In today’s episode, Pastor addresses a question he is very frequently asked—“are natural disasters and pandemics a direct judgment from God?” Join us as we consider the vital truths scripture offers regarding our present crisis.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes With Pastor Lutzer.” Well, if you have been with us, you know that the study that we are doing has to do with “Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters: what is God saying to us?” A question I am frequently asked is, “are natural disasters a judgment from God?” Well, when we think about this, we have to realize that the Bible uses the word “judgment” in different contexts. For example, there is the judgment of death. God said to Adam and Eve, “In the day that you eat you shall surely die.” Adam and Eve died spiritually, and physically they began the process of death. Paul picks this up in the book of Romans and says, “as one man’s sin entered into the world, so death passed upon all men for they all sinned.” By the way, that’s why babies die. They have not committed any personal sin, but the fact is that they are born sinners. Because of Adam’s sin we are all under the judgment of death. Did you know that about 7,500 people die every day in America? If you take the yearly total, it is just under 3 million. I know that that comes as a surprise because most of the time we think that the only people who die are the ones who are dying of Covid. But there are many ways to die and death is inevitable. So are natural disasters—is Covid a judgment of God on sin? Yes, in one sense it is because all death is a judgment of God against sin. And so what we must recognize is the fact that all of us are going to die.
I remember Stuart Briscoe talking about the fact that he was actually in his home and there was a salesman coming trying to sell him life insurance and the salesman always said, “Now if something were to happen to you, then yada yada yada…” (and he’d go on) and Stuart kept saying, “No. What are you saying might happen to me?” “Well, you know something might happen.” And Stuart said, “I was trying to get him to say, ‘you might die.’” And the fact is that it’s difficult for us to face that directly. But death is one of the judgments. Now, I have only time to mention some of the others. For example, there is also the judgment of this world. Jesus said, “now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the Prince of this world be cast out. Furthermore, he who believes in Me has eternal life. He who does not believe is under condemnation.”So, there’s that kind of judgment. There are also personal judgments. You think, for example, of David who committed the twin sins of murder and adultery, and God said, “David, because you’ve done this, this is what’s going to happen to your family.” And he lost four sons as a result of that. I want you to understand that all sin has immediate judgments, some immediate judgments, and then many of these times the immediate judgments begin to crescendo as there’s more sin. Let me share with you a burden on my heart that has nothing to do with natural disasters per se but tonight about 30 or 40 million children will go to bed with only one parent in the home. That breaks my heart. But the point that I’m making is that this is a result of sin, an immediate result of sin. So yes, natural disasters—they are of course a part of God’s judgment and what we need to do when we look at Covid is to see that it’s a part of it too. And we even have Covid to thank for reminding us of the fact that we are going to die and it makes us face the reality of death and recognize that we cannot control our own destiny.
You say, “well, Pastor Lutzer, what’s the takeaway today?” Well, I want to go back to this business of sin and consequences. We as parents need to tell our children and our grandchildren, we need to mention to them that they can choose their own lifestyle, but they cannot choose the consequences. Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, but the consequences were out of their control and I might say much greater than they’d have ever anticipated. So yes, natural disasters are part of a fallen, cursed world. In that sense, they are judgments. And if you stay with us next time, we’re going to be emphasizing how they are a picture of something much worse to come. Now, I want you to recognize the fact that today we make choices, let us always choose to do righteousness as far as we are able with God’s help because remember the wages of sin is death, but always sin has immediate consequences. It is never a good idea to sin. Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope that you join us next time as we discuss how natural disasters are a picture of coming judgment, but as for today, you just go with God.