It’s been a long, hot, dry summer in Texas.
We now hold the all time record for the hottest summer ever in the entire United States. It’s not a record we wanted.
Because of the drought the grass, brush, and trees are nothing but tender kindling that can burn in an instant.
I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures on the news of the wildfires in Bastrop or other parts of the state.
The winds pushed the fires along at an alarming rate; huge trees would flash burn in a matter of seconds.
It’s been devastating and deadly.
The air around my home has been saturated with smoke the past few mornings from a fire that’s more than 60 miles away.
On Tuesday a previously contained fire suddenly overtook 200 acres.
The huge plume of smoke could easily be seen from the loop around Lufkin, being only 40 miles away.
As I gazed at it I was reminded of a verse of scripture; the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Rev 14:11
That deals with the judgment of those that do not know Jesus as Savior and have given their allegiance to Satan.
There’s another verse that is about God; now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. Ex 19:18-19
Smoke has often been symbolic of the presence of God.
In the former scripture it may very well be that the greatest torment of those in judgment is they rejected Jesus and must now live in the 2nd death with that decision.
Ps 37:20 says but the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the LORD, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.
In the latter scripture, the smoke was accompanied by the blast of a trumpet, lightning, and earthquakes.
It was so frightening that the Israelites begged Moses to tell God not to do that anymore, lest they all die.
We could use a good shaking up by smoke.
Isaiah said, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isa 6:1-4
And like those Israelites of old, Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” Isa 6:5
And so we should all find ourselves undone at the sight of smoke.
The fires in my state have more people praying for God to bless with rain and if it should be that this summer of intense heat, drought, and fires would bring us to repentance, then let it be so.
PICTURE: courtesy of Becky Husband