Have you put yourself in the path of the storm?

   Huntsville, Alabama was recently ranked number one in a list of the top ten tornado cities in America.  It calls into question the collective sanity of those of us who have chosen to live in this area where powerful and deadly storms are such frequent occurrences.  

   Few of us (other than storm chasers) would ever choose to put ourselves in the way of an oncoming tornado.  Most of us heed the weather warnings.  We take shelter when the warning sirens are blaring and the TV weather forecasters are telling  us that a tornado is near.  But some don’t.  Sadly, during our most recent tornado outbreak here last month, two people who had refused to take cover in a storm shelter lost their lives.

    In Proverbs 1:27-30, Wisdom warns that those who reject her have chosen a disastrous destiny indeed.  They have placed themselves in the path of a terrifying storm with little hope of rescue.  Wisdom says,

“When your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD; they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.”

  My friends, when we reject instruction, correction or rebuke that is based in the wisdom of God, we are choosing to be destroyed by the storms of life.

  But it is so easy to dismiss criticism and rebuke.  We rationalize our actions.  We justify ourselves.  We may do this whether it is that we’ve been told that we need to attend assemblies of the church more faithfully, or study our Bibles more frequently, or stop smoking, or stop speeding, or stop gossiping or any other of 1,000 rebukes we might need to hear. All too often we choose to stay in the path of the storm.

  The day before our most recent round of tornadoes, the weather was beautiful.  Just hours before the storms hit, it might have been easy to convince oneself that no storm was coming.  Even as the storms were approaching, some apparently thought that they could continue as they were where they were, and that the sirens and the media warnings could be ignored.  It was easier and more pleasant to believe that no harm would come.    But, “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:5).

  Be wise.  Flee the storm.  Listen carefully and humbly to rebuke.  Make corrections in your life where they are needed. “Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool” (Proverbs 17:10).

— Steve Klein