Rev 8:8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.
The Trumpet Judgments of Revelation 8-9 and the plagues brought on Egypt serve a similar purpose. Not only do they affect many of the same areas like water, land and Sun but they are even called plagues in Revelation. In both cases they warn of final judgment and call on sinners to repent.
This gives us some insight into how we are to view natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and disease. God sends these things to mankind as reminders that life is coming to an end and judgment awaits. Under the trumpet judgments only a third of mankind die while later one under the bowl judgments all die. The bowl judgments picture final judgment where the opportunity to repent is past.
The reason this is important is seen in the way modern man views disasters when they happen as in the recent hurricanes of Harvey and Irma. In the past when people at least pretended to believe in God such occurrences would cause people to assume it was God’s judgment and they would wonder what they had done to bring such things on. Today when most people are busy trying to suppress the knowledge of God they either blame it on “nature” or just as bad assume they know why God has sent such things.
On one hand you have self-appointed prophets who tell us that falling into certain sins is why God sends these things. The problem with simplifying it down to this is that such disasters fall on every other nation as well and has since the Flood. Not to mention that such disasters fell on nations even before they legalized certain sins, etc. So it might make for emotionally charged preaching but it comes up a little empty. Such things can’t be known with any certainty and so it does little good to speculate.
On the other hand I heard some misguided souls saying that the recent hurricanes hit Texas and Florida because they voted for President Trump. Few things reveal America’s inability to think through issues than such statements. If this is true then what are we to make of hurricane Sandy tearing through NJ and NY? Obviously God was punishing them for voting for Obama! At least now we know what is going on when wild fires ravage California!
No, instead, Exodus offers us a hint as to how we are to view such events in our life. Exo 7:4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. Exo 7:5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them." Over and over again the Lord tells Moses that he is sending these judgments on the Egyptians so that they will know who the true God is and what kind of God he is with the end that they would worship and obey him.
This is why such events are to be seen as warnings. They remind us that we live in a fallen world and a fallen creation and the result is death and judgment. It is to cause us to turn to the true God and make sure we are right with him and ready to stand before him someday. Those who call themselves Christians and tell us that God doesn’t send disasters but that is a work of Satan have no idea what kind of God the God of the Bible is. He is not a God to be trifled with. While he is a God of love, his love is seen in that he sent his Son to provide salvation from his judgment on sinners. Too often people take his love to only mean that he will let their sin slide in the Day of Judgment. Warning judgments should be understood that when God sends judgment on your neighbor, it is too late for him but you have the opportunity to repent. Such statements as we saw above are only America refusing to listen to God.
I was reading after Ligon Duncan and thought he made a great point when it came to how Pharaoh was viewing the Lord. It is clear that he saw God as just another god who could be ignored. He found out differently and I leave you with Ligon Duncan’s take on the God of the Bible:
“There is a passage in the chronicles of Narnia, when Jill is approaching the only stream in Narnia, wanting a drink. And when she gets there, Aslan, the great lion, is guarding the river. And she is frightened by it. And she’s trying to find out whether she’s safe or not. And she says to Aslan, "Do you eat little girls?" And his response is, "Little girl, I’ve consumed kingdoms, and peoples and worlds." And she continues to try and negotiate with him to make sure it’s safe, and he won’t give her any comfort. And finally she says, "Well, I’ll have to go find another stream." And he says, "Little girl, there is no other stream." My friends, there is no other God. You’re not going to be able to go and find another god that’s safer, another god who’s more manageable, another god who is more domesticated. There is no other God. He is the sovereign God of heaven and earth; and the only thing that you can reckon with in the midst of trouble, is that He is good. He is sovereign; you may not understand what He’s doing, but He is good. And God intends for us to learn His sovereignty. What an awesome God to, as it were, trifle with Egypt as He is doing.”