- The heavens opened and the rain came. Of almost Biblical intensify. All night long! It poured. And poured. One wit on Twitter wondered where was ‘ Noah ‘. Only to be answered laconically, by another smart aleck, ‘ Quickly putting together his Ark.’ .
Check out @vidokti’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/vidokti/status/864582653592391681?s=09
I, however, was determined to go to work. Don’t like staying home unless sick. And very sick too. But my staff and videos on Twitter warned against such madness. As the bridge that I would normally use to get to work had raging water just underneath it.
Check out @jovanthony’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/jovanthony/status/864452679476682752?s=09
All of this taking place in a previously dry river bed. Suddenly transformed into a threatening and angry mass of water. To the extent that another bridge further south of my intended route was, not just completely inundated with flood waters, but almost wrecked. Which was the fate of several other bridges in the rural areas!
Perhaps the flooding which took place in the same parish a few weeks ago, was a warning. Who knows! But this time the damage was island wide as a weather system took aim at our country and drenched us with many inches of rain fall. All happening in short time.
Predictable everybody had a solution. Fix the drains. Prevent informal settlements. Build housing schemes with floods in mind. Don’t build houses next to ” Big Pond”.
All good ideas.
But two ‘ conversations ‘, come to mind as I write.
” How can we fix our country”, I asked one of my patients as we discussed the latest vile act?
” Only judgement “, was the immediate and only response!. And that happened twice. On the same day! One proposing. The other in agreement.
Then this, as unusually I woke up at 4:00 am this week, and being unable to go back to sleep, got up, opened my Bible ‘ randomly’, and began reading:
Judgment on Moab
Jeremiah 48. The entire chapter.
And in particular: ” Moab shall be destroyed as a people, because he magnified himself against the Lord”. Verse 42.
But always, a God who is full of mercy, and who famously declared through His Prophet Ezekiel, that, ” I take no pleasure in the death of Sinners, but that they turn and be saved“, offered a Word of Hope in the midst of the revelation of judgement.
” Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days, says the Lord”. Verse 47.
And as I discussed this issue of Judgement with another set of patients, one of whom had a similar perspective, after the flood waters had receded and I was able to go to work the following day; and after I read about the judgement on Moab, my thoughts went to Abraham and His conversation with God before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
I don’t believe this! Have mercy. As I open my Bible to find the story about Sodom and Gomorrah, right in front on me is:
” The Shameful Origin of Moab and Ammon.”
How Lot’s two daughters ‘ lay with him‘. How they both got pregnant.
” The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab; he is the ancestor of the Moabites to this day. The younger one also bore a son and named him Ben-ammi; he is the ancestor of the Ammonites to this day.
So on to Abraham:
” Then the Lord said, ” How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! I must go down and see whether they have done altogether to the outcry that had come to me; and if not I will know……..
Then Abraham came near and said, ” Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked.. .
and began the great ‘ bargaining with God. Finally ending with:
” Suppose ten ( righteous) men are found there. He ( God) answered, ” For the sake of ten I will not destroy it”.
Now fast forward to the New Testament and to the Book of Romans, where it is revealed that:
” There is no one righteous. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
Therefore it means that the modern day argument about whether or not this passage ought to used to condemn homosexuals, or not, is ‘ missing the central point”.
Which is, that God in His mercy did, ” Come down to fallen humanity”. In the form of Jesus Christ. Not to destroy. Not to condemn. Not to judge. But so that everyone who believed in His Salvific Act ” The Atonement wrought on Calvary “, will not perish but have eternal life.
For all have sinned:
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Straight ” All bent out of shape “. Black, White, Browning (Of the Beenieman version or otherwise), Brazilian hair, bald head, Rasta, pork eaters, vegetarians, wearers of Rompin, bare it all dancehall or Carnival girls. Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, New Age.
Lying lawyers, corrupt politicians, and the narcissistic ones too. Gouging doctors, payola DJ’s, ‘ know-it-all ‘ righteous’ journalists, misbehaving pickney, four burner daddy’s, child abusing pastors….all have sinned. The great spiritual reality which is the essence of the Bible message!
But thank God for Jesus. Whose Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension reveal that: God loves humanity whom He created, He breathed life into us, He Redeemed us – From Sin and Death- by The ( Precious) Blood of The Lamb. And He alone will judge us:
For, ” In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31. A verse to which I was led to read.
So back to The Judgement story.
An excerpt from a message in October shortly after a young student ( from my alma mater ) was brutally murdered.
“Then at the Lecture I gave recently, Healthy Church: Healthy Nation, in the section ‘ Decisive Issues facing Christians Today, I shared an extended version of this data. Data which chronicled the dramatic change after I left ” Fervet”.
1970 – 152 died from homicide in Jamaica
1980 – 899
1990 – 543
2000 – 887
2010 – 1447 ( 2009 – 1683 the worst year on record”
The reality is that as a nation we cannot continue to murder and rape and create mayhem, with such impunity, and not expect these ‘ vile acts’, to ‘ rise up’ before a Righteous and Just God.
For those who would think that, after such an event like what happened last week, I commend you to one of the signature songs of the late Frankie Paul, whose picture is emblazoned across the front page of today’s Gleaner. ( May his soul RIP).
Fire dey a muss muss tail and Him think Seymour a cool breeze”.
For although God is indeed a merciful God and slow to anger, and full of compassion and mercy, and although He sent His Son to die so that ‘ all who have sinned ‘, should not perish, this is not a God who we can ” magnify ourselves ” like the Moabites and expect no consequences.
A warning which I was moved to tweet yesterday:
Check out @lucienforJesus’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/lucienforJesus/status/865374397032521728?s=09
So we thank God for the witness of the authentic, Bible believing, and confessing Church.
Otherwise God alone knows what would have become of Jamaica; one of the murder capitals of the world. And America, ( Trump is a distraction…not the real issue) which has exported so much immorality across the world.
And in all of this, day after day, this week, the words of this wonderful and challenging hymn, stayed with me.
1. O Jesus, I have promised
to serve thee to the end:
be thou ever near me,
my Master and my friend;
I shall not fear the battle
if thou art by my side,
nor wander from the pathway
if thou wilt be my guide.
2. O let me feel thee near me!
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
the tempting sounds I hear;
my foes are ever near me,
around me and within;
but Jesus, draw thou nearer,
and shield my soul from sin.
3. O let me hear thee speaking
in accents clear and still,
above the storms of passion,
the murmurs of self-will;
O speak to reassure me,
to hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen,
thou guardian of my soul.
4. O Jesus, thou hast promised
to all who follow thee,
that where thou art in glory
there shall thy servant be;
and, Jesus I have promised
to serve thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
my Master and my friend.
5. O let me see thy footmarks,
and in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly
is in thy strength alone.
O guide me, call me, draw me,
uphold me to the end;
and then in heaven receive me,
my Savior and my Friend.
O give me grace to follow my Master and my friend!