Friday, February 15, 2013

Warning Shot

The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven,
burning like a torch,
and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.
Revelation 8:10

It came without warning today. A ten-ton meteorite entered the earth's atmosphere and exploded near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The sonic boom it created shattered one million square feet of glass. Almost 1,000 people were injured by the event. Most of the injuries were caused by glass shards. 

The meteoroid caused much fear throughout the region. Terrified elderly women pronounced that the end of the world had arrived. It's more likely a warning shot, though, a reminder that Earth is a fragile place to live; a planet awaiting judgment. 

But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire,
kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
2 Peter 3:7 

People have carted around "The End Is Coming" signs around for centuries. We've heard the message so long and from so many strange sources that it's become the object of scorn.  God's unwillingness to bring judgment upon us has been interpreted as weakness. 

But God always keeps His promises. All of them. Even the ones we don't like.

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way,
what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning,
and the elements will melt with intense heat!

Coincidentally, last night I read an article in Biblical Archaeology Review written by Steve Collins, the director of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Israel. The article was entitled "Where is Sodom? The Case for Tall el-Hammam." Tall el-Hammam is located near the Dead Sea in the plain described by the Bible.

Though not conceding the accuracy of the Biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Collins used the geography described in the event to draw educated conclusions as to the probable site of Sodom. His excavations of the site have yielded startling evidence of a horrific conflagration there.

The archaeological dig uncovered floors of a structure that was buried beneath almost three feet of dark gray ash. He described the debris as looking as if it had been put in a Cuisinart. The ash was mixed with pottery fragments, mudbricks, miscellaneous objects, and human bones. Found in the debris were pottery sherds with a glassy surface and bubbled in a "frothy" magma, indicating brief exposure to temperatures far in excess of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The pictures that accompanied the article were sobering.

Collins notes that in Genesis 19:24, the catastrophe is said to have come "out of the heavens."

I don't know how, or even when, the world will end. I can only read the Bible and know it's coming. 

This warning shot the earth received today is a reminder that God will bring this rebel planet into accountability one day. The age of grace will end and we will all stand before His awesome power. It's a serious wake-up call to get our eyes off ourselves and look to the skies, not in fear, but in reverence and awe. Since the day of His coming could be any time, what kind of people should we be? What should we be spending our time, energy, and resources on each day?

Where will we be on the day He calls for us? 

Today He still reaches out to His beloved world. He does not withhold the fire because He is weak or non-existent, but because He loves us so very dearly. 

But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens
and a new earth,
in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:11-13

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