Jeremiah 14:25, NIV
“O Lord, we acknowledge our wickedness and the guilt of our fathers; we have indeed sinned against you.”
Throughout Scripture there is a constant pattern – forgiveness, restoration and healing always begin with confession and repentance. Isaiah said it as it is when he wrote to God’s people, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). And how do we get to that place of being cleansed so we can be white as snow? The first step is always to follow Jeremiah’s teaching and acknowledge our sin – or “our wickedness and the guilt of our fathers” as he expressed the condition of the people of Judah.
But how do people get to that place of acknowledging their sin if, as has happened in most nations of the world, respect for the Word of God is no longer part of the structure of either society or government? For once people’s consciences are so seared that they feel they can ignore the Word of God, and even be scornful of those who still respect it – as has happened in some recent legal judgments in the United Kingdom – it is only when their very lives are under threat that people may once again consider that there is a God in heaven and start to think about what their first encounter with the Almighty could be like.
We are living in days that truly are like the days of Noah – when the world has rejected both the love and authority of the living God and has gone into great apostasy. God still loves every single one of us, but how can He get our attention in days when the world’s noise has drowned out the voice of faith. You cannot trust in a God whose existence you don’t recognise, you don’t know or you can no longer hear!
When you are in a noisy place you need to speak louder in order to be heard. It seems as though this is what God is doing. He is speaking louder than He has ever done. I am actually writing these words as I watch the terrible news of another massive earthquake and tsunami that has devastated regions of Japan. The rest of the Pacific region is waiting to see what will happen next as the tsunami speeds on across the Pacific ocean. It’s too early to tell what the cost will be in loss of human life, but it cannot be small. New Zealand is only just beginning to recover from the massive earthquake at Christchurch which claimed the lives of hundreds – at the same time as the memories of thousands dying in Haiti are still fresh, and the Haitians are still experiencing daily the consequences of what happened to them.
The prophecies of Matthew 24 are being fulfilled at every turn and we know Jesus said that when these things happen they “are the beginnings of the birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8) of the coming days when the Earth groans under the strain of man’s rebellion and we know that the days are hastening on towards that glorious day when Jesus comes again.
What shall we do? Our heart goes out in deep compassion for the people caught up in the disaster and we need to be in intercessory prayer for all involved. But in the midst of it all the Word of God once again speaks through the earthquakes, tsunamis and all the storms of life to say, “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call on Him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). When God speaks it’s our responsibility to listen.
Prayer: Lord, we pray today for everyone who is caught up in the disasters the world is facing. May you be the comfort that the bereaved and the suffering need. And in the midst of it all may there be those who hear your voice above the world’s noise and turn to you in repentance to receive forgiveness and eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.