A Deadly Storm
On the morning of August 29, 2005, Katrina, a dangerous category 4 Hurricane, battered the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf coasts. Packing winds of 145 mph and an incredible 30-foot storm surge, the hurricane leveled nearly everything in its path. The city of New Orleans, with her suspect levee system and below sea-level topography, was most vulnerable. Under the strain of the gathering waters the streets flooded as the protective levees breached. Estimates suggest eighty-percent of New Orleans was under water. Thousands were trapped in their homes. Multitudes drowned. Chaos, frustration, looting, and rioting ensued. As the days lingered, the standing water, stagnated with water-borne diseases and pollution, fermented into a dangerous toxic soup. Soon a mandatory evacuation was issued. Headlines read, “CITY OFFICIALS DECLARE: ‘The City Is Destroyed’”. The combined loss of life and property make Katrina the most costly hurricane in America’s history. In the aftermath, many are wondering “why”?
The “Big Easy”
New Orleans is arguably the most depraved city in North America. Notorious for sin and vice, the “Big Easy” epitomizes the pride, sensuality, and irreverence typical of our culture. Mardi Gras attracts people from all over the world, culminating on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Over a million people flood New Orleans for this pagan festival. Casting off all restraint, revelers generally give themselves to intoxication, sensuality, and lewdness.
Bourbon Street, deep in the heart of the French Quarter, is the most famous street in New Orleans. Known for its perversion, drunkenness, and debauchery, the street is home to an endless array of barrooms, strip-clubs, and sleazy gift shops.
Voodoo, witchcraft, and the occult are popular attractions in the city as well. An annual music concert titles itself the “Voodoo Festival”. Likewise, on any given day, soothsayers, fire-eaters, crystal-ball gazers, and tarot card readers can be found “setting up shop” in Jackson Square.
“Girls Gone Wild”, as well as a host of similar offshoots, has its origins in New Orleans.
Southern Decadence, one of the largest and most vulgar homosexual events in the world, is annually celebrated in New Orleans every Labor Day weekend (Katrina made landfall just 2 days before Decadence was scheduled to begin). Sodomites fill the French Quarter, flaunting their deviance and promoting their unnatural lifestyle.
One of the most violent cities in America, New Orleans has been the nation’s murder capitol multiple times. Along with violence, there are epidemic problems with drug addiction, crime, abortion (baby-killing), and gambling.
The politics of the city is no better than its entertainment. Generations of city leaders have ignored and refused God’s law so as to profit from the anti-God, pro-sin philosophy of the “Big Easy.” Typical of the arrogance and hardness of the city leadership, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin angrily blasphemed God on public radio only days after Katrinaravished the city.
On the Mississippi coast, just east of New Orleans, Biloxi, Gulfport, and Long Beach, felt Katrina’s wrath as well. Their gambling casinos, associated with organized crime, prostitution and exploitation bring an estimated $500,000 in taxes each day for their state.
Nahum 1:2-3 God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm…
Thus, the New Orleans region, riddled with brazen sin, crime, and violence, was ripe for judgment. With the abomination, Southern Decadence, days from beginning, a merciful and just God finally intervened. Using Katrina as an instrument of judgment, God answered the defiant cesspool of iniquity by sending divine retribution to a city apparently without conscience. His message? “Sinner, awake from your sin-drunken stupor, fear God, and make Jesus Christ your Lord.” Tragically, most will reject this interpretation of the recent events in New Orleans.
Where Is The God Of Judgment?
Even so-called leaders in the church are fearful to link Katrina to God’s anger against the sins of New Orleans. This is not a new phenomenon, even ancient Israel, when under the chastising hand of the Almighty, often rejected God as Lawgiver and Judge and was apt to explain away His judgments.
Malachi 2:17 Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?
Jeremiah the prophet, when challenged for His prophesies of divine judgment, reminded the people of God’s message throughout the ages…
Jeremiah 28:8 The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil (calamity), and of pestilence.
The Scripture is rich with descriptions of God as Judge. The Bible clearly reveals that God, throughout human history, has often sovereignly intervened into the affairs of cities (Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen. 19:23-24; Nineveh, Jonah 1:2; etc.), as well as nations (Israel, Egypt, Babylon, Syria, etc.; read all the prophets). To suggest otherwise is to reject God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture.
Psalm 7:11 …God is angry with the wicked every day.
Isaiah 30:18 … for the Lord is a God of judgment
Isaiah 13:11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
How Will You Respond?
Dear sinner, I urge you to consider the divine message unmistakably communicated through this catastrophic event. God’s hand of judgment is upon our land. Jesus Christ is soon to return. Are you ready? Make no mistake; sin will damn your soul. In His mercy, God is attempting to awaken you to your impending doom and damnation. As you meditate on Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans, remember the words of Jesus Christ as He urges you to consider yourself…
Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Sin is the problem. Sin is what brings judgment upon nations, cities, and individuals. Tragically, if you commit sin, then sin has become your master (John 8:34). Hence, you are not only under the penalty of sin you are likewise under its spellbinding power. Dear sinner, the problem with man is not merely one of behavior but one of nature. Therefore, the Bible declares you must be utterly changed (John 3:3). However, it is impossible for you to deliver yourself (Jeremiah 13:23) as sin has rendered you helpless, shattered, and lost. You are not only in need of forgiveness but you are also in need of cleansing. What will you do? Is there any hope? Is there anyone who can help? The Bible alone offers you this good news:
JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAVIOR AND DELIVERER FROM ALL SIN!
If you will be saved from the power and penalty of your sin, you must repent (turn from all sin to serve and follow Jesus) and put your complete faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. When Jesus died on the cross, He became your sin-offering, dying to free you from the bondage of sin. He, once and for all, stepped into the courtroom of your judgment and completely paid the fine. Then He rose from the dead, defeating death. If you want to be saved from sin and hell, confess and forsake your sin (Proverbs 28:13) and put your faith in Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation. When you make Jesus your Lord (Romans 10:9) you will pass from death to life. Now, go and sin no more, read the Bible daily and obey what you read (see John 14:21). God will never fail you.
Isaiah 26:9 …for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.