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“WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!”

Oklahoma is not unaccustomed to stormy weather in the springtime.  As surely as there is a rise in allergic reactions to all the “home grown” pollen in our state, there is also a rise in severe thunderstorms, hail, damaging winds, tornadoes, and flooding. This week has been a “nerve wracking, nail-biting, TV weather gazing, storm cellar loving, and siren-blaring” kind of week.  This latest round of rain has put our area on flood alerts like we have not seen in over 30 years. 

The first responders, law officers, EMT’s, Disaster Relief personnel, and a host of neighbors and friends have provided boat rescues, sand bagging, and open doors to those looking for shelter.  Many have been on duty for most of three days.  Preceding the storm, they were seeking to make folks aware of the danger and to encourage many to evacuate due to the likelihood of flooding. Some chose not to heed the warning.  During the storm, many needed various kinds of help including medical assistance, water rescue, and some physical assistance to get to higher ground.

All the trauma of the flooding reminded me of how horrible it would be to live without all the marvelous systems we have to warn us so that we can prepare for the storm ahead of time.  And, when the darkness rolls in where we cannot see, the eyes of radar can show weathermen where the storm is, the velocity of its movement toward a city, and the power it is packing.  Even with all that help and pleading to “get to cover” or “evacuate now”, many do not heed.

That is not unlike the warnings that God delivers before He comes in wrath.  He is patient to give every opportunity for men to repent and avert the disaster of God’s judgment.  But men are bone- headed and hard-hearted.  So, when God’s patience runs out, that wicked generation will experience what God tried to avoid.  His mercy is great but not given to be used to promote iniquity.  When we run from His mercy, we run head-on into His wrath.

For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark. And they were oblivious, until the flood came and swept them all away. So, will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Matt.24:38.

Gustave Dore, a great artist of the 19th century, has given us a picture of the Great Deluge which, once seen, can never be forgotten. The anguish and woe of perishing men and beasts in the days of Noah during the flood, he captures through his artistic skills with terrific and appalling power. Poets and orators have followed in his steps. But the scope and sorrow of the thing is too vast, too great, too awful, for words to describe. We leave it just as the Bible leaves it:

 “The waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. . .. And the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that crept upon the earth, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.” (Gen. 7:19-22.)

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We should learn from history. God is patient toward us, and would have no man to perish, but would all men to come to repentance.  (2 Peter 3:9).