We’re continuing our study on “Pandemics, Plagues and Natural Disasters: What is God saying to us?” This week we take a look at two key lessons from scripture that God wants to teach us in a time of crisis.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us today as we continue our study entitled, “Pandemics, Plagues and Natural Disasters: What is God saying to us?” If you were with us last time, you know that we stressed that there are certain lessons to be learned and I want to give you two more very quickly. First, what something like COVID does is it delivers us from delusions. The delusion that somehow we’re going to live forever.
You know, Jesus told a very interesting story about a rich man and you remember the story of how he dwelt in a very nice place with very good clothing, beautiful clothing, and then there was the poor man by the name of Lazarus (no relationship to the Lazarus that Jesus eventually raised from the dead). But the interesting thing about the story, which I assume you know, is there was such a reversal of fortune—the rich man, ended up in Hades and Lazarus, who is poor, ended up in Abraham’s Bosom. The point of the story is that we are very easily deluded. We think to ourselves that the kind of prosperity that we have is going to last forever. COVID or some other tragedy comes along and delivers us from that. C.S. Lewis has a very interesting story. He talks about—in the Screwtape Letters, you remember, Screwtape is the lead demon and he is instructing Wormwood, a lesser demon, on how to deceive humanity and Wormwood says you know war is good for us. Screwtape, the lead Demon, says, “No, you’re wrong. In times of war people think about death. We would rather have people die in costly nursing homes.” And then C.S. Lewis said that the way to hell is really the way of prosperity and false delusions. I don’t know, but I suspect that there are many people dying of COVID in our hospitals today who are crying out to God because the delusion that they’re going to live forever, that prosperity will continue is finally gone. It forces us to think about eternity.
But let me give you another very important lesson, maybe the key lesson that God wants to teach us. But first of all a story that comes to us from Luke 13. Do you remember how Jesus talked about that tower in Silo and how it fell over and eighteen men were killed? And then Jesus said this, “do you think that these eighteen men died because they were greater sinners than other sinners in Jerusalem? I tell you no, but unless you repent, you shall likewise perish.” Now, Of course, the falling of a tower is not exactly the same as a natural disaster. But I want you to think of it this way, I’m frequently asked, are these judgments given to certain parts of the country or to certain nations as judgments? Well, we’re going to look into that much more next time, but I have to tell you today that from our standpoint, natural disasters happen randomly. We cannot say, for example, “Oh, New Orleans experience Katrina because it is a city that is more evil than say Las Vegas.” What did Tuscaloosa, Alabama do to deserve a terrible tornado that killed hundreds of people? But all along what we need to do is every time we see a natural disaster we have to say God is shouting from heaven, “repent!” Because if we do not repent, we will perish. That’s what Jesus is telling us today.
Now, here’s something that’s very interesting. There are many churches in America that no longer have prayer meetings with any degree of regularity. But when COVID came, suddenly they were on Zoom and other kinds of technology to have prayer meetings. Suddenly everybody’s crying out to God, saying, “we need God.” Now spiritually, we may have been sick as a church or as individuals and nobody cares, but let God touch our bodies and then we begin to cry up to Him for deliverance and repentance. What’s the takeaway for today? Very simply, it is this: is there something in your life that you need to repent of? Natural disasters of any kind are God shouting to us from heaven, “Unless you repent, you shall likewise perish.” Well, next time, we’re going to emphasize the fact that natural disasters are a preview of coming judgments. You’ll certainly want to stay tuned. Invite your friends to join us because we’re going to wade into some deep water, difficult water, but biblical water. I hope that you join me. Thanks so much for joining us today, and as for today, repent, remember. As for today you go with God.