When a nation burns

Photo: AAP, Dan Himbrechts

Australia finds itself in unprecedented territory as vast swathes of the country burn in some of the largest bushfires in history (perhaps globally). Already around twenty people have so far been killed (and more than number unaccounted for) – including three volunteer firefighters – and about six million hectares (60,000 sq km or 14.8 million acres) of bush, forest and parks have been burned. To give some scale to what has happened here so far, international media outlets have been reporting the 2018 California fires burnt 2 million acres; the 2019 Amazon fires 2.2 million; and the 2019 Siberian fires 6.7 million. And our summer (peak fire season) has two more months to go.

The new year of 2020 has certainly come through a baptism of fire..for many of us, and it seems the nation. The Lord only knows the full truth, and yet some glimmers of insight appear.

It is certainly the baptism of fire that brings both cleansing, holiness, and the power. One can only hope this nation will reach out to God in this time of trial, and acknowledge their need for Him, and even their sins. Sadly the talk is all about blaming each other and climate change, rather than focusing on the One who can help. As humankind try valiantly to battle the fires, many volunteers, and some even sacrificing their lives to do so, the apparent vanity of our efforts can sometimes seem palpable.

One can only imagine what it will take for Australia to seek God. The sins that brought drought on the land, now bring fires. At first it seemed to only effect the country, and those in the city felt they were ok. Now they too feel the heat!

While it is good to see the church rising up to seek God’s hand of help, they must first seek Him. They are not immune from the fires (spiritually particularly). Turning to focus on Christ, seeking His face, abiding and waiting on Him is the answer…not more man made efforts and their leadership.

So to the leaders of our society have a choice to openly turn to our Lord Jesus Christ for help, humbling themselves, admitting the nation’s wrongs, and seeking His help. In the past our arrogance and seeming disdain for God has seen this nation slide. As our nation burns, maybe the scale of the disaster will cause us to admit failure, and that we have no answer. We can but pray.

Some may see this as judgement, and maybe so with so many states openly changing laws to kill the unborn, seeking to introduce euthanasia for the elderly and disabled, and flagrantly disregarding God’s design for marriage. Even worse our greed, treatment of the poor and aliens, abuse of the land, our treatment of the young and women, adultery and fornication unchecked, persecution of Christians, and total walking away from God, could be said to be cause for such judgement. In reality, our very actions are to blame, for to think that we can some how ignore universal laws of cause and effect, and Christ Himself, and not reap the consequences of our own actions is tragic. Sadly innocents do get caught in the sins of nations, and so we pray for mercy, and trust they will find in Him a place of refuge and a strong fortress. This is a lesson for many nations!

Psalms 65:9-11

You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, for so You have prepared it. You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth. You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.

God is merciful, and causes the rain to fall on all, the just and unjust. May we seek Him, knowing His reward is in the finding of our Lord, and a humble heart. This nation has been declared to be the South Land of the Holy Spirit, which means it is to be holy land. As a nation of people, we are covered it in despair and darkness. As fire cleanses, so our chance for renewal comes.

For those who come through the fire in Him, they are Holy, and the Holy Spirit rises up through them, rains upon them, and they burn with the fire of God for His glory. Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, repent, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, knowing He can heal our lands, and turn such tragedy in to this nation’s finest hour. For a baptism of fire and water can come to our nation, an outpouring of love, healing, power, and the fear of the Lord, seeing a move of holiness, and a rising of the sons and daughters of God for which creation groans.

Now we see in part..thus for your prayerful consideration.

A Prayer

Lord God, our nation burns due to our sins, tragic mistakes, fallen nature, and groaning of creation. We humble ourselves before You, and seek Your forgiveness and Your face. Turning to You the Creator of all, and our only answer, we not only seek Your Hand of help, but all of You. May we repent and turn afresh to You. Lord in Your mercy send the rains, pouring out from the storehouses of heaven Your waters, and Your Spirit. Cause the fountains of the deep to open up, bringing healing to our land. With the fires and water, may we be baptised afresh in You, and born again. Let our hearts burn with passion for You. The old nation passing away, as behold You make all things new in Christ. Come, Lord, come. Hear our cries, and reveal Your mighty hand of love. For even despite our weaknesses, Your mercy triumphs, and You do not strive with us in Your anger or sadness. In the name of Jesus Christ, let it rain.

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