I believe the message of Katrina is that God is on His throne. God is in control. He cannot be mocked. He will not tolerate the division of His Holy Land, nor will He tolerate gross immorality that mocks everything that is moral and decent.
God loves our nation. He has blessed us today more than any other nation, but the Word of God says to those to whom much is given much is expected. And, the Word of God says God disciplines those whom He loves.
Another thing God’s Word makes clear is that when He sends discipline, the fundamental purpose is never to punish. Let me emphasize it, when God sends discipline as remedial judgments, His fundamental purpose is never to punish. His fundamental purpose is to call us to repentance so that we might be saved. Here is the way Isaiah puts it in Isaiah 26:9, “When the earth experiences your judgments, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”
I know that verse first hand because when I was fifteen years old growing up in Waco, Texas we had a tornado. It was the worst tornado in the history of Texas to this day. It was like an atomic bomb went off in downtown Waco. That tornado killed more people than in any other tornado in the history of Texas. It killed 114 and injured over 597. What I noticed for the next three months there was standing room only in every church in town because these disasters have a way getting peoples attention and getting them focused on an eternal perspective. The only problem is that due to our fallen nature it only lasted about three months and then people began to forget and the church attendance began to fall off.
With regard to the spiritual impact of Katrina, I think it’s interesting that the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, called for a statewide day of prayer. She said, “As we face the devastation wrought by Katrina, we search for those in need as we comfort those in pain, and as we begin the long task of rebuilding we must turn to God for strength, hope and comfort.” Those are noble words, but I want you to notice something, she made not one statement about repentance.
President Bush issued a Presidential Proclamation calling for a National Day of Prayer on September 8. He asked the nation to pray for the victims and to reach out to them in compassion. Again, those are noble words, but there was no expression of repentance.
New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas claimed the closest of all public officials in recognizing that Katrina had a spiritual message. On national TV he said, “You know, this all reminds me of Sodom and Gomorrah, and I’m beginning to believe that God has a message for us that maybe he’s cleansing us.” But, cleansing requires a response of repentance, something God is calling for from the whole nation and not just from the city of New Orleans.
No public official in our history has yet seen the spiritual implications of a disaster as clearly as did Abraham Lincoln when he evaluated the cause of the Civil War. In a proclamation which he issued on March 30, 1863, the President called for quote, “A National Day of Prayer and Repentance.” He made this comment, “In so much as we know that by His divine law nations like individuals are subjected to punishment and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of Civil War which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a people.”
Lincoln continued by saying, “We have been the recipients of the choices bounties of heaven, we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown, but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied, enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all our blessings were produced by our superior wisdom and virtue.” Lincoln then ended it with these words, “Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to fill the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us. It behooves us to then humble ourselves before the offended power to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
That’s the kind of proclamation we need today! But, the sad thing is we have become so secular and so pagan that if our President were to issue such a proclamation today, I have no doubt that someone in Congress would issue an indictment of impeachment for the violation of Separation of Church and State.
We as a nation have set our jaw against God. We are tempting Him to move us from judgment to destruction. Our God is merciful. He is patiently sending us one wakeup call after another. He never pours out His wrath without warning.
I want to call you to prayer. Pray that our eyes will be opened. Pray that our hearts will be melted. Pray for a national revival. Pray, too, for the hearts of our leaders to be opened to the significance of Israel in Bible prophecy.