Hal Lindsay has gone on record as saying that the devastating tsunami that hit Indonesia in December, 2004 was a judgment from God because of the horrific evil in those Asian countries. Interestingly, some Islamic clerics joined that chorus and other American ministers repeated the claim. Personally, I just can’t find that to be true.
The sex trade in Indonesia is horrible and is destroying countless lives. Pedophilia is rampant and "tourists" from all over the world travel to those countries to have sex with children. While these actions are abhorrent, does that mean that God brought the tsunami as a judgment on those nations? No. Here is why I can’t accept that position.
In the Bible, before God ever brought such judgments on a people or nation, He always sent His prophets to warn the guilty of what was coming, and when it was coming. Jonah was sent to Nineveh to warn them that judgment was coming very soon if they did not repent.
When Jehovah was going to carry the 10 northern tribes into Assyrian captivity, He sent Isaiah, Micah, Hosea, and Amos to warn them. These prophets were very specific about what was going to happen, who was going to do it and when.
When God was going to take Judah into Babylonian captivity, He sent Jeremiah, Habakkuk and other prophets to say that Babylon was coming, soon. Jeremiah even predicted exactly how long the captivity would last (Jeremiah 25-29). God did not bring judgments on people or nations without first sending His prophets.
Amos expressed it like this: "Surely the Lord does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7). This was stated in the context of the impending invasion of Israel by the Assyrians. To put it simply, God would not bring judgments without telling those to be judged what was coming, when it was coming and why it was coming.
The problem with calling the tsunami a judgment from God is that here are no inspired, living prophets today! The presence of inspired men, prophets, ceased in the first century, with the removal of the Old Covenant world of Israel, and the full establishment of the church of the living Christ. Jehovah said He was going to cause the prophets and evil spirits to cease, and that was to be when 2/3s of Israel perished in judgment (Zechariah 13.8-14.5). This was fulfilled in A.D. 70.
There were no prophets in Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. walking the streets warning the people to repent because a tsunami was coming, at a specific time. Retrospective "I told you so’s" do not qualify.
As much as we want to see pedophiles and slave traders punished, it is inappropriate to suggest that the tsunami was a judgment from God.