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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A Spiritual Take on the Victorian Disaster

Aug 3, 2020

We SHOULD be angry about what is happening. But how we deal with that anger is crucial:

I have much more time to write articles than normally: one, I am basically under house arrest, as are all poor Victorians; and two, I am once again languishing in FB jail (no wonder so many refer to it as FascistBook). So I have even more time to think and write – in this case about what is now transpiring in this Australian state.

While the rest of the country is basically enjoying normalcy, life and liberty, we Victorians are under the worst and most draconian measures yet. I of course could easily write a number of pieces examining the political nature of all this. I can, for example, rightly mention all the reasons Labor Premier Dan Andrews is largely responsible for this nightmare.

I could speak at length about the hotel quarantine disaster; the allowing of mass protests; his winking at Muslim corona hotspots; etc. Andrews is guilty as all get out, yet he keeps blaming us. Just one very significant quote here:

Tony Neal, the senior counsel assisting the hotel quarantine inquiry, said in his opening address on Monday that information already available to the probe suggests “the possibility of a link between many of the cases of coronavirus identified in the Victorian community in the past few weeks and persons who were quarantined under the hotel quarantine program”. “Comments made by the chief health officer to the media have suggested that it may even be that every case of COVID-19 in Victoria, in recent weeks, could be sourced to the hotel quarantine program,” Mr Neal said. www.skynews.com.au/details/_6173100995001

Mind-boggling! Sorry, it is not we the people who should be imprisoned – it is Andrews who should be in jail for criminal neglect. Most of us sought to do the right thing – at great personal cost – but it has all been undone by his incompetence, his bungling, his hypocrisy, and his lust for power.

But as mentioned, I want to offer some Christian reflections on this. And speaking to all the bungling, ineptitude and injustice of our leaders ties into this. The truth is, I and millions of others are angry – real angry. We are utterly incensed by how our leaders have basically caused so much of this disaster, and they still are not accepting any responsibility or blame for this. They are still saying we are at fault.

What also bothers me greatly is this tragic reality: because of these severe, over-the-top measures being taken, I know full well how many people are and will be suffering – and suffering greatly. How many tens of thousands of more jobs will be lost and businesses shut down forever? How much more devastation and ruin? How many more new spikes in mental health problems? How many more suicides will we see? And believe me these people do exist – I know some of them.

I feel their pain. I am aware of their torment. I think that if I am supposed to be some sort of mature Christian, and I feel the strain and stress of these harsh conditions, how much more those with little or no faith? We know that mental health crises and suicide rates always go way up during times like this.

Australia has 26 million people. Some 200 have died from corona. That is 200 too many. But how many more will die in other ways because of these punitive measures being taken by our governments? The truth is, we should care about ALL lives, not just some.

Again, I mention all this because it angers me. There is great injustice here. It bothers me when people suffer – often needlessly. It should greatly upset any caring person when the very bad decisions of our leaders have such a damning impact on ordinary citizens – most of whom sought to do the right thing for the past half year. But they are now being punished yet again.

The Bible repeatedly speaks about injustice, unfairness, evil rulers, and those who cause the innocent to suffer. We see this happening in Victoria big time. And Scripture makes it clear that there is a very real place for genuine anger over such things. I wrote about this matter recently – please have a read: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/06/21/anger-prayer-and-the-justice-of-god/

Image of Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness
Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness by Array Amazon logo

I want to speak to this a bit further, mainly by drawing upon one important volume that deals directly with this. I refer to Good & Angry by David Powlison (New Growth Press, 2016). It offers helpful biblical, theological and pastoral insights into the issue of anger. And what he says about the anger of God and how we can rightly mirror that is worth mentioning here. He says this in Chapter 9:

I’m persuaded that we can learn a great deal about ourselves and others by slowing down and taking an actual look at this thing termed the “wrath of God.” It’s the clearest example I know of how to get good and angry – and be patient, merciful, and generous at the same time. You will have to discard prejudices and preconceptions….

We’ve seen how anger intrinsically makes a moral statement. It is about right and wrong. It is about fairness. God is slow to anger, patient, and generous. But he also gets angry – really angry. At the same time, he is always fair. He is fiercely fair-minded. In reference to God, wrath and fury don’t describe a mere irritable mood or a momentary tantrum. They express God’s wholehearted decision to destroy things he finds utterly despicable. There’s no contradiction at all between slowness to anger and fierce indignation. In fact, it’s because God loves so intensely that He must get angry. “That matters . . . and it’s wrong!” Without such anger, so-called love would be a bland, detached tolerance….

It’s the same in both the Old and the New Testaments. Jesus (“gentle Jesus meek and mild”?) blazes with anger both before and after he tells us to be as loving and tender as God is with the people who make us mad! He says, “Woe to you, woe to you, woe to you”….

Don’t let any preconceptions you have about “the wrath of God” keep you from stopping to examine the inner logic of how God’s anger works. His anger always arises for a good reason. It’s never a fit or spasm or bad hair day….

He looks at the Ten Commandments and then says this:

When your anger is justly aroused, it operates along the lines of the Ten Commandments. Like God, you are displeased at betrayals of love. Selfishness, backstabbing, hypocrisy – all those things that anger you anger God as well. More to the point, the reason these things anger you is because they anger God. He describes us as “made in his image.” We are hardwired morally to know that some things are plain wrong and need to be dealt with. You actually work the way that God says you work. You have the capacity for just outrage because he does….

The things that naturally most outrage you, those things that most universally upset human beings everywhere, are the very things that the Bible labels “sin.” We aren’t often taught that “sin” is what you ought to get upset about – what you often hate automatically – because it’s what God always gets upset about….

The God portrayed in the Bible is no killjoy. Love makes joy. But he is rightly hostile to evils because true wrongs hurt people and kill joy.

So there most certainly is a place for righteous anger, or righteous indignation. Of course, how we express that anger is crucial. While that would be the stuff of another article, let me offer a few brief thoughts here. Turning our anger into prayer is of course vital.

I have been praying quite a lot lately because I have been quite angry lately. I cry out to God for justice, for vindication, for his will to be done. I cry out that he would have mercy on his people, and that he would deal with evil rulers. And as I have said before, there is even a place for praying that God will improve or remove leaders.

Scripture offers us warrant for such prayers, as in Psalm 109:8: “Let his days be few and brief; and let others step forward to replace him.” Indeed, the imprecatory psalms are all about crying to God for his justice upon evil-doers. See more on this important topic here: billmuehlenberg.com/2012/02/02/the-imprecatory-psalms-part-one/

So I pray regularly that people like Andrews will either be gloriously saved, repent of their many sins, and head down a new path, or be removed one way or another – and real fast! So as you deal with the just anger you feel over these very unjust situations, keep your focus on God and on prayer.

He will in his own time and his own way ensure that all injustice is dealt with and all those who suffer from such injustice are comforted and blessed – whether or not that injustice is removed immediately.

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21 Responses to A Spiritual Take on the Victorian Disaster

  • Important – and alarming – re Covid fatality statistics:

    In a US Congressional hearing last week inquiring into the response to the Covid-19 virus, it was stated that if a person dies of any cause – heart attack, car accident, murder etc – but has tested positive to having the coronavirus (and some 60 million Americans have been tested) that death is reported as being a Covid-19 death (i.e. dying OF Covid-19 rather than WITH Covid-19) . . as the doctor or hospital reporting a Covid death will get more funding for reporting a death as being a Covid death, rather than reporting the actual cause of death.

  • Thank you Bill for that article, it encouraged me alot, it is very true, Thank you!

  • Dear Bill, I don’t blame you for being angry. I would be if I lived in Victoria. From what I can gather the deaths there are in Victoria and of course these are regrettable, are mainly the very elderly from nursing homes who probably have other serious medical conditions so it is not as if thousands upon thousands of young people are expected to die from it.

    Daniel Andrews knows, as does everyone by now, that he has made some huge mistakes handling the pandemic in the beginning due to his pandering to left wing causes and he is certain that by clamping down really hard he will get on top of it and so make himself look better politically but the cost is going to be dreadful as you say.

    His whole attitude is arrogant in blaming the people for the spike in cases which just makes his extreme measures look vindictive and spiteful.He has chosen the absolutely wrong way to go about getting the co operation of the people.Six weeks is an awful long time for young people to be virtually shut away especially if they are not sick.

  • This whole coronavirus thing is being co-ordinated globally and is heading to a dreadful place, but God seems happy to let it all go that way, right now. Maybe He is trying to make everyone extremely angry; certainly there are a lot of folk here in Britain—including our dumb politicians– who think our current way of life is just peaches and roses, and are not at all upset about most of it. They ignore the fact that the British NHS has all but closed its doors on the ordinary person who has other illnesses besides CV19. People are dying due to lack of cancer treatment, operations, etc and suffering pains because they have to battle to see a local doctor. I’m already angry and have been for months. When are others going to realise enough is enough? Thinking of you all in Oz.

  • Hi all,
    This is well worth watching – 9 Doctors Speak Out (The Charlie Kirk Show):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR3O_82yP6o

    Audio only is here:

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/9-doctors-speak-out/id1460600818?i=1000486467489

  • Maybe the deranged, satanic left will somehow blame President Trump for what is happening in Victoria. Trump, Trump, Trump, it’s as if he is the only politician in the world to them, 24/7 non-stop, since they are so consumed with demonic and deranged hatred for the man.

  • I feel many Christians are saying “enough is enough” and now we are praying like never before! maybe that’s what our Lord intended, is for us to be shaken so we would earnestly pray like never before. Personally, I’ve been praying everyday & I’ve joined 3 different on-line prayer meeting groups. I truly believe this is a Great Shaking for a Great Awakening.
    Thank you Bill for your articles, they are fantastic and I really enjoy reading them.

  • So the shaking sifting will continues until Yeshua comes back. Is this the time we are in is where Yeshua is getting us to be less depend on the things of this world, and totally relying on him for all things. As we lean on him for he will sustain us through all the storms that will come upon us. Shalom lift up your heads for your redemption draws nigh.

  • Thanks guys. Even overseas commentators are shocked by the police state in Victoria:

  • Dear Bill, I too have been watching the Victorian debacle unfold with considerable alarm. Currently living in one the other states and being free to move around fairly freely, I am amazed that people still feel that Dan Andrews can be defended in this matter. However, in all of this kerfuffle, I notice that one player seems to be escaping scott-free:- When will my good mate Xi Jinping be held to account for this mess?

  • It’s rather depressing to think that the next Victorian State election is not due until November 2022. As you demonstrate with your video above Bill, commentators in other parts of the world are aghast at what our government is doing here. Here’s another one: https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/australias-draconian-new-lockdown-masks-may-induce-fear-response-o2-suppressionco Sayer Ji from GreenMed Info uses our own government health website to indicate how death numbers are fudged and how the so called “surge” in cases is simply the result of increased testing. Testing doesn’t give a clear picture of genuine infection at all. God cares very deeply about what is happening and He wants us to partner with Him in bringing about the change that He wants in our society and in the lives of the many, many people who don’t know Him. Pray and declare that His will is done on earth as it is in Heaven!

  • The other day I was reading Ezekiel Chapter 9:-

    Eze 9:4 And Jehovah said to him, Go through in the midst of the city, in the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men who are groaning and are mourning because of all the abominations that are done in her midst.
    Eze 9:5 And He said to those in my hearing, Go over in the city after him, and strike. Let not your eye spare, nor have pity.
    Eze 9:6 Fully destroy old men, young men and virgins, and little children and women. But do not come near any man on whom is the mark. And begin at My sanctuary. And they began at the old men who were before the house.
    Eze 9:7 And He said to them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out! And they went out and killed in the city.
    Eze 9:8 And it happened as they were slaying them, and I remained, then I fell on my face and cried, and said, Ah Lord Jehovah! Will You destroy all the remnant of Israel in Your pouring out of Your fury on Jerusalem?
    Eze 9:9 And He said to me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is great, and the land is full of blood, and the city is full of perversity. For they say, Jehovah has forsaken the land; and, Jehovah does not see.
    Eze 9:10 And even I, My eye shall not spare, nor will I have pity, but I will put their way on their head.
    Eze 9:11 And behold, the man clothed with linen, with the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as You have commanded me.
    (MKJV)

    What struck me was the two things mentioned here; bloodshed and perversion. When we had the last flu pandemic in 1918 it was around the time people were turning their back on the Victorian era and were entering an “anything goes” mentality and were embarking, or about to embark on, the bloodiest conflicts ever. Today we have similarly entered a time of the promotion of perversion and massive and unjust bloodshed through euthanasia and massive rates of abortion (in a time of peace as was prophesied), yet the whole conversation we hear about these issues, outside of place liker your web site, Bill, is as if God did not exist.

    When we read passages like Romans 8:22-26 and 2 Peter 2:6-8 we see that righteous people do groan within over a fallen world and that unspeakable groaning within us actually results in the Holy Spirit making intercession for us. It is right that righteous men should be groaning internally over the wickedness and blasphemies against God.

  • Thank you Bill for this article. It seems to me that most people including christians are joyfully accepting the lock down because they truly believe the government has the power to make rules that will save us from dying.
    Fear of death & our mortality seems to trump everthing.I even had to front up to HR at work for saying the media was driving fear, anger & probably greed, & we needed to comes to terms with the fact we will all die unless Jesus returns so we need to trust God rather than man.

  • Until the church awakens we will get nowhere. Even some who are awake won’t fight in whatever way they can.

    I remember years back the left going apoplectic over Christians using that verse concerning Obama.

  • I wonder when Dan Andrews signed up for the Chinese Belt and Road program he would have ever imagined his first installment would be the Wuhan Belt, aka CPC virus.

  • One of the big problems is peoples honesty – lying is becoming the norm. Trouble is it starts at the top if leaders do not tell the truth the rest will follow.

  • The thing I hate on the lying front is when we ask questions implying we want to be lied too. how many wives when asking “does this make my butt look big” REALLY want the truth?? lying has become second nature to us because we want to spare people feelings. how many christians say someone is in heaven despite knowing ZERO about what that person believed just to comfort a loved one of that person???? or worse knowing they were NOT christian but they were a “good person”. and it starts at the pulpit how many preachers over the years have preached one thing and done another?? How many preachers excuse lying in their midst?? How many call the ones lying in and talk with them about it or at the very least preach a good sermon about lying and its effects and God’s views on lying even “little white lies”???? parents are guilty too. you take your 13 yo son to a movie notice that kids 12 and under are half price and whisper to him “say you’re twelve”. Gossip is BIG in the church and how much gossip is just lies?? Face it honesty offends sometimes. Honesty can make us uncomfortable sometimes. Honesty can cost money sometimes. Honesty is NOT the path of least resistance. Honesty is not popular. Honesty defies the modern definition of love. But honesty is perfectly fitting God’s definition of love. Honesty is the narrow path and the straight gate. With honest people you always know where you stand. You don’t have to wonder if they are just saying that or purposely misleading you. They say what they mean and mean what they say. some will say yo are honest to a fault but honesty is NO fault. There are no white lies or small/little lies. A little bit pregnant IS pregnant. A little lie IS a lie. All LIES matter!

  • Thanks Bill. How tragic is the exponential harm being done to those suffering mental affliction? How much suffering for those experiencing loneliness, debility, inability to buy food (due to fear of traveling on public transport), for those living with violent and abusive others (particularly children). This is incalculable. Some of us see our need to be the adult in the room, the rock for our family and friends, but what does it look like? An uncomplaining and compliant mother determining to maintain peace in the home by pretending the illogical and radical impositions are in the interests of society? Or a father who defines the line between a free society that has to share sacrifice for the sake of a few, and a state where authorities are punishing the compliant but dismissing the deliberate offences of the guilty? This father, in his attempt to raise alarm over the double standards, is putting his reputation on the line, as well as his authority at home because he can be blamed for his civil disobedience. Did Diettrich Bonhoeffer regret not having taken a stand a decade earlier, when together with a hundred others like him, they might’ve tweaked the conscience of a much greater portion of society? But then again this was Germany where ‘orders are orders’ where that attitude ‘ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die’ is the law written in stone.

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