Acts 17:30-31 (NIV)
30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.
What a terrible tragedy we see unfolding before our eyes in Boston. It feels like another shot to the chin…a punch to the solar plexus. And the hits keep coming. I thought of the bombing when I read Paul’s statement to the Athenians. The days of “ignorance is bliss” had gone for them…they heard the truth and were now accountable for it.
I don’t know who placed those bombs or what his beef was…who cares, really. Sin is sin. Violence is violence. Cowardice is cowardice. And I don’t believe for a second that this was part of God’s judgment on our country. It was satanic. Creating bombs intended to kill and maim is satanic. But man-made tragedies like these also gives us a good snapshot of where we are as a nation… Actions have consequences.
The message Paul gave in Athens is similar to one Jeremiah gave to the Israelites many years before:
Jeremiah 7:9-11 (NIV)
9 “ ‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.
As long as we keep heading down this road of “detestable things,” we’ll never be safe. We can’t be safe because we’re headed in the wrong direction. We’re headed away from the Lord and toward danger. Things will continue to degrade. Then, in a while, some other nut job will do something crazy and we’ll all stop and ask ourselves: How did we get here?! And after a few moments of shallow introspection, we’ll move on…continuing in the wrong direction.
Safety lies in the other direction….time to repent.