All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:8).
Thousands of people have been rescued as residents found themselves on rooftops trying to escape the rising flood waters as Hurricane Harvey dumped 30 inches of rain in parts of Texas. Tens of thousands more are in line for massive, historic and record flooding with upwards of 50 inches of rain. This catastrophic disaster will have long term effects for local residents as over 30,000 have been left homeless and another 500,000 are seeking evacuation. Experts are saying that it could take years for clean up and recovery to be completed.
Hurricane Harvey is just the latest is a series of unprecedented natural disasters. This terrible storm is a testament to the devastating and destructive power of nature. It has decimated property, destroyed homes, claimed lives, disrupted the lives of millions of survivors and has caused billions of dollars in damage.
Anyone who has been paying attention to the news during the last 10 years will notice that large-scale, nature-related disasters have been increasing. Why? What is the cause and solution?
One thing is certain, even though humanity can predict with accuracy the arrival of these destructive storms, they don’t understand the significance of these events and their meaning for our day. Jesus rebuked sharply the leaders of His day because they could make good weather predictions but they failed to understand the significant Biblical events taking place in their time.
“When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O yehypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Matthew 16:2, 3.
The “signs of the times” refer to our standing in the greater scheme of God’s will and plans for our lives. And God’s word tells us that obedience to God is PREREQUISITE to receiving the blessings of favorable weather and environmental conditions.
In Leviticus 26 God lays down all the promises and consequences of blessings and cursing. For example, “obedience” to God’s commandments (Leviticus 26:3) will bring peace and safely to our land. God promises the nations that if they would obey that they would dwell “safely and I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid.” Leviticus 26:5, 6.
However, “disobedience” to God’s commandments (Leviticus 26:14) will bring natural disasters and destruction to the cities and land:
“And I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain…And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.” Leviticus 26:19, 20, 31, 32
God allows evil, and sometimes He allows for disasters to come that we might turn from our lawlessness. The Bible tells us why evil disasters and destruction come upon us:
“As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.” Daniel 9:13, 14.
“The Spirit of God is being withdrawn. Disasters by sea and by land follow one another in quick succession. How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property! Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man; but in them all, God’s purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger.” Prophets and Kings, 277
“God’s message for the inhabitants of earth today is, “Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:44. The conditions prevailing in society, and especially in the great cities of the nations, proclaim in thunder tones that the hour of God’s judgment is come and that the end of all things earthly is at hand. We are standing on the threshold of the crisis of the ages. In quick succession the judgments of God will follow one another—fire, and flood, and earthquake, with war and bloodshed. We are not to be surprised at this time by events both great and decisive; for the angel of mercy cannot remain much longer to shelter the impenitent.”Prophets and Kings, 278.
Because men and women are not reading their Bibles, nature is speaking to us, and not in whispered tones. God is writing in big, bold letters on the wall of our generation. God will arouse the inhabitants of the world even through destructive weather patterns, if necessary. These are messages that humanity needs to respond to. Human nature doesn’t seem to listen very well, but in times of natural disasters and crisis everyone is listening, wondering and reflecting. The only question is, are we truly prepared to listen and respond?