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Grace Notes

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ON VOLCANOES, DROUGHT, AND OTHER PHENOMENA
by Philip Owen

   We easily forget that everything—from the course of a single life to the whole scope of human history—is in the hands of a sovereign God.  The rise and fall of political leaders and their nations, the upheavals of nature, the birth and death of one or thousands are never the result of random, meaningless, chance.

   The many troubles our country has faced in recent days also fall under the category of things orchestrated by the Lord.  We need to be reminded of the fact that it is not mere chance that brings apparent tragedy to a person or a nation; neither is it mere industry, determination, or goodwill that produces prosperity.  So we need to recognize the pattern that is developing.  The Lord is ordering or permitting calamities to fall upon America.  Furthermore, He is doing so, not because He hates us, because, we have not retained God in our knowledge.  Just as God has visited judgment upon every past nation or individual who has rejected Him, so He will do to America.  For He knows that judgment is the only remedy for apostasy, the departure from the faith that has afflicted us.

   It was not, then, just misfortune coupled with quirks of nature that brought volcanic eruptions of Mt. St. Helens resulting in loss of life, destruction of property, damage to crops, disruption of weather up to thousands of miles away, and expenditure of millions of dollars on mopping up afterward.  Nor was the Texas drought and associated heat wave with its wholesale destruction of crops and damage to livestock a mere unrelated whim of nature.  A similar phenomenon forced farmers and ranchers in the Dakotas to sell their livestock prematurely as well.  Furthermore, a recent meteorological report revealed that over 2,000 tornadoes had occurred in or around the Midwest during the same few weeks.  “’I smote you and every work of your hands with blasting wind, mildew and hail, yet you did not come back to Me,’ declares the Lord” (Hag. 2:17).  At God’s direction, the elements turn against a nation that defies Him.  And whereas once nature smiled upon our agricultural production, now it wrath is unleashed as God forewarns of impending complete national judgment.

   Nor is the warning confined to nature in the cloak of meteorological and geological abnormalities.  The seeming shortage of fossil fuels, persistent inflation, exorbitant interest rates, outrageous gold prices, the demise or terminal illness of a host of industries large and small—all serve as warnings to a nation that has forgotten and finally rejected His Son.  “’The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. . . .  ‘But now do consider from this day onward . . . from that time when one came to a grain heap of twenty measures, there would be only ten; and when one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there would be only twenty’” (Hag. 2:8, 15a, 16).

   Our list of problem is long—civil disobedience and violence, racial turmoil, including vast numbers of illegal aliens, drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, murder by abortion, increasing tax burdens on the middle class, wholesale erosion of our constitutional liberties . . . .  Still men refuse the truth.  People flock to California although experts agree that it is only a matter of time before a major fault there wrecks the state.  Even the inventor of the Seismograph, who presently lives in California, agrees with this assessment.  This, too, reflects purpose, for, as one media commentator expressed it, the strange phenomenon about those who flock to the west coast , and particularly California, is that they leave their religion behind.  I spoke with a man this week whose wife and son operae a travel agency.  “People are traveling more now than ever,” he said.  “They are traveling rather than eating.”  Men seek pleasure; they reject God.  Here is the warning of the writer of Hebrews:  “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. . . . ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’  This expression, ‘Yet once more,’ denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:25a, 26b-29).  Judgment awaits the world, including America; only those in Jesus Christ will escape.

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