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Are Disaster Victims “Greater Sinners”?

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Are Disaster Victims “Greater Sinners”?

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami—New Orleans’ 2005 Hurricane Katrina—Myanmar’s 2008 Cyclone Nargis—and now, Haiti’s massive 2010 earthquake. Were these random events, or was each nation targeted because its sins are greater than the rest of the world? A look back reveals the answer.

Learn the why behind the headlines.

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Hurricane Katrina single-handedly devastated the central Gulf Coast, using New Orleans as a punching bag. The city was virtually washed off the map, with people’s homes, property, possessions and businesses completely ruined or just gone. Lives were lost. A city of almost half a million people was displaced, with perhaps the majority never to return.

Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, fared little better. The panhandle of Florida and the coast of Texas have also felt the fury of raging waters driven by the fierce winds of these storms.


Possible Explanations

Some point to global warming, saying that man’s interference and meddling with the environment, and the burning of fossil fuels, have naturally led to changing weather patterns. They claim that it is to be expected, and it is man’s just dessert for ruining the earth’s natural state. Or, as some would put it, “Mother Nature” is getting even.

Others say it is just a normal weather pattern. In fact, many meteorologists definitively state that the last few years of these unusually numerous and violent storms originating in the Atlantic Ocean are simply the result of a normal cycle. Though they cause much damage, there is no mysterious cause behind them.

Taking a historical look at the weather, they point out that this recent escalation of severe coastline weather is nothing more than a normal weather cycle, which may or may not be “enhanced” by global warming. A few more years of this present cycle, they assert, and all will be well once again, as the weather pattern enters an expected calmer cycle.

But are they correct?

The Real Reason

Yet, there remains another possibility—one that many do not want to hear: that these incredibly destructive storms are punishment from the hand of a loving God who is trying to get a nation’s attention. Throughout the Bible, God warned that punishment would come upon the peoples descended from the patriarch Israel in the “latter days,” due to their stubborn rebellion and breaking of His Law.

Leviticus 26 has been called the “blessings and cursings” chapter. A similar account is found in Deuteronomy 28. In these chapters, God promises to bless the nation of Israel if they obey Him. If they keep His laws, commandments and statutes, they will dwell safely in their land without fear of enemies, and have good weather with just the right amount of sunshine and rain, and plenty of food.

However, if they rebel and break His commandments, then punishment will come in the form of failed crops, disease epidemics, severe weather, including alternating drought and excess rain—and, ultimately, national captivity! (Read our vital book America and Britain in Prophecy to comprehend what is at stake.)

Greater Sinners?

But why has the South been hit so hard—and why the residents of New Orleans in particular? Has God singled them out because of greater sins—because what went on in New Orleans and surrounding areas was particularly evil? Why not other cities across America? Can’t the same types of behavior be found in them?

Why not Las Vegas, home to every form of gambling, accompanied by every sort of vile behavior known to man? Or Atlantic City, another popular gambling spot? Why have New York City or San Francisco not received such attention? Surely, Los Angeles, with its famous suburb of Hollywood, the movie-producing capital of the world, has as much sin happening in it as any other city—right?

Fair questions. But do they have an answer?

During the time of Christ, some wondered the same. When a group of people brought Him news that Pilate had a number of Galileans put to death, Jesus posed this question: “Suppose you that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things?” (Luke 13:2). Obviously those who brought this news did suppose this, otherwise Christ would not have asked them this question.

He then posed another question: “Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?” (vs. 4). Were these people, upon whom such terrible tragedies occurred, somehow worse sinners than others and therefore singled out? If so, are “lesser” sinners off the hook?

In answer to His own questions, Christ said, “I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (vs. 5). All are accountable, “…for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Yes, all the same sorts of wrong conduct and vile behavior are occurring in virtually every city and town across America and in all the nations descended from Israel. The South has not been the sole recipient of a wake-up call in the form of severe weather. With God, there is no respect of persons (Rom. 2:11).

Fires have ravaged millions of acres across the western United States. Drought has turned once high-yielding farmland in America’s breadbasket into parched, cracked earth, unable to even support a weed. Heavy rains across the Northeast have caused their share of troubles—ruined homes and property into the millions of dollars.

Yet, this is only the beginning.

Unless the people of this nation, collectively and individually, repent of—stop—violating the laws of the Supreme Being who has blessed it above all others, that loving and merciful God will have to bring more corrective measures. He does not mince words:

“But if you [the modern day descendants of ancient Israel] will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments; and if you shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that you will not do all My commandments, but that you break My covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set My face against you, and you shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and you shall flee when none pursues you. And if you will not yet for all this hearken unto Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins” (Lev. 26:14-18).

The End Result

Sin is a reproach to any nation (Prov. 14:34). As any loving parent would do, God must correct His children, giving them time to learn and change. Tough times lay ahead for America and her sister nations in the near future. Together, they have some lessons to learn.

But there is also good news.

When they have learned the lessons God is trying to teach them, God promises, “Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her Sabbaths, while she lies desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised My judgments, and because their soul abhorred My statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God” (Lev. 26:42-45).

God will remember His covenant made with our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and will once again bless us, and in doing so, the entire world.

That time is coming soon.

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