It is the year 2017 and still, it never ceases to amaze me what people will do despite being warmed of what the potential outcome could be. With all the advancements made in technology, by God’s grace, we have come so far in our ability to warn the masses of impending danger. We are now able to provide advance warnings when it comes to hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, etc. with scientists working everyday on improving them further. All in an effort to increase the time people have to be warned and to respond.
Being from Atlantic Canada, I have never known the fear of a tornado, earthquake or any of the other natural disasters those of the more tropical climate have had to live with. That said, there are dangers to our climate that the locals have to consider, especially during the winter season. Extreme cold, ice and snow are an almost constant during the winter months creating real danger for those left exposed. Fortunately for us, we often know what is coming days before it gets here but that still doesn’t seem to be enough for some to make the right decision and I give an example to illustrate the point.
Now before I outline this example, let it be known that I do concede the fact evacuating or properly stocking the necessities may not be an option for some. The sick, elderly and those struggling in impoverished conditions come to mind first when thinking on this. I’m more taking about those who have the means to heed a warning but choose to do nothing; or worse, do the exact opposite.
In February of this year, 2017, our province was brought to a standstill. In a winter that was quickly becoming known for its lack of snow and cold weather, we were hit by a blizzard that seemed to make up for what was lacking all in one shot. With winter storm warnings a constant on radio, television and social media, telling the masses to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary, many still found the need to be out. With many stranded and in need of rescue, one city that I know of in our province was forced to fine those found driving on the roads unnecessarily.
Of all the ridiculous things I heard during this time was a post on social media of a person seeking to find someone willing to brave the storm to get food, coffee and cigarettes to a loved one stranded at their place of work. Now I have experienced what people can get like when going through withdrawal, but the thought of risking one’s life for coffee and smokes did have me in stitches. That said, the post does seem to speak to our passive, almost deliberate ignorance to those warnings whose intentions are to bless and protect. An attitude that plagued believers of the Bible as it does today.
In the time of the Old Testament, there were constant warnings of what would happen for those of Israel who strayed from God. In speaking on this to Moses, God states the following in Deuteronomy 31 v 20 – 21:
“When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their ancestors, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. And when many disasters and calamities come on them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.”
Like a child, there has always been a need to rebel against those interpreted to be telling us what to do or how to live.
In reading the scripture above, what stands out the most is what God says at the end; that our disposition is known. Disposition is defined as a person’s inherent qualities of mind and character. The implications of this are revealing. Our creator knows our life’s pattern as stated in Genesis 6 v 5:
“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Proverbs 27 v 20 highlights this reality in saying,
“Sheol (Death) and Abaddon (Destruction) are never satisfied, Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.”
For me, this helps to make sense out of what said to those of Rome, and to us today, in Romans 3 v 20 and 7 v 7:
“Therefore no one will be justified in His sight by works of the Law. For the Law merely brings awareness of sin.”
“What then shall we say? Is the Law sin? By no means! Indeed, I would not have been mindful of sin if not for the Law.”
With our weakness known and exposed, the law is there as reminder to us. Laws aren’t so much about protection as much as they are a warning to those may be inclined to break them; to do those things they know they ought not do.
Despite the warnings, if our disposition is one of sin and the death it leads too, one might be inclined to ask an obvious question, “Why try?” Thankfully the answer, as it always is, is found in Christ. Romans 5 v 20 – 21 states:
“The Law was given so that the trespass would increase; but where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness, to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In the revelation of sin we see how much we need God in Christ and even more than that, how dependable we need to be on him and how dependable he is. Being found in the eternal Christ, as it says in Romans 6 v 4, indicates that:
“we too may walk in newness of life. “
In closing, I’m reminded of the last time I was pulled over. In my rush to get to work on time, I hadn’t realized how fast I was going. In attempting to explain my reasoning for being in such a hurry, I had resigned myself to the ticket I had earned. When the officer came back and handed me my ID, he simply stated with a smile “Slow down”. He had had let me go with a warning and what a blessed warning it was. I was so thankful and even had the chance to tell him that when I had seen him again on the street many days later.
To reject a warning is to really, “reject at one’s own peril”, as they say. It has me echoing the words of one of Israel’s great leaders of old. Joshua 24 v 15 states:
“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
This is the desire for me and my house and I pray it to be yours and your household’s as well; both now and forever more.