Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ignoring the Fire Alarm

“When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warnings, they could have saved their lives.” Ezekiel 33:3-5

Watching the news last night I heard the broadcaster warning the people in California to evacuate due to the raging fires that have doubled in size during the past 24 hours. They were reporting that although many cautions had been delivered, still five people had refused to leave and were now trapped. They did not heed the warning.

Several times I have been in a Mall when the fire alarm rings. It always amazes me all the people who carry on as if that siren isn’t even sounding. They ignore it completely. Even the sales clerks don’t bat an eye.

I remember watching the news one evening and being shocked to see the response of some people in regards to Hurricane Ike. Despite warnings and recommendations to head for safety, there were those who voluntarily chose to remain behind and ride out the storm. Grant you, I'm not a 'storm girl', but if the experts are advising evacuation, well, my suitcase would be packed in minutes and I'd be gone. There is no way I would tempt the forecast, baiting it to be proven wrong or wanting to be hailed as a brave survivor. The residents are knowledgeable of the approaching storm, yet they are responding in foolishness. No way would I knowingly place myself in dangers path...yet...do I?

Danger is anything that makes you liable to loss pain or injury. Do I sometimes choose to walk paths of peril? Do words I decide to say cause pain? Do activities I partake in hurt others? I make some dangerous choices every day. I know they aren't God-honouring, yet I carry on regardless, allowing emotions, instead of truth, to guide my way. You may respond, 'At least they are not life threatening', but that's not true. God's Word says that the power of life and death is in the tongue. My destructive words can kill.

I heard a story once of a suicide note that was found. It simply read, "They said...." Apparently this young person could no longer face the cruelty and accusations that tore at her heart in silence. The childhood rhyme is only half true. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names do hurt us. Do not allow your mouth to be a weapon of Satan, leaving a trail of devastation greater than any force of nature.

Temptation lures in many areas, and I succumb. The winds that blow with gale force strength can demolish my character and beat upon the lives of others. A decision to follow Christ down a safe street is abandoned to indulge in a thoroughfare of trouble. Why? Because it feels good? Because I think my actions are justified? Because I have my 'rights'? Because it satisfies some sick sense of self vindication? The results of not heeding the Spirit's prompting can range from personal feelings of guilt and failure, to loss of relationships and disappointing God.

There's another path that results in even greater danger and that is a roadway walked in rebellion. Refusing to acknowledge that God is God. One day at His return it will be too late to change direction. No one knows the day, the hour or the time of Christ's reappearing. Unlike predicting the land fall of severe weather, Christ will come again like a thief in the night. Scripture warns of the gradual, increasing winds of wars and rumour of wars, giving opportunity for decisions to be made now. Those who choose to laugh in the face of approaching apocalypse, not ignorant of the truth, but ignoring it's severity, will find themselves tormented in a state of frantic confusion.

God implores, today, while you hear His voice, respond. (Hebrews 3:7-8) Do not harden your hearts. Do not reply in foolishness, believing you alone will be exempt from devastation. There will come a day when all will be judged, both the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5)

When warnings are adhered to, lives are spared. May this be a warning for eternity today. If you are not prepared for the sudden evacuation from earth to heaven, a decision today can change your life forever. Christ is the Eye of the storm. He is the calm in the center of life's chaos. Turn to him today. Like those who remain behind when warnings of approaching disaster are given, it is the fool who has said in their heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1). Let’s also be used to pull the alarm ourselves when we see smoke rising in the lives of others.

**Please know that my heart goes out to any who lost life in the wake of Hurricane Ike or the fires in California. It is not my intent to sound calous or insensitive to those who lost friends and family in these disasters. Please forgive me if any of my words have sounded harsh and uncaring. I realize there were some who remained behind serving as agents of rescue and protection. I just see a parallel between those who took a risk to stay behind, shown on the news broadcast I watched, laughing in the face of danger and those who are risking eternity by the choices they are making today. My desire is to be an agent of rescue as well.

post signature


elaine @ peace for the journey said...


very convicting, Joy.

We like to hide our open rebellion to God, calling it by all other sorts of names; and while my rebellion is often more veiled than others, it still exists. I've been asking God to weed those from me; it always amazes how quickly I give in to "temptation" rather than stepping aside and walking around ... or avoiding all together.

I love the urgency of this post, even though it's climbing all over me.


~Grace and Peace said...

"God's Word says that the power of life and death is in the tongue. My destructive words can kill."
This is so true!

Sometimes the problem I have, though - esp at work, is that I do keep my tongue from saying things but it oozes out in my attitude. Ugh.It's still not a good witness. I have to allow God to work that out of me, too.