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The God Who Shakes the World

Somebody spotted a poster on the wall of a California school that proclaimed the following message: "In case of an earthquake, the ban on school prayer will be lifted." The year 2005 was a year in which nature furiously demonstrated its fury. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and thunderstorms tore their way across the country from one end to the other. In the midst of all the turbulence, Jay Leno reportedly asked, "Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?" Recent devastating earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Japan and China, and a spectacular volcano in Iceland have reminded us there are powerful and uncontrollable forces at work beneath the surface of the earth. Besides the death and destruction from the quakes, the ash plume from the Iceland volcano rose to over 35,000 feet and floated all the way to Europe, shutting down airports, causing the cancellation of 1000's of flights, negatively affecting airlines and the lives of tens of thousands of people. Who can contemplate such power and might and not be made to stand in awe? Helen Keller said, "Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men experience it." Yep, when the earth shakes and quakes or blows out the top of a mountain, the world is forced to take notice and show some respect. And forced to remember Somebody else is in charge of the universe. A perceptive psalmist saw God's power behind the power of nature and then wrote, 'Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word" (Psalm 148:8).

A similar kind of thought is found in Hebrews 12:26-28 where the inspired writer, in speaking of God and the awesome sights and sounds surrounding Mount Sinai (see Exodus 19), wrote provocative words: "whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.' Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." These words are especially stirring when you realize they were originally written to people already baptized into Christ, that is, Christians. Christians who were under pressure to leave Christ and turn back to the Old Covenant given at Sinai. This writer pleads with them not to do that, reminding them someday the big one is coming when God will shake this world out of existence! When He does the only place of safety and security will be that "kingdom which cannot be shaken" — the kingdom of God which includes the church Jesus built and the eternal heavenly kingdom (Matthew 16:16-18; 2 Timothy 4:18). Where do you turn when your world shakes? During an earthquake, inhabitants of a small village were very alarmed, except one old woman whom they all knew. She was surprisingly calm and joyful. At length, someone asked her if she was not afraid. She answered, "No. I rejoice to know I have a God who can shake the world." Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ