they have created throughout history have left a gathering burden on the generations following.

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