Do you think that the reason Asia had those earthquake/tsunamis resulting in such a catastrophic loss of life is because of God’s wrath? They are mostly Hindu, Muslim, and Buddist countries who don’t recognize the Bible as His Divine Word, and don’t recognize Christ as God’s Son, or Lord and Savior of their lives?
You ask an age old question that the wisest of men have trouble answering. That makes it about impossible for me!
Divine judgment is a certainty. Where, when, who and how is God’s business. We can only guess. We can make good guesses based on Biblical principle, but in the end, it is for God alone to know.
A few years back the big earthquake in California hit the pornography industry bullseye. Divine judgment? One could certainly argue the point.
Tragedy and catastrophe happen all over the world consistently to both Christians and unbelievers. When it happens on a large scale it seems to get our attention more.
Does a tornado that destroys and kills a Christian family mean that they were hiding some secret sin that God “got them” for? Maybe. Maybe not. Only God knows.
Deuteronomy 29:27-29 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book. And the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’ “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (NKJV)
My main point is that this is knowledge only God can know for sure. Just because a large scale natural disaster hit a non-Christian nation doesn’t necessarily mean God was judging them. Maybe, maybe not. One could rightly argue that “christian” America is just as guilty and in need of “judgment” as any other non-christian nation – we have the blood of millions of innocents on our hands, gross immorality and rampant hedonism.
Were the hurricanes in America this year a judgment? Maybe, maybe not. 9-11, the west coast fires, tornadoes, floods, drought… judgments? Maybe, maybe not. Only God knows.
What we need to keep in mind is a larger principle:
The world “groans” because of the curse of sin – so in a sense all natural disaster, catastrophe and tragedy is a sort of “judgment”. We would not have any of it if we were not by nature sinful, which “infects” all of God’s creation.
Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (NKJV)
I think these disaster should certainly serve to have us sit up and take notice of God. There is a “judgment” coming that NO one will escape. These earthly catastrophes will seem like spring rains showers compared to standing at the Judgment before a Holy God who WILL pour out His wrath in full on all those who have not responded to Him in obedience.
Romans 2:5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (NKJV)
Read Eccelesiastes. Solomon teaches us that the rain falls on all, the sun rises and sets on all indiscriminately. Yes, there can be no doubt that God executes judgment even now in various forms, but it is beyond us to declare with certainty something like “God send that tsunami to punish those unChristian people”.
Again, all tragedy is due our cursed earth, (Gen 3.17) so in a GENERAL sense, all our of pain and suffering is “judgment” for the sin nature of the human race. However, we cannot extend that to picking out specific disasters and declaring them to be the hand of God.
1 Chronicles 16:14 He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. (NKJV)