Doctrinal Matters: Bible Interpretation
I had seen hail before, and had heard of its potentially destructive force. But natural calamity and the awesome power infused by God into His physical creation never seem threatening to us self-sufficient human beings until we are thrust into the midst of catastrophe. It is then that we are brought to our senses concerning our own weak, frail condition in the face of an incredibly spectacular cosmos (Psalm 8:3-4).
The storm came from the west, and was packed with torrential rain, high velocity winds—and hail. The initial marble-sized hail, which fell so thickly that the ground appeared white with snow, soon graduated into chunks of hard ice that were larger than golf balls. It was literally as if over a hundred people had surrounded the house and were throwing large rocks as fast and furiously as they could. Several windshields, windows, and awnings around town were smashed. Automobile hoods were covered generously with dents. The yard looked as if an army, armed with picks or spades, had assaulted it. I shuddered to think what would happen to the person who became caught outdoors in such a storm.
I thought of the seventh plague in Egypt in which crops, men, and animals were destroyed (Exodus 9:13-35). This affliction was intended to convey to the Egyptian authorities that “there is none like [God] in all the earth” and that “the earth is the Lord’s” (Exodus 9:14,29). God again harnessed hail’s destructive force when He assisted the Israelites in their assault and pursuit of the Amorites. He bombarded the retreating Amorites with such large hailstones that “there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the children of Israel killed with the sword” (Joshua 10:11). When God wished to symbolize the execution of His just and terrible wrath against the first-century persecuting power of Rome, He depicted a horrible plague of hail in which huge hundred pound hailstones rained down out of the sky on people (Revelation 16:21).
In every case, God utilized His natural creation to portray His power and presence, and to reaffirm the necessity of man’s humble submission to His will. Such awesome omnipotence merits careful consideration and recognition. Proper respect is due the Creator and Controller of the Universe.