Monday, March 28, 2011

…And Then Came Euroclydon

“When the south wind blew softly, supposing they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea they sailed close to Crete…but not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon…and all hope that we should be saved was finally given up.” Acts 27: 13-14.

The above verses describe the journey taken by the ship on which the Apostle Paul was traveling as a prisoner to Rome. The journey began peacefully with a warm, calm wind and beautiful weather. But then came Euroclydon, a tempestuous storm that destroyed the ship, and which would have taken the lives of all who sailed on it, had not Paul been there to hear from God and guide them to safety. A peaceful start followed by the storms of disaster is also illustrated in the examples that follow.

The prophet Amos lived in Judah, but was sent by the Lord to the northern kingdom of Israel. The nation was in idolatry and going through empty religious motions in their walk with God as they experienced a false sense of security bolstered by a time of prosperity and national optimism. The “south wind was blowing softly” and in their complacency they were “at ease” and unaware of the judgment of God that was looming on the horizon. “Euroclydon” was coming.

The prophet Amos warned them as he proclaimed “the end has come.” But in their self-satisfaction, comfort, and prosperity they did not believe him. Nevertheless, within 40 years the Assyrian army invaded and carried them away into captivity. The southern kingdom of Judah remained, but the northern kingdom of Israel was no more.

A little over a hundred years later the prophet Joel spoke to the kingdom of Judah. The nation was experiencing a great economic crisis caused by plagues of “chewing locusts, swarming locust, and crawling locusts.” These creatures had invaded the land like an army and had devastated the economy, stripping trees and crops, laying bare the vines and fields, cutting off the wine, the grain, the fruit, and the oil. The water brooks had dried up and the land mourned. The people thought the worst had come. But into this context the prophet Joel stood up to proclaim that the current devastations were only warning “tremors” compared to the real judgment that was to come if they refused to repent and turn back to God. The big “earthquake” was the Babylonian army that would later invade and carry them away captive.

We as a nation have lived in relative peace, plenty, and prosperity. We have been secure thinking we were exempt from the troubles that plague the rest of the world. For us “the south wind has blown softly.” But recent national and global events have created a sense of apprehension and fear. We have seen how helpless we really are in the face of the power and fury of nature. 911 reminded us how vulnerable we are to human wickedness and to those who have malicious intent towards us. We witnessed hurricane Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, the earthquake in Hatii, plus other catastrophes and strange weather and natural phenomena that have taken multiple thousands of lives. These events came suddenly and ferociously upon people who for the most part were at ease and not suspecting any danger. Even now we see conflicts and distresses around the world, governments gone crazy with spending and debt, and the ominous clouds of severe global economic crisis. For the first time in contemporary history, Americans realize that these plagues can come to our own doors. For the first time we have the sense that our government itself will also be helpless to aid us.

We have “sailed” with the warm “south wind blowing softly,” and in that place of prosperity and security we have as a nation turned our back on God, laid aside His written word and the godly values taught in it. We have called evil good and good evil. We have honored the wicked and persecuted the righteous. We have killed millions of babies in the womb, and rejected God’s word regarding morals and lifestyle. We have continued in our religious ritual without stopping to really touch the living God our creator and Lord.

Is it possible that God may be trying to get our attention?

In his storm at sea, the Apostle Paul arose with a word from God that saved everyone on his boat. Maybe the church in this season should touch God in the same way, and arise as a light in the darkness and speak a word of salvation to a generation that is beginning to feel the insecurity of a threatening storm.


“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”   2 Chronicles 7: 14.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Samson

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