Saturday, May 24, 2008

The voice in the Wind and the Earthquake

We have just been treated in the UK to the John Hagee and John McCain thing. While some of what Hagee was criticised for was simply historic protestant beliefs that the Church of Rome is apostate as a body, what most shocked many of us was his statement that New Orleans was wrecked by hurricane Katrina because of the sin of the city. Well, certainly all those who died in the disaster were sinners, but that is because all men are sinners, "For all have sinned."
And what about those killed by Cyclone Nargis in Burma, or by the earthquake in China? Did the cyclone hit Burma because of the wickedness of the nation? or were those who perished in Sichuan Province being judged for their government's oppression of their fellow-citizens?
What saith the Scriptures? We read in Luke 13:
[1] There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
[2] And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
[3] I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
[4] Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
[5] I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Do we see our Lord's point here? Yes, the earthquake and the wind are the voice of God's judgement, but they are not special judgements that have come upon those who have died because of their great sin, they are merely the in-breaking, as it were, of the wrath that is to come upon the earth, when the Judge of all shall come, and we all shall appear before the judgement-seat of Christ. So, as we look upon those terrible scenes of devastation, let us hear not a voice condemning only those who died, but let us hear that voice that sounded in Galilee, and that is now loud as the sound of many waters: "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." We do not want self-satisfied preachers gloating in the judgements that they suppose others have suffered for their sins, but men who know the plague of their own hearts, and feel the corruption within, who must look to Christ every moment for cleansing.
What, then, is the answer? How shall we escape in that great day? The Prophet Isaiah speaks: "a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." What mighty man is this? It is "the Man Christ Jesus", who is also "Over all, the ever-blessed God."
He is my Refuge in each deep distress;
The Lord my strength and glorious righteousness;
Through floods and flames He leads me safely on,
And daily makes His sovereign goodness known. (William Gadsby)

Here is the message to us. This world is passing, but Christ abides for ever. O that we could hold this world with a loose hand and be ready to drop into eternity at His voice.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Can you say that, reader? Do you want Christ to abide with you? Unless you do, you will face judgement for your sins, and who shall abide the Day of His coming?

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