Thursday, February 23, 2017

HEBREWS 3:15-19

This begins with a repeat of what was quoted in earlier verses in this chapter,

"Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts,
As *when they provoked Me."
(*literally, "as in the rebellion")
(verse 15)

I would tend to believe that if something is repeated, it is something of great report.  In the current watery situation in our area, we went from a Mandatory Evacuation ("This is not a drill") to an Advisory Evacuation (pay attention and be prepared to take immediate action in case of emergency.)  Last night even that was lifted for most of the surrounding areas, though areas that were once considered evacuation routes are now under water.  It was once again deemed safe for our children to return to school.  However, reading the district's plans for sudden evacuation in case of emergency, was not too reassuring: putting students on second floors or on rooftops or on higher ground if possible (for much of the area, the only higher ground is a vulnerable levee.) I guess there are not enough buses to transport all students to safety.  Hmm. 

No matter what, from authorities to citizens, we were all on the alert this past week to listen, glued to social media, radio and television.  Having been flooded once before when we had not been forewarned and repeatedly told that it would never happen, we listened with a tad bit of skepticism from authorities preferring to err on the side of caution, desiring to be a step ahead of disaster.  Yep, we evacuated not once, but twice, coming home for a short time before leaving again.  

It is not fear to listen.  It is smart.  Those hard of heart put themselves in dire danger.  I just happen to believe that God's voice is even more important to listen to than local or state authorities.  Who wouldn't listen to God's warnings and instructions?  Rebellious, stiff-necked people, that's who.  The next verse both asks and answers this...

"For who provoked Him when they had heard?
Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?"
(verse 16)

Adam Clarke says, "'But who were those hearers who did bitterly provoke?  Were they not all they who came out of the land of Egypt by Moses?'  Should it be said that all did not provoke, for Joshua and Caleb are expressly excepted; I answer, that the term all may be with great propriety used, when out of many hundreds of thousands only two person were found who continued faithful."

Once again in our situation, there were some who, perhaps rightly because of where they lived, felt safe enough to ignore the evacuation order.  However, many stayed behind to cling to their earthly possessions at their own peril ignoring the voice of warning.  Having a son-in-law who is a first responder, who earlier had to rescue some out of the flooded river who ignored the warnings of the authorities to move to higher ground, it is clear that those who choose to rebel, not only endanger themselves but others as well.  They were neck-deep in the swirling dirty, muddy, swiftly flowing water with three times as many pit bulls and snakes and rats floating by as rebellious humans.  Hmm.  It was provoking!  And I'm not even God!  Well, you get the picture.

I do see a parable parallel to this Scripture being played out in front of our eyes.  Those living directly in the path of a failing dam structure do so at risk.  The floodgates are being maintained only by generators.  The forces of nature quickly caused dangerous erosion that could undermine the dam once again if the emergency spillway was to be used again making it a last resort. Their advisory evacuation notice has not yet been lifted, I don't believe, with the record rainy season not yet over.  However, there would not be time to evacuate from their location if it suddenly broke.  Even if they ran for their lives, traffic jams would not allow most to escape in time.  Tens of thousands could perish. 

I think I would rather go camping across a wilderness like the Hebrew children and live in a tent on higher ground than live under that constant threat.  Today, if you hear His voice.  Pay attention, very close attention.  Yet, we can take comfort that the days of our lives are already written in His book.  It is not up to the Department of Water Resources.  We are all only one breath away from eternity. That became even more clear this week in the midst of all this threat as we lost a dear one, only twenty-five, one who had grow up sitting in my children's church, one who had suffered too much tragedy in her young life, who died too soon along a highway.  Yet, it was her time.  That's truly what we need to pay attention to.  "Today, if you hear His voice..."

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