ARTHUR, Ill. (BNC) by Ron Bartanen — The year of 2017 will undoubtedly be remembered as the year of the Great Flood. We are all in awe of the disastrous floodwaters swallowing up property, homes, businesses and people in a record-breaking hurricane/tropical storm mostly in Texas, but affecting our entire nation as well. Fears are not limited to what has already occurred, but what can we expect as an aftermath. Alligators and snakes are current threats. Diseases may soon break out as raw sewage pollutes the sea water that engulfs so many.

On a more positive note, it is encouraging to see the outpouring of benevolence in behalf of the storm’s victims, with rescuers committing themselves to hours of seeking those who have no means of saving themselves, and bringing them to safety, as well as those providing food for some who have been without food for days. We are seeing respect for human life that goes beyond race, religion or politics.

Disasters seem to have a way of reminding us of the value of human life. For this we can thank God.

But the 2017 Great Flood is no more than a drop in the bucket, if even that, compared to THE GREAT FLOOD as recorded in Genesis 6-9, “whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6).

In addition to the torrential rains, we’re told, “The fountains of the great deep were broken up” (Gen. 7:11). These would be subterranean reservoirs of water, possibly loosed by earthquakes. The devastating rains were obviously from a canopy of water that in those times served to filter out harmful solar rays.

The psalmist further, by inspiration, enlightens us, saying,

“Thou didst cover it (the earth) with the deep, as with a garment: the waters were standing above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled: at the sound of thy thunder they hurried away. The mountains rose, and the valleys sank down to the place which thou didst establish them. Thou didst set a boundary that they may not pass over: that they may not return to cover the earth.”

Instructed by God, Noah, “By faith … prepared an ark to the saving of his house” (Hebrews 11:7). Sheltered in the ark, Noah and his household found refuge from the wrath of God poured out upon a rebellious world.

While God covenanted with Noah, assuring him that “neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth” (Gen. 9:11), Scripture assures us that God’s wrath will again be outpoured upon rebellious mankind, but it will be by fire, not water, as Peter wrote, “The heavens and earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Pet. 3:7).

However, obedient believers are assured of shelter in Christ, “for God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9). Until then, mankind is reminded that God’s hand of judgment is ever near.

When we see the devastation of “acts of God”, such as Harvey, we are made all the more conscious of the approach of what is often referred to in Scripture as “the day of the Lord.” May that day not find us unprepared, as were those of Noah’s day. It is a day known only to the Father (Matt. 24:36-39), but when that day comes, only those who have taken refuge in Christ will find deliverance.

Are you ready?

Ron works with the Arthur congregation and published this article today in their bulletin, “The Sower.”