Jul 2, 2016

Sound The Alarm!

Copied from "My Daily Bread" from JULY 7, 2007 (See Here)

"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for [it is] nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, [even] to the years of many generations." (Joel 2:1,2)

Alarms are of such value to us today. 

We have alarm clocksfire alarmsburglar alarms, and all kinds of high tech alarm systems, all designed to either "wake up" one from sleep or to "detect" dangers. They are designed to "give warning," so that one might thereby be "alerted" and escape threatening dangers"Sirens" are also a kind of "alarm," used to alert of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and other perils.

Alarms are meant to save and preserve life, to aid in preparation against possible lossThankfully Lord God has his ways to alarm and alert people! Lord God has given instruments of alarm, men who "sound" the alarm, who metaphorically "blow the trumpet" and are"sirens" for the truth, all in order to give "alert" and to alarm the unconverted and the spiritually and morally careless.

We ought to know when we should become "alarmed" and when we ought not to become alarmed. We are often alarmed when we have no reason to be. On the other hand, we are also often not alarmed when we ought to be alarmed.

It is a balancing act! This trying to "sound an alarm" about real dangers without appearing to be "Chicken Little" or guilty of "crying wolf," or of being an "alarmist." But, there are indeed serious and real dangers about which all surely need to be urgently and regularly warned.

Sin, evil, guilt, death, pain, sorrow, Satan and evil spirits, and the coming judgment of God, are things that ought to alarm all. These things ought, in themselves, to "alert" all of the seriousness of these pressing "dangers" and to heed the "warnings" and "alarms" given of the Lord.

"By them (God's oracles) is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward." (Psalm 19: 11 NIV)

The Scriptures are filled with warnings! 

If we took all these scriptures and put them together, we would be saying to sinners, to ourselves, in our modern vernacular, -- Watch out! Be careful! Warning! Danger! Look out! Beware! Caution! Attention! Be on the alert! Keep your wits about you! Be circumspect!

The intent of all these imperatives is to spur us to become more "alert," more "on guard," more "careful." They can scarcely be uttered or written without the exclamation mark (!), for urgency is integral to such warnings. Sinners also are in a desperate "emergencysituation, and to delay heeding God's warnings increase one's odds of being destroyed.

"From the time I brought your forefathers up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, "Obey me."(Jeremiah 11: 7 NIV)

Obviously the thing warned against is "disobedience" and "rebellion"against the Lord

We need to always be telling ourselves to "be careful"; And, not simply careful about driving our cars or doing some physically dangerous work. Rather, it ought to be a constant warning echoed in our spiritual ears about dangers to our souls as well. 

Notice how Lord God is the one who is giving warning. He is personally involved in the work. He has been faithful in giving out his warnings.

"In every case that comes before you from your fellow countrymen who live in the cities—whether bloodshed or other concerns of the lawcommands, decrees or ordinances—you are to warn them not to sin against the LORDotherwise his wrath will come on you and your brothersDo this, and you will not sin." (II Chronicles 19: 10 NIV)

God "warns" by various means. His word is the chief means. Those who preach and teach God's word and relate the warnings of God to others, are those who God uses to that end. All good leaders are they who have foresight of perils and who are able to give good warning."

Ministers of the word of the Lord are they who warn sinners about "sinning against the Lord."

"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. "Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself." (Ezekiel 3: 17-21 NIV -See also 33: 5-9)

It is sin to not give warningGod is bolder through Ezekiel about this matter. Those who fail to warn others of the dangers they see are accountable to the Lord for their failure and manifest their own unbelief, and of their doubt about the seriousness and reality of the dangers.

"You warned them to return to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys themStubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen...Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the warnings you gave them." (Nehemiah 9: 29, 34 NIV)

It is easy to go to sleep in this regard, to become careless, to get a false sense of safety and security, and fail therefore to "take warning" when it is given. We ought to be in the warning business, especially as the people of God. We both receive and give warning.

"warned you when you felt secure, but you said, 'I will not listen!' This has been your way from your youth; you have not obeyed me."(Jeremiah 22: 21 NIV

How many warnings have parents given to their children! Is God not a"father"? Has he not warned all since the world began? Did he not warn the antediluvians through the preaching of NoahGod's "watchman"? Those wicked sinners were all warned at a time when they had a "false sense of security" and "felt secure," when they were all crying "peace, peace, when there is no peace." God also warned the inhabitants of Sodom also at a time when she "felt secure." (See Ezekiel 16: 16) Again, notice how God is a faithful watchman who has never failed to give warning to sinners.

"To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it." (Jeremiah 6: 10 NIV)

How many have died or been severely harmed by "not listening" to the words of warning! What makes people so careless? Why do some people "live dangerously"? Especially in spiritual and moral matters? Why do they "live on the edge" of danger? Part of the answer is given in the words above. They are deaf! They have "closed their ears"! They are like a man who sets his alarm clock to wake up but muffles his ears before he goes to bed! The reason also lies in the fact that they despise and disbelieve the watchman, and reject his words, and "find no pleasure in the word of the Lord." 

"So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled." (I Thessalonians 5: 6 NIV)

"Let us be alert"! Let us take heed to the "alarms" sounded by the Lord through his word. Let us not hinder our ability to hear the warnings, for then they will do no good. The alarm of God is now sounding and it is not time to sleep or to be careless, but a time to wake up and be prepared. Notice how the apostle connects being "alert," warned, or "alarmed," with "self-control" or "continence." 

"Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour." (I Peter 5:8 KJV)

Certainly the words "be careful" apply to anyone who is in a jungle with lions all around, all hungry and looking for food! Christianslike men in the midst of perils, have all their energies engaged in "watching" and in "preparation" for possible harms and dangers. In this world, they are like soldiers in war and who are constantly "on alert."

"So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." (Acts 20: 31 NIV)

Paul was, like Ezekiel, like Christ, yea, like God himself, a faithful herald of warnings, a faithful watchman upon the wall, one who did not fail to give warning upon every occasion to every soul. It is done earnestly and fervently, with pleading, with urgency, with strong cries and yells for the careless to wake up to the impending dangers about them. 

Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

"See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm (alertness), what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter." (II Cor.7:11 NIV)

There are lots of areas in our Christian lives where we need to be constantly warned and thanks be to God for those faithful watchmen who give out their fervent warnings, yea, even blowing loudly upon the trumpet of truth, of scripture. We need to learn to be "alert, "like men in war, who are expecting imminent attack, and who are appropriately "on alert." 

"In my alarm I said, "I am cut off from your sight!" Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help." (Psalm 31: 22 NIV)

Even the Lord's people, who trust in the Lord and believe his word, have their times when they become alarmed due to lack of faith and understanding of their alarming situations. They need to be told that they have little or no cause for alarm

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmedSuch things must happen, but the end is still to come."(Matthew 24: 6 NIV)

"Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." (Mark 13: 33 NIV)

See how Jesus sought to remove all causes for alarm in the hearts of his people! How he exhorted and encouraged them, assuring them that with them it would "all be well," as it is promised to be for the"righteous." 

"As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucifiedHe has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him." (Mark 16: 5, 6 NIV)

He is risen! He is victorious over death and its awful curse! No more reason to be alarmed about death and judgment! Jesus assures the believer and tells him that he has no reason to be alarmed. Others do, they however, do not.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6: 18 NIV)

"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easilyunsettled or alarmed by some prophecyreport or letter supposed to have come from ussaying that the day of the Lord has already come." (II Thessalonians 2: 1, 2 NIV)

More exhortations against the believer becoming alarmed! 

We have been forewarned and alerted to the coming judgment. Are you ready to stand before the awesome God of Scripture? Have you fled for refuge in Jesus? He is the Rock of Ages, the cleft in which you may hide and be safe. Will you come to him today and be safe?

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