Destruction by Fire

Average reading time is about 5 minutes
AN AMAZING FACT:  On April 18, 1906, a powerful earthquake struck off the coast of San Francisco. While the quake was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles and as far inland as Nevada, it was the resulting fires that did most of the damage. The fires raged for four days and nights and left 490 city blocks charred—a total area of about 4.5 square miles.

According to the San Francisco Museum, the fires initially started because of ruptured gas lines and toppled stoves resulting from the earthquake. However, subsequent fires were started by firefighters improperly demolishing buildings to create firebreaks and by property owners burning their own buildings in an attempt to collect insurance money that would otherwise be denied if the damage had been caused only by the quake. Thus, already horrifying destruction was exacerbated both by greed and by well-intentioned but poorly executed attempts to stop the fires’ progression.

The Bible tells us that “scoffers set a city aflame” while “wise men turn away wrath” (Proverbs 29:8). The San Francisco fires demonstrate mankind’s natural tendency toward destruction, both by accident and on purpose, but this Proverb warns us that “scoffing” can make that tendency worse and result in total destruction. Scoffing is a form of mocking or jeering. Such behavior often stirs up the wrath of the person being scoffed at, and the results can be violent.

God calls us to behave wisely by turning away wrath whenever possible. This means avoiding mockery and scoffing in our own lives but also speaking gently toward others to diffuse potentially disastrous situations. This kind of wisdom comes only through the process of sanctification, when we surrender our hearts to Jesus and allow Him to live through us. We must surrender anew each day. Have you surrendered to God today?

I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

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