Friday, December 31, 2004

Did God judge "those people"?

I saw someone speculate that the dreadful Indonesian tsunami, coming as it did right after Christmas, might be the judgment of God on their pagan culture. Other opinions I've seen have run the gamut from seeing this as a challenge to the goodness of God, to denying that God had any hand at all, either because He doesn't concern Himself with such matters, or because Satan actually did it.

I think all these perspectives are mistaken, to one degree or another.

It is true that God is sovereign over literally everything, including natural phenomena (Psalm 29:3; 115:3; Jeremiah 10:10). It is also true that national sin can bring national judgment, even among "heathen" nations (i.e. nations other than Israel; Genesis 15:16; Proverbs 14:34; Amos 1—2, etc. ad inf.).

However, I would not attach any such one-for-one significance to these calamities, lest I fall under the judgment incurred by Job's three "friends," who thought they could interpret every act of Providence — for others.

Here is one reason why I am reluctant: another Biblical principle is this, and you may make bank on it: the greater the privilege, the greater the responsibility (Amos 3:2; Luke 12:48; Romans 2:1-2).

I say that to say this: if any nations on earth today deserve complete eradication because of their deliberate, defiant and arrogant rejection of abundantly-available truth from God, America would have to be right at the top of the list.

So let's not point fingers. Instead, let's humble ourselves, repent, and get to faith-born work.

1 comment:

Ted said...

Good post, Dan. Right on the money. My only other comment would be that it would be good for us to pray for -- and have compassion upon -- the Indonesians who are suffering from this catastrophe. They are surely in need of both (our prayers and compassion) at this time.

With Christ's love (and mine, too!),
Ted