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Natural Disasters – God Speaking!

By Colin Peckham

     Have you ever tried to imagine what it must have been like to be one of the crowd listening to the prophets in Old Testament times?

    Take Joel for instance. He begins his prophecy with a solemn question: "Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?" He then goes on to give a perfect description of a devastating plague of locusts which blots out the sun, and leaves behind a desolate wilderness (2:2-3). As in Amos (chapter 4), the natural disaster was interpreted spiritually for Joel calls the nation to repentance. "Sanctify a fast," he says, "call a solemn assembly…. Turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning…rend your heart and not your garments and turn unto the Lord your God…. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord weep between the porch and the altar" (2:12-17).

    Who can forget the scenes on our screens when the Tsunami devastated Indonesia and other lands? Then followed the massive hurricanes in America and the earthquakes in Pakistan. And what of the famines in Africa? Are we hearing what God is saying to us? Is there a message from Joel to our hearts today?

    Weeping prophets produce weeping congregations as was the case with the late Robert Murray McCheyne of whom it was said that on a Sunday morning before he had even ascended the steps of his pulpit, the people were in tears. Broken hearts are fertile soil for the seed of the Word of God. May God grant that in this New Year we will seek Him with all our hearts and know His outpoured blessing upon us individually as well as upon groups, fellowships, churches, communities, and countries!