“For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.” Zachariah 11:6.
We are living in a solemn hour of earth’s history. What more proof do we need to see this? We are witnessing the end-time disasters and the distress of nations which Jesus warned about in the books of Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13.
We’ve seen the rare lunar eclipse that cut across America, the 3 historic hurricanes that destroyed Southeast Texas, the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico, the historic rainfall and flooding, the 2 deadly, historic earthquakes back-to-back in Mexico, the non-stop terrorist attacks in Europe, the historic wild fires all over the West, the threat of nuclear Armageddon by North Korea and the unprecedented violent civil unrest in our major cities.
If this does not get our attention, what will? We have always had natural and man-made disasters, some may say, but these were always occurring over a given period of time – months, years and decades. However, the disasters that we are seeing today are taking place within days of each other. This is the fulfillment of the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8) described in Scripture about the last days.
This is a time for soul-searching, for repentance and for seeking God with purity and holiness. This is a time for reflection and for a turning away from wickedness because people have died and souls are in anguish at this very moment. There are millions and millions of people in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and people throughout the Caribbean who have no home, no food, no drinking water, the gas, no utilities (water, light, sewer, heating, cooling) no jobs, no money and no HOPE! So many are in great need and want. This is a time of international mourning.
“The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Psalms 9:16, 17.
God’s word tells us that judgments will fall upon this world and that the wicked are bringing about their own destruction. It’s a time to plead to God for mercy and forgiveness and a time to recognize that our personal and national sins are the reasons for what is taking place today.
We need to realize that we as a nation have rejected both God and His truth and have embraced the gods of greed, pleasure and selfishness. We live in a culture that promotes sin, violence and evil as something good and worthy to be exalted. Others are worshipping idols, angels, the dead, pastors, prophets, popes and other men above the true and living God. We are witnessing in our day the righteous judgments of Jehovah because the nations have truly forgotten Him and His word.
“Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.” Psalm 50:22.
Judgments are the consequences of our decisions, just like drug addicts, alcoholics, gangbangers and the sexually promiscuous are killing themselves by their lifestyle decisions. They bring mischief upon themselves and the consequences and sorrow that follows can be seen as a punishment for their choices. This is the same path that comes upon all who continue in sin and disobedience towards God. Those who continue to despise God and His word bring destruction upon themselves. The same is true for the nations that forget the Lord God of Hosts.
“So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish.” Job 8:13.
Retribution will surely be meted out, sooner or later. This is a solemn warning for all of us. Those who don’t have time for God, who don’t have time to read their Bibles, who don’t have time for repentance or for instruction in righteousness and who don’t have time for prayer will sooner or later have their portion when God’s judgments are poured out.
“And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth: And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die. And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” Isaiah 22:12-14.
The Lord is very merciful and longsuffering, but there is a limit to His patience and grace. And even though God’s love pleads with all mankind, sinners make no good use of the probationary time given to them. Many will not see the error of their ways until it is too late.
“In every age there is given to men their day of light and privilege, a probationary time in which they may become reconciled to God. But there is a limit to this grace. Mercy may plead for years and be slighted and rejected; but there comes a time when mercy makes her last plea. The heart becomes so hardened that it ceases to respond to the Spirit of God. Then the sweet, winning voice entreats the sinner no longer, and reproofs and warnings cease” (Desire of Ages, p. 587).
God’s mercy is ever ready to do her work and bring us to repentance, even while the judgments of God are upon us. The devil tries to tell people that while they are being tried and afflicted that there is no hope. Yet we have the divine assurance that God is ready to heal, forgive and restore – only if we are willing.
“The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6, 7.
There is no sin too great or no judgment too near to death that God cannot raise us up from it. God can forgive and save us from spiritual and eternal death, so it is a light matter for Him to heal us from our pain, fears and distresses.
“Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing is so entangled that it cannot be remedied; no human relationship is too strained for God to bring aboaut reconciliation and understanding; no habit so deep-rooted that it cannot be overcome; no one is so weak that he cannot be strong; no one is so ill that he cannoth be healed. No mind is so dull that it cannot be made brilliant. Whatever we need, if we trust God, He will supply it. If anything is causing worry or anxiety, let us stop rehearsing the difficulty and trust God for healing, love and power” (Review and Herald, October 7, 1965, p. 10).