Natural Disasters As Divine Punishment?

So, I have to admit, this morning when I got home from church, I started surfing the internet to see if there were any comments regarding the recent earthquake in Chile and how that related to God’s act of judgment, like that of the earthquake in Haiti.  Had I been thinking, I would have posted this after the earthquake in Haiti.  Fortunately, there was nothing substantive on the net and this post fits in well.

Why would I go actively search?  Obviously I needed a good post for today, but also because as I was sitting in church listing to a descent sermon on Luke 13, it struck me.   Today’s text was Luke 13:1-9.  The part that struck me was the first part of this text, Luke 13:1-5:

There were some present at that very time who told [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

The study note in my The Lutheran Study Bible has this to say:

Jesus points out tragedies as occasions for self-examination and reflection on our sinful frailty.  Contrary to popular thought, tragedy does not always strike people because they somehow deserve it.  Rather, in His wisdom God allows and uses even tragic events to warn of judgment, that He might bring us to repentance and eternal life through faith in Jesus. (TLSB, 1743)

To quote Luther, “This is most certainly true.”

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