Tough Questions with RC Sproul


Bible Gateway

Tough Questions with RC Sproul

In the Old Testament, God brought
judgment against Israel and other nations
through catastrophic events. Does
this still
happen?
===========================================================================
Is
God still God? Is God still the Lord of history? The difference is this:
When
God used a catastrophe as an arm of judgment in the Old Testament, we
know
that his judgment was behind the catastrophic event because we have
the
benefit of the written revelation telling us that this was God’s hand
in
history. As we live out our lives and see nations suffer catastrophes
and
calamity strike people, we don’t know exactly what the relationship is between
those catastrophes and the judgment of God.

Let me construct a
biblical parallel here. In the ninth chapter of John’s
Gospel, the Pharisees
raised this question about a man born blind: Was this
man born blind because
he was a sinner or because his parents were sinners?
Jesus’ answer: It was
neither one of them. He was born blind for another
reason altogether. It
wasn’t done as a matter of course, as an expression of
divine judgment. That
text and the whole book of Job should restrain us in the
case of individuals
from ever assuming that a person’s tragedy or catastrophe
or calamity is a
direct act of divine judgment. Now, it may be. We see
countless cases in Holy
Scripture where God does, in fact, bring calamity upon
the house of a person
who has been flagrant in disobedience toward God. The
Bible is saying that if
we are guilty, God may withhold judgment until later,
or we may receive
temporal judgment in this world right now at his hands. We
never know for
sure whether the calamity we experience as individuals is a
direct act of
judgment or not. What is true of individuals is also true
of
nations.

I remember hearing Billy Graham say in a sermon a few
years ago, “If God does
not bring judgment upon the United States of America,
he’s going to have to
apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Remember, Jesus
warned the cities that heard
his message, Chorazin and Bethsaida, that the
Day of Judgment would be more
tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than it would
be for them. While we no longer
have prophetic interpretation of God’s
reasoning for bringing judgment, we do
know that no nation is ever exempt
from the judgment of God.

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