May 20th, 2013 an F5 tornado with winds peaking at more than 200 Miles per hour hits Moore, Oklahoma. Neighborhoods, stores, and schools are indiscriminately flattened by this monster storm which appeared out of nowhere. When warning sirens started blaring, thousands of people headed for shelter where ever is could be found. Sadly, many did not have time to make it to shelter, some were forced to take refuge in areas that were not suitable to protect them, and as always happens in events like this, some did not seek shelter at all. Loss of life results from each of these realities. It was a very sad day.
As I think about this tragedy, my mind is drawn to the many parallels between this story and the Christian life and witness.
If you don’t know the Lord yourself, please take note. There is a storm coming. The Lord Jesus has promised that He will return to judge the living and the dead. Are you possibly trusting in something that can’t save you when Jesus does come? Your good deeds can’t save you. Your religion won’t help you. There is no escaping this future outside of turning to Jesus before he comes and calling on His Name for salvation, confessing Him as Lord, and surrendering your life to Him through repentance and faith. Jesus is the only safe refuge from the storm! Romans 10:9 tells us “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Trust Him, call out to Him. Do it now, while you still can. Consider this the siren whaling to give you warning of that which approaches. I pray you take the warning seriously and turn to Jesus.
For those who are believers in Jesus, we are called to witness/testify to the world of the calamity which is approaching. Sadly, much of the “church” today seems to view our witness as simply an affirmation to the world that Jesus loves everyone, and many professing Christians have never been taught that the message we carry is also a message of impending doom for those who do not know Christ. This is a sobering truth for us as believers. Look what the prophet Ezekiel has to say about this:
Ezekiel 3:17–21 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”
God has given us the mission of proclaiming to the world both the warning and the place of refuge from the calamity approaching. If those sirens had not sounded in Moore, Ok, many more people would have died. If Christians do not sound the warning, many will perish. We must be the people who are warning the world to “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7). This is true not only for their sake, but according to this passage in Ezekiel, for ours as well. You see, if we are not out there warning them of what is coming, then either we don’t care if they perish, or we don’t believe it ourselves. Either way, this points to the reality that we are in great danger of facing this same judgment ourselves, because quite possibly we are not saved. We are not saved by our works, but our works certainly do evidence the reality of our salvation. This should lead us to examine our lives and our witness. Look at the witness of the Apostle Paul in Acts 17.
Acts 17:30-31 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
You and I have been called to the position of watchmen. So let’s make sure we are faithful to that calling! To the praise and glory of our Lord.