Tornado sirens catch our attention, especially if we live in close proximity to the tower from which its piercing alarm emanates. Depending on circumstances, levels of concern differ from person to person. A possible radar-indicated tornado will not be taken as seriously as an eye-witness account of a large tornado on the ground headed in one’s direction. Even then, there is an element of uncertainty. The tornado may change directions, lift back up into the clouds, or dissipate altogether. Tornadoes can be as fickle as the weather. Experience, however, teaches us to give heed to warnings whether they actually materialize or not.
There are many clearly-stated warnings in God’s word. Many of these warnings relate to specific nations in existence at the time—warnings of disaster or invasion. These warnings were often connected to an alternative outcome, depending on the peoples’ willingness to repent and change their ways. The people of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah and the threat of God’s judgment was delayed for many years (Jon. 3:10; Mt. 12:41).
On other occasions, God’s warning of impending doom continued beyond the point of repentance. On the eve of Babylonian Captivity, Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, spoke of Judah’s hopeless condition, saying, “Harvest is past, summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jer. 8:20). While many warnings of national judgment of a temporal nature occur in a context of possible repentance, there are times when swift and certain judgment can no longer be delayed.
The day of the Lord’s return is known only to the Father (Matt. 24:36). Though used as a source of derision by some, His delay is for the purpose of allowing more time for repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). But, the day of the Lord will come and this present universe will pass out of existence (2 Pet. 3:10). Judgment will follow and the wicked “will go away into eternal punishment and the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). The warning has been sounded and the certainty of these events is squarely-based on the unchanging nature of God’s word (Matt. 24:35; Heb. 6:18). Therefore, today is the day to heed God’s warning and turn to Jesus in loving obedience.