On ‘Quakes and ‘Canes

I did a quick topical study of verses that included “earthquake” and other words for natural disasters in the Bible.  Here’s some of what I found:

Before sending judgement, God sometimes visited Israel and their embittered enemies  with disasters:

Isaiah 29:6

6 the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.

And who could forget the famous passage where Elijah encounters God in the cave on Mount Horeb?

I Kings 19: 9-18

9 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his faceand went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.

And in a similar account in Matthew and Mark, Jesus recounts disasters to come before the end times:

Mark 13:3-8

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” 5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

In the hours since, I have watched news accounts of the “Great Eastern US Quake of 2011.”   I saw frightened faces fleeing large buildings, especially on the heels of the upcoming anniversary of September 11th.  Panicked calls flooded 9-1-1 stations.  Buildings did topple in some instances, and property was destroyed.  Our mainframe of peace and tranquility was rattled a bit.

In the next news bite, Hurricane Irene was shown to be picking up steam and predicted to hit North Carolina’s coast in a few days.  Even the central portion of a state like North Carolina can be devastated by a strong hurricane.  Ask those in the Triangle with a memory of Fran from ’96–we know to pay attention to the warnings and take action.

Not that I am predicting that Jesus is coming anytime soon, but we do need to be aware that God uses natural disasters to get our attention.  All through the Bible He has sent fires, windstorms, earthquakes, famines, floods, you name it–to engage us in a “come to Jesus meeting.”   And it’s not just for the folks whom we think have turned their back on God; no, it’s meant for those of us who know Christ too.  Sometimes He sends it especially just for us–look how many times God used disasters to address the wandering hearts of Israel.

I think Jesus’ words above should strike a chord of awareness in us but should also comfort us.  The wars worldwide, the natural disasters on our doorstep, are all under his His control, His dominion.  Whatever He sends to get our attention also firmly fastens in our minds and hearts that yes, HE IS GOD.  He won’t spare us suffering, perhaps, but His power and presence will be enough for us to endure any calamities ahead.  We can count on His Word and count on His providence.

Remember the prophet Elijah’s encounter?  After the powerful wind, after the earthquake, after the fire–God Himself passed by.  God’s might was seen in His masterful control of those events, but His presence came in the form of a gentle whisper.  Sometimes He just needs to get our attention before the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit can speak to our hearts–

Question is, are we listening?

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

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Comments

  1. AMEN!!!! I was actually excited with the happenings yesterday, knowing that scripture is TRUE and we are in the times. Come quickly Lord JESUS!!!

  2. We can be excited, Debbie, anticipating that the best is still yet to come!! Thanks for your comment.

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