Isaiah 2: 1-5
Romans 13: 11-14
Matthew 24: 36-44
Grace and peace to you my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Amen.
In all societies there is a group of people whose duty is to observe their surroundings for potential danger. Most are looking for one specific type of danger and are quite skilled in identifying the unique signs that would alert such a specialist of the upcoming event. This includes those who watch the skies for storm patterns, those who stand guard for potential crime, those who observe the borders of a compound in observation towers for enemy forces, etc. These individuals are always at the ready, not expecting a disaster but to always be attentive for the sake of the common person. And the skill of such a watchman truly shines when he can forecast a certain disaster with absolute assurance of its arrival so early that all are prepared when the disaster finally does arrive.
A good example, in California there are those whose job is to monitor the seismic shifts. When certain measurements are ascertained, they warn the public of an upcoming earthquake. Another example, those who read the skies for hurricanes. Though we may not
know the strength the hurricane when it hits land, we all get plenty of warning that a hurricane is indeed coming our way. You also have economists whose primary job is to forecast everything financially related, when they foresee an economic collapse they warn us. The list goes on, for there are many things we should rightly be concerned about, but instead of worrying over something that is not happening we have watchmen who will warn us of future concerns when such arrive.
One such watchmen are those who are concerned with floods. Whether or not it is rain, or broken dams, or tsunami, or weak earth, or winds carrying lake water – the flood watch is always concerned with that which might result in dangerously high water levels that cause destruction and loss of life. Communities that regularly get hurricanes or tsunamis are most especially always on the alert and they, more so than most people understand, know the importance of having a flood watch team. For if there were no watchmen, then for the common person who knows not how to read the skies nor behaviors of animals would one day be working in the field and the next will disappear in the flood. One day your unprepared neighbor will be outside drying the bed sheets and the next the flood snatches her and the search for her body begins. One day a child would be playing out in the streets, the next day funeral arrangements are being made. Why, because they were not prepared and the rushing flood caught them of guard.
In other cases we have plenty of warning and still we do not pay attention. In fact, many mock those who see the writings on the wall of a coming disaster. An older fisherman feels in his knees a storm a brewing so he stays at home and warns the younger fishermen to do so likewise, but the younger ones see clear sky and know that today will be huge catch so they write off the old kook's supposedly foolish witch doctor nonsense. They go out to fish in the middle of the lake and the worst storm they have ever seen hits them. They are terrified, beg God for mercy, call on the radios for help that will cannot come, and work furiously to save their lives from impending doom.
In Genesis, God warns Noah that He was going to flood the earth to kill most of humanity. The wickedness of His greatest creation despaired God so much that almost gave up on us and was about to start anew. However, He didn't. He had mercy on Noah and his family, a faithful people, and decided to not only save Noah from the flood, but to save Noah through the flood from the wickedness of human society. God gave Noah plenty of warning and instructed him to build an ark and fill it with every creature two by two.
Now imagine the time it would take to accomplish such a feet. Also imagine the man power needed to do such in comparison to the man power at Noah's disposal. What are the chances that the wider
community became aware of Noah's ark building endeavor? 100%. There is no way the wicked human society was not aware of Noah's ark building. And how do you think the wider community acted towards Noah and his family due to this project? I would wager mocking and laughter as they ridicule this outrageous claim that a mighty flood would destroy them and that God selected Noah's family to continue the human race. They most likely harassed Noah's family as the ark was being built, using all sorts of slurs against them as they used up precious resources on a giant useless structure. On the day of the flood, while Noah and his family was secure in the ark, what about the community of corruption? They were partying with luxurious food and spirits, marrying and such. They did not believe in the flood, so while they celebrated to themselves, unaware, the flood came and killed them all.
One day there are two people out in the field, the next death takes one and the other is left behind. One day there will be two women grinding at the mill, preparing floor, the next one will be swallowed up by death abandoned by God and the other will be left behind alive in the Lord's presence. One day Noah and his community were alive, the next day the wicked sinners who mocked God disappeared and sent to Sheol while God's faithful, Noah's family, were left behind to live.
You never know when the day of the Lord will be. You never know when death will come knocking. You never know when Satan will come marching with a trail of temptation. You never know, therefore always be prepared.
And it's not like we don't have fair warning. The watchmen of the great flood, missionaries and pastors and faithful teachers alike have all proclaimed that there will come a day when Jesus will come back. We have all preached that if Jesus does not come again soon then you most definitely will meet Jesus upon your death, either way you will very soon, and some sooner than expected, meet your maker. Therefore now and tomorrow and the day after, always be prepared because no one knows the when but only the assurance it will happen.
Same goes for the Devil, for you never know when he will come to tempt you. So go to church and pray to God and receive communion as often as possible for the sake of preparing yourself against Satan.
So be prepared for he who is not will be swallowed up by death and taken by the flood. One day the wicked will be here, the next he like weeds will be thrown into the fire pits. He who does not walk in the name of the Lord with faith in Jesus Christ will not experience life eternal but instead will fall into damnation as the life-giving face of the
Lord is turned away from them. But he who is prepared, who does walk in the name of the Triune, who fears the Lord's wrath, but have faith in God's grace, will not be swallowed by death but will be the left behind. When the day of the Lord comes the ones who will be left behind and experience life eternal on the new earth will be the saints and those who have not been sanctified through the precious blood of Christ will be taken away, disappear, as Hell takes them. Just as how the flood took away the wicked and Noah's family were left behind, so too when the end comes those who are not faithful will be taken away and those who are faithful will be left behind.
Because we know not when this will happen, always be prepared, for today might be the day.
Let us pray,
Dear Heavenly Father, give us watchful eyes, alert to the potential of either death, the Second Coming, or temptation. Keep us vigilant in faith toward you so that when such happens we stand firm in faith, alive. In your most holy name we pray: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.