What is going on and why?
In times of tragedy the same questions arise. "Who was at fault and why has this happened?"
first published 14/02/14
Back in the time of Jesus, a human tragedy hit the headlines. When a tower building in Siloam fell and killed
eighteen people the disciples asked Jesus what was going on. 2000 years later as the south of England suffers a deluge of biblical proportions we see the same question being asked.
One church leader with a prophetic ministry has responded in the context of the conspicuous silence emanating from most of the church.Writing for the 'Heart of Sussex' newspaper Rev. Dr. Clifford Hill asks: "
"What’s going on? Two thousand five hundred years ago the Prophet Haggai foretold a time coming when God would shake all the natural environment and the political, economic and social foundations of the nations. He said, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations’.” Clearly, the “little while” was in the context of God’s timing, where 1,000 years is like a single evening (Psalm 90:4)!"
Pointing out that the cost of reparing the water damage and the work of building protection into the future is likely to negatively impact on the economy just at a time when political leaders have been starting to talk about an economic upturn. The sociologist, clergyman and author states:
"The great storms battering our coasts and sweeping across the land are a precursor and a warning of the social and economic tsunami that will follow. The present storms are just a small foretaste and warning of what is to come, unless there is a major change in the nation."
Dr. Hill's comments reflect the mind of God through an Old Testament prophet. Facing national calamity the prophet Jeremiah reminded the people of God's warnings:
"If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed,
and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted,
and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it." (Jer. 18:7-10)
Progressively and relentlessly since the end of the Second World War we have seen our nation travel further and further into rebellion against the statutes of God. The laws against witchcraft were repealed, and abortion and homosexuality legalised. Many Christians now believe that the legalisation of same-sex marriage represents a watershed in the life and welfare of the nation: a tipping point in the very fine balance between God's mercy and judgement.
In Old Testament times the psalmist summed up the prevailing attitude in Psalm 2:
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
"Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us."
Yet regarding man's rebellion we go on to read:
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:
And of God's purposes through Jesus Christ:
You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.' "
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
Implicit in their question to Jesus regarding those who died under the falling masonry at Siloam is the disciples' thought that the victims were suffering judgement because of their behaviour but Jesus turned their question back on those around him:
"Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish". (Luke 13:5)
The finger of blame is being pointed in many different directions, but Jesus points it back to ourselves. The apostle Paul wrote:
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31).
The response then? Some scoffed: othes responded positively.
'When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject."' (Acts 17:32).
What will our response be today?