Are Boston Bombings Another Warning From God?

Today, two bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Casualties are uncertain, but mounting. It was another horrific shock for America. I pray for those impacted by this bloody violence. Still, I wonder, is it possible that this is another warning from God?

The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
who can but prophesy?
Amos 3:8

In America,

  • we kill over a million unborn children per year, call it choice, but we expect God to save our lives
  • we made Fifty Shades of Grey (trilogy about sadomasochism) the runaway best sellers of the year (all 3 books), but we expect God to not judge
  • we care more about media celebrities and athletes than we do about pastors, teachers, doctors, and other helpers, but we expect God to provide for our needs
  • we think science offers better explanations for life than its Creator, but we expect God to enrich our lives
  • we try to redefine God’s gift of marriage, but we expect God to bless our families
  • we spend money we don’t have, personally and at all levels of government, but we expect God to prosper us
  • we glorify lust, violence, greed, and selfishness, but we expect God’s blessings
  • we divorce for no reason, commit sexual immorality for any reason, and push back God’s limits as out of date, but we expect God to strengthen our relationships
  • we spend our time and treasure on entertainment, but we expect God to solve our big problems
  • we trust in technology, neglect prayer, but we expect God to answer anyway

Why do we think that God’s judgment is not imminent? Amos, a rancher in the 8th century BC, saw similar problems in his nation (Judah) and in the neighboring nations. God sent him to give a warning to the nation of Israel in about 760. It was two years before a powerful earthquake (archaeological evidence suggests it was an 8.2 Richter scale disaster that destroyed several cities). Amos announced that God, the Lion of Zion, was roaring in warning, but the people paid no attention. Within a generation, the northern kingdom, Israel, was completely destroyed. In 722, Assyria removed what was left of its people and decimated the capital, Samaria. America needs to learn from this example or it faces the same perilous judgment from God.

Would God really send a disaster like these bombings as a warning to America? Amos faced a similar question about God’s chosen people. Certainly, God would not allow harm to come, right? God, through Amos, promised the opposite: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2)

Is a trumpet blown in a city,
and the people are not afraid?
Does disaster befall a city,
unless the Lord has done it?
Surely the Lord God does nothing,
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets.
The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
who can but prophesy?
Amos 3:6-8

What did that punishment (and warning) look like? What was God trying to do? Listen again to Amos:

I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
and lack of bread in all your places,
yet you did not return to me,
says the Lord.

And I also withheld the rain from you
when there were still three months to the harvest;
I would send rain on one city,
and send no rain on another city;

yet you did not return to me,
says the Lord.

I struck you with blight and mildew;
I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards;
the locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees;
yet you did not return to me,
says the Lord.

I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;
I killed your young men with the sword;
I carried away your horses;
and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils;
yet you did not return to me,
says the Lord.
Amos 4:6-10

Natural disasters, drought, famine, warfare – all were warnings from God so that the people would return to Him. And yet, they would not. Is America as ignorant and prideful? What if Katrina, Sandy, droughts across the midwest, the financial crisis, the Newtown shootings, and today’s bombings are all part of God’s warning to America? What happens if we still refuse to turn to Him?

Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
because I will do this to you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel!

For lo, the one who forms the mountains, creates the wind,
reveals his thoughts to mortals,
makes the morning darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
 the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!