Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors did not obey your Law or listen to the warnings in your commands and laws. [Nehemiah 9:34 (NLT)]
Although I heard the rumble of thunder and saw flashes of lightening, they weren’t what woke me from a sound sleep at midnight—it was the klaxon-like sound coming from my cell phone. My foggy brain figured it to be a weather alert and, since I could already see there was a storm, I rolled over and went back to sleep. After checking my phone the following morning, I saw it had been a warning about flash floods in our area. While running errands later that day, I saw the damage left by the storm and understood why the warning had been sounded. Since I had been safely tucked into bed in a house set on high ground, ignoring the flood alert didn’t endanger me. If, however, that had been an alarm about a tornado, I might have regretted not looking at the message or heeding its words of caution.
It’s not just weather warnings that we tend to ignore. Every time a smoker lights up, he is ignoring clearly written warnings on his pack of cigarettes. Do we always slow down when we see those yellow signs warning of a sharp turn, poor road conditions or a hidden entrance? As many times as we women are advised to regularly check our breasts for suspicious lumps, most women I know don’t. We’re cautioned about the dangers of the sun and yet we use tanning booths rather than sun block. Every year, the commuter trains in our area are delayed because people have ignored the warning lights and bells at a railroad crossing and, even though the waiter warns us that the plate is extremely hot, we will touch it nearly every time.
The Bible is filled with warnings; in fact, the word “warn” and its variations appear 173 times in my NLT translation. Add words like “heed,” “beware,” and “be careful” and it is obvious that the Bible is filled with cautionary advice and admonishments. The Israelites failed to heed the various words of warning given them by Moses and the many prophets that followed him and we’re not much better when it comes to abiding by the cautionary words of the New Testament.
Let us never forget that words of warning are a blessing in disguise. Like the annoying weather alerts, they are there for our safety, protection and welfare. It is, however, our responsibility to listen to and abide by them.