“Well, yes, but at least it is a dry heat.”
This old canard about the weather used to be humorous — but not this summer. Bouts of oppressive heat (beginning the last week of winter!) accompanying a record-breaking dry spell is desiccating the corn, killing the beans and withering lawns. Multiple counties surrounding The Fort have declared burn bans as most cities cancel Fourth of July fireworks.
Looking beyond Hoosierland, Colorado's record heat wave has ripened into forest fires of epic (or is it biblical?) proportion. And not just Colorado, but the entire West. According to the Associated Press, the largest wildfire in New Mexico's recorded history currently “marches across the Gila Wilderness.”
Last year's Wallow fire set a similar record in Arizona. Our Amazing Planet blogger Doug Main recently interviewed meteorologist Chuck Maxwell, who warns that “western Colorado and much of the Great Basin, an area that includes western Montana, southern Idaho, Utah, Nevada and California east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains” are currently at “great risk.” OurAmazingPlanet.com reports that 10 states are under red flag warnings and that the West faces an “explosive fire growth potential” as this hot summer drags on.
Why so much fire, so much drought, so much dry heat?
Environmentalists intone that it is our sins of overconsumption fueling this pandemic. We reap what we sow, they say, calling us to bring forth works of repentance demonstrated by a much smaller carbon footprint.
Political zealots thunder against the federal agencies, blaming these fires on decades of mismanagement by bureaucrats masquerading as foresters. We reap what we sow, they say, calling us to bring forth works of repentance demonstrated by “throwing the bums out” come November.
Is there not another voice that should be heard in this hour? Or shall the prescription for America's ills (and what greater ill is there than burning cities?) be entrusted only to the materialists and partisan ideologues in our midst?
It used to be that America's pulpits thundered with the prescriptions for America's ills. It used to be that the pastors advised as to the reason for our national calamities. It used to be that spiritual shepherds, rather than secular sheep-shearers, spoke prophetically on the evening news.
No more. Too many have sold out to mammon, too many have backed down due to political correctness, too many have renounced the duties as shepherd to become over-medicated and under-responsive sheep.
Yet some still show the courage to be all that they are called to be. Such brave shepherds should lead their flocks in a study of what such regional fires mean from a biblical perspective — and then unleash their flock to teach this to all who have ears.
According to the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, the God of Israel shows his “wrath” by sending fire amongst his people, starting at the outskirts of habitation. This is the same God enshrined in the opening paragraph of almost every state constitution in America, as well as our Declaration of Independence. This is the God that our founders employed as the rights-granting foundation of our “experiment in ordered liberty.” This is the Self-Existing One with whom we have a national covenant.
This diagnosis for our Summer of Flame will really set off my detractors. How can I be so bold (and unpatriotic) as to claim that the God of Heaven might be warning America the Beautiful of an impending judgment of biblical proportion?
Sometimes it helps to take a step back when entertaining such catastrophic notions. Many have no problem envisioning the volcanic fires of Mount Vesuvius as judgment on Pompeii. After all, archeology proves that ancient Pompeii was given over to all manner of sexual perversion and lust for the violence of gladitoratial combat. (Hmm, could that be like our pornography plague and standard fare in entertainment?)
Many have no problem envisioning the destruction of Nazi Germany as the judgment of God. After all, the Nazis presided over a holocaust and waged wars of aggression against racially-disfavored populations. (Hmmm!) Many have no problem envisioning the collapse of the USSR (not dead yet?) as the judgment of God. After all, the communists mandated that only materialism be taught in the schools and waged war against unbowing Christians. (Hmmm!)
According to the Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, the destructive fires of God were sent “that He might infuse into the whole nation a wholesome dread of His holy majesty.” Not a deep and abiding love for environmentalism. Not a political solution to spiritual problems. If this supernatural diagnosis of our national ills is correct, then the only helpful prescription is sackcloth, ashes and the tears of national repentance.
Hopefully before the vegetation of an entire nation lights the night sky with a dry and deadly heat — that is, before we reap what we have sown.