The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O LORD, do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O LORD, that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah -Psalm 9:17-20
There is a story that on August 14, 1791 slaves in Haiti, in a voodoo (or voudou) like service, promised the devil if he would deliver them from slavery, the ex-slaves would serve Satan. Some historians deny this ever happened. Other historians say it really took place. Also, in 2003 Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide made voodoo an official religion. Some say this is all or part of why Haiti is impoverished while other nations have prospered. Haitians have gone from slavery to dictatorships and grinding poverty. Now, a devastating earthquake has killed tens of thousands. The suffering is unimaginable.
Hence, the question, is God judging Haiti through this earthquake? May I offer a few thoughts.
1. God does judge.
If you believe the Bible and take it seriously, you have to agree that God actively rules and judges in our world today. One of the most love filled books of the Bible also acknowledges there is a sin unto death (1 John 5:16). Revelation, the last book of the Bible, tells us of some of the final judgments of God on this wicked, rebellious world.
2. God judges nations both directly and indirectly.
At times God directly judges and punishes sin. He not only does this in the life to come, but right here and now. The same God who judged Sodom, Gomorrah, Judah, Israel, Babylon is present and in charge today.
Indirectly, God allows the consequences that come from sinful behavior. Like fire, play with sin and you’re going to get burned.
3. When God judges a people, innocents also suffer.
I’ve heard some say about disaster, “This can’t be a judgment of God, because an innocent child was hurt.” But that is incorrect. The innocent often suffer when the guilty are punished. Do you think there were no children in Judah when God brought his judgment upon them?
For example, a man robs a bank and goes to jail. His little girl is now without a father and she suffers greatly. She suffers emotionally and lives in poverty. It is not her fault, it’s her dad’s fault; but she suffers.
4. God does not always judge equally, and at the same time period. At least not from what we can see, from our vantage point.
His judgments are sure and perfect, but we cannot always see that. So God judges one nation, and another nation gets away with it. Or, so it seems.
One may say, this can’t be the judgment of God, because He did not send an earthquake to Nazi Germany. Well, God does not work according to your schedule or your opinions.
God judged Ananias and Sapphira for lying (Acts 5:1-11); but He does not always kill someone who lies. Else we’d have a lot more dead people on our hands. God works in His own time and His own way; without consulting you or me.
5. God sometimes leads a prophet to pronounce the judgment of God upon a person, a people, a nation.
A prophet told the Assyrians, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, John Baptist thundered the judgments of God. God used prophets; He still uses them today.
A prophet tells us things we don’t want to hear. He is not usually elected most popular. He is often hated and despised.
On the other hand, frankly there is a thin line between a true prophet and just being obnoxious. Scripture warns against false prophets. We are to evaluate them by God’s sure Word, by their fruits, by what other respected, discerning, Christian leaders say, and by the guidance of the Holy Sprit. Then it is left to us to discern whether that person is a true or false prophet.
It is wrong to follow a false prophet; it is also wrong to reject and mock a true prophet.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 19, AD 2010. Part 1 of 2