A horrific tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, Oklahoma, on the afternoon of May 20th. The devastation was shocking to say the least. Other communities have also been the targets of storms of varying degrees of intensity in recent days. In light of these events, I thought it might be good to re-post an entry originally posted on December 18th, 2012, to help remind us how we as Kingdom people are to process these events.
Photo courtesy of CNN
I believe the Lord Jesus helps us out in Luke 13:1 – 5.
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
While Bible scholars are not entirely certain about the events that are referred to, the events represent the various kinds of tragedies we encounter. Pilate’s actions most certainly represent the evil that men do to others. The incident in Siloam pictures accidents and natural disasters. Both are tragic. Both have been the common experiences of people throughout history.
What is interesting is the way Jesus views these events. He does not try to explain them. Neither does He assign blame to the victims, to God, or to anyone else. Instead, He uses them to warn His hearers of a greater tragedy yet to come.
The Word of God is very clear that a Day of Judgment is coming. In speaking to the Areopagus the apostle Paul declares,
“Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:29 – 31
I know this is not a topic we enjoy talking about, but it is a day that is coming whether we discuss it or not. And we have to give it some consideration it because
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. Romans 2:6 – 11
While for some it will be a moment of glory, for others it will be a time of horrifying tragedy. This is a warning to which we must give heed.
Please Don’t Misunderstand
Please don’t misunderstand what is being said here. Jesus did not say the tragic events of His day were judgments from the Lord. In fact, the way He responded contradicted a widely held opinion that tragedy came as the result of a person’s sin (unfortunately there are many today who still hold this opinion). Let’s face it, stuff happens. This is life on a fallen planet. The shock and sadness experienced in the face of sorrowful events are mere precursors to the shock and sadness that will be experienced by those who fail to follow the Lord in the obedience of faith. This was all Jesus was saying. I am merely seeking to echo His words.
We seldom have time to prepare for tragedy. More often than not it catches us totally unaware. We can, however, prepare for the coming Day when God will judge every man by His Son. Jesus tells us how in Luke 6:46 – 49.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Here Jesus uses a natural disaster (a flood) to illustrate God’s judgment. The house that stood represents the life that was lived in faithful obedience to the Lord. We now know how to prepare for the Day that is yet to come. We prepare by living in the Reign.
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”