Dave Short

Chicago, Illinois

National director of Campus Alpha, part of the Alpha Course



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There warnings are just plane crazy:

  • "Do not use if you cannot see clearly to read the information in the information booklet."
  • "For external use only!" -- on a curling iron
  • "Do not use in shower." -- on a curling iron
  • "Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover." 
  • "Do not eat toner." -- on a toner cartridge for a laser printer
  • "Not suitable for children aged 36 months or less." -- On a birthday card for a 1 year old.

Oh my, how ridiculous.  But not all warnings are this crazy or irrelevant.

2011 has been a tragic year for loss of life here in the U.S. due to weather.   From record-setting snowstorms to historic spring floods, tornado outbreaks, blazing heat waves and devastating tropical storms there has been untold numbers of fatalities.  

While severe weather, tornado and hurricane warnings do save lives in these situations,  one still has to wonder why there are still so many that perish despite adequate warnings.  While many people who have lost their lives did heed warnings and took appropriate action, there have also been many who have not.  So why do people still die when adequate warnings were issued.  The National Weather Service sites some of the following reasons:  

  • Complacency - When warnings are issued and little or no damage occurs, people may not take warnings seriously. 
  • The need for confirmation from multiple sources - a single source of information will not necessarily spur protective action.
  • The "It won't happen to me" attitude - they understand that a tornado is ripping through their county, but they don't think it will hit their own house.
  • Poor communication of the danger - authorities entrusted to pass that information along to the public may fail to adequately convey the danger at hand and provoke appropriate action.
  • People not taking the right course of action - people may accurately perceive the warning and understand they are in danger, but making a decision to not head the obvious danger.

In the book of Ezekiel God say's, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me (3:17).  In Ezekiel 4 he takes the first steps in speaking out the warnings that God had instructed him to give.  It is clear from the start that warning people is never an easy job! 

Ezekiel is asked to enact visual aids to show the seriousness of sin, and the warning of the impending judgment that will happen if they do not repent.

God does not simply issue empty threats, I did not threaten in vain (6:10).  Gods warnings are always acts of love.  He desires that all people should repent and come to the knowledge of truth (1 Timothy 2:4).  Today, we are so worried about sounding negative or threatening that there is a danger of us being unloving by not being sufficiently bold in warning people of the dangers ahead.  Our job is still to "adequately (and lovingly) convey the danger at hand and provoke appropriate action."   

Even though the life, death and resurrection of Jesus  changed everything as it relates to the Old Testament, the warnings for us are still real and serious.  Indeed, these warnings make the reality of salvation and the many blessings available in Christ all the more amazing.  The gospel is truly good news.  


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