A friend told me about a recent experience during which she opened a metal trash can outside and the grasshoppers in and around the can jumped onto her. She stated that she now knew how Pharaoh must have felt when God sent the plagues as a reminder that he (God) was in charge (Exodus chapters 7 through 12). This year we’ve had infestations of flies and toads of Biblical proportion and what I’m seeing now in regard to grasshoppers is right out of the Bible as they’ve eaten the leaves off several trees and, in some cases they’ve stripped off the bark.
As I pondered my friend’s comment about Pharaoh’s plights, I remembered that God instituted the natural laws by his power and by that same power, he can override them to remind us that he’s in charge and that while he loves us tremendously, we must live up to his expectations (Genesis 1:14-19; Matthew 8:23-27).
We should also recognize that, while God sent some plagues only on the Egyptians, other plagues affected the whole country, including God’s people of that time, the Israelites. Even now, he sends his sunshine and rain (and drought and national woes) equally on the just and unjust (Matthew 5:45; 2 Chronicles 36:15-23 – if no righteous people had gone into exile, none would have come back to rebuild the temple).
Do you ever wonder if America’s current woes aren’t a message from God to get back on the moral track our founding fathers intended? If the righteous of our nation don’t take a stand, we might also eventually be conquered and the righteous will suffer with the unrighteous.
God also uses nature to remind himself of his promises. Followers of the Judeo-Christian religions recognize the rainbow as God’s promise to never destroy the whole earth again by covering it with water (Genesis 9:8-17). He will finally destroy the world by fire right after Jesus comes back and removes the saved (Hebrews 9:27-28; Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Peter 3:10). God also used the lamb’s blood on the doorpost to remind himself to pass over the obedient Israelites with the final plague.
While Jesus could come back at any time, there’ll be no direct indications of his imminent return (Romans 13:11-12; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2; Matthew 24:4-13, 36-42). Things will go on just as they always have been and the only reminders we have of Jesus’ return are his word, his Spirit, and the Lord’s Supper during which we show forth his death until he comes again (see the passages cited previously; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:12-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). So, we shouldn’t be concerned about when Jesus will return; we should just be ready so that when we stand before him, he’ll see that our sins are covered by his blood and he’ll pass us over in the final plague of the second death (Revelation 20:11-14).
Have you become obedient to God in becoming marked for protection in the judgment to come (Acts 2:38-39; 5:32; Hebrews 9:11-15)?
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ