So, You Think This is Hot!
What a summer this has been! The heat… the smoke! It’s definitely one for the record books. I for one can’t recall ever seeing such extreme temperatures so early and so consistently day after day. As a preacher I am tempted to use it to a preaching advantage and proclaim, “You think it is hot here! Just Wait! Hell will make these days seem like a walk along a babbling brook with the cool, evening, breezes caressing your face!
Sadly these brutally hot days have not only scorched our lawns, gardens and crops, they have put a real crimp in our enjoyment of summer. In fact, many of us have already been overheard expressing our longing for the colder temps of winter!
The irony of our hot, blistery, weather is that elsewhere in the world, for example Europe and parts of Asia, whole communities are being flooded out. Not all the flooding is being caused by torrential rains, however. but in some areas huge dams are bursting. Here drought, heat and fires are giving us a taste of hell and in those regions great suffering and even death are being caused by massive amounts of water. What’s a person supposed to think?
Some are trying to scare us into believing that all these weather extremes and related disasters are further signs of the horrible existential threat imposed upon our planet by man-caused climate change. If this is true, then it has been the case throughout the world’s existence. The geographical record, as well as human historical accounts, agree that every generation has suffered from the effects of drought, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and all other climate and weather related disasters.
The Holy Bible, however, provides us with a factual and, quite frankly, a much more logical and scientific explanation for all the turmoil, hardship, and suffering that plagues our planet and our lives. First of all, God in His word assures us that this unpleasantness has its origins in mankind’s rebellion against God. As the opening chapters of Genesis spell out for us, God created an absolutely perfect and pleasant existence for the pinnacle of His creation, humankind, to live in and enjoy. God characterized it not simply as good but as “very good!” (Gen. 1:31). Not content to live in such a splendidly perfect world, mankind in his want for more; that is, in his want to be like God (Gen. 3:5), rebelled, bringing all of creation down with him, and as we experience daily, upon him. Our own sin has turned creation against us. Droughts, floods, fires, famines, storms, should not surprise us in the least.
Yet, the Bible is also quite clear that God still loves mankind and has not abandoned us to a fate of misery and destruction. Yes, pain, misery and even death have come upon us, but in His love for us our Creator has from all eternity devised a plan to save us from ourselves. It is spelled out in what we refer to as the Gospel. And that Gospel is masterfully and wonderfully laid out for us in this simple yet profound verse: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). In the person of Jesus Christ the Son of God Himself has come in the flesh of our flesh and in our own miserable human existence to redeem us from it. He did so by being torn down Himself on the cross in our place under the wrath of God against our disobedience to redeem us eternally from His condemnation and all eternal suffering.
In His this same love for us, God sees a very good and eternal purpose for us to temporarily experience some of the harsh consequences of our sin; i.e. plagues, droughts, floods, etc. Weather disasters, like all other forms of suffering in this fallen world, are but foretastes of the ultimate and eternal judgment to come upon all who reject our God and Creator and His plan of salvation for sinners given us in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. In order that sinners like us not be continually separated from God and His love, we need more than a wake-up call once in a while. We are desperately in need of pointed and harsh calls to repentance to turn back to God that we might repent and be saved from the eternal wrath to come. Jesus said in response to those questioning Him about the rationale and purpose of the various disasters in their day, “I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).
God also assures that every earthly and temporal trial serves to highlight His true grace toward us as in them we experience but a mere taste of the hellish judgment God has spared us from in Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter writes: “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:16-17)
Dear fellow members in Christ, as we continue to experience life in this world under the scorching August sun, may the Lord through the Gospel of Jesus Christ keep us ever mindful of just how blessed we are in Christ to still enjoy true shade for our soul. Yes, we might be made to squirm under some hellish heat from time to time, but how refreshing in the midst of it to know that in Jesus God has graciously given us eternal rescue from what is true hell!
In His Service,