Let us take a brief look at the Book on this point. There's a long list of passages that, taken by themselves, at first-flush, do give that impression. But as one reads them in connection with the whole teaching he feels ashamed so to have misunderstood God's word, and really maligned, though unintentionally, God's character.
When Abraham and Sarah went into Egypt it says plainly, "Jehovah plagued Pharaoh and his household with great plagues because of Sarah, Abraham's wife" (Gen_12:10-20). The word "plagues" here plainly means certain contagious diseases common in Egypt.
The whole story tells plainly why. God's plan for the new nation hinged on Abraham, and even more on his wife, and on the family stock being kept pure. It was really an emergency in the human plan being worked out. And the broader story tells the process which reverses the whole impression. Still the impression is there, to the unthinking.
There's God's dealings with Pharaoh in delivering Israel from Egyptian slavery. One cannot go here into this whole story of judgment on the Egyptians for their conduct toward God, and toward these Hebrews.
That's another story, much misquoted, and often not thoughtfully read, and full of fascinating interest. It reveals in a notable way the natural process God follows in visiting judgment on wrong-doing.
But it plainly says that it was through "the hand of the Lord" in direct action that the Egyptian cattle were fatally diseased, and the Hebrews' cattle immune; the ulcerous boils upon the Egyptians themselves, and so on, through all the plagues that follow (Exo_9:1-12).
One notes, of course, that this is all a distinctly exceptional action, of judgment, in a crisis. It is not the normal run of things. Still the impression spoken of may remain if one doesn't think the thing out as plainly taught. And so there is a string of similar passages. (Exo_15:25-26; Exo_32:35, Lev_10:1-2, Num_11:1; Num_11:33; Num_12:15; Num_14:12; Num_14:36-37, Deu_28:21-22; Deu_28:27; Deu_28:35; Deu_28:60-61, and others)
There is one exception to be noted, quite distinct from all these others. That's the story of Jacob's hip being put out of joint.(Gen_32:24-32) One notes that at once that it was not a disease but a touch that affected the normal action of the body, his walking.
It slowed him up, and became a constant reminder that he had been walking the wrong way. And now, though his walking is slower, it is in God's way, the only right way, and is so wholly because of that strange midnight touch. There is no wasted motion now.
It stands out as an exception, at the extreme point of waiting by God, after all other means had failed. Jacob was an unusually stubborn man. It was for service' sake, and was in an emergency in God's world plan, of which this man was the human center.