Do you believe that we will have a catastrophe with Y2K?
The word catastrophe is defined as “a momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin” (Merriam Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). Proverbs 27:1 says, “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” It would be foolish to say if there will or will not be a catastrophe at midnight on December 31st, or at any other time. The Bible says that no man knows what may happen on tomorrow. I Thessalonians 5:3 says, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
I do know that some catastrophes are already planned. I am not talking about computer malfunctions or terrorist acts, but about things that I have seen advertised. Many people are planning on attending parties where there will be drinking, dancing, and partying into the early hours of the morning on New Year’s Eve. They plan on throwing huge parties to bring in the new millennium. That will bring a catastrophe to many homes and marriages. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” The Bible warns us not to attend places where people are eating and drinking. Proverbs 23:20 says, “Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh.” A “winebibber” is someone who is “imbibing” (drinking) alcoholic drinks. The Bible warns us not to be in such crowds.
How many catastrophes will come to homes this New Year’s Eve because of alcohol? Homes where someone will die because of an accident caused by a drunk driver? Homes where the marriage is broken because of immorality committed while under the influence of alcohol? Parties where many people die because of a fire that is started by someone who is intoxicated?
This whole New Year’s Eve scene reminds me a lot of the partying attitude of those on the Titanic the night that it went down into the ocean. If God allows a catastrophe to hit around the globe on this New Year’s Eve, I would say that we deserve it. I am certainly not praying for a catastrophe to hit, but if one or several do, I would say that we deserve it. We need to wake up and humble ourselves before Almighty God. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” I Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”
I do not wish for a worldwide crash of computers on this New Year’s Eve, but the whole subject should be a cause for humility. To think that man is so smart to invent the computer and thus aid in all of the modern day technology, but then to think that man is so foolish to not look ahead to the date change. It should all help us to see that man’s wisdom is not enough to guarantee anything about his future. Man needs God. I Corinthians 1:19,20 says, “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” I Corinthians 1:25-31 says, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” Man has not been glorifying God too much these days. Man has been thinking pretty highly of himself. Daniel 5:18-30 says, “O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.”
When there is big money to be made today, man is not too good at looking ahead and preparing for the future. James 4:13-16 says, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.” Everything that we plan is dependent upon the Lord’s will. We cannot boast that nothing will happen on New Year’s Eve, because God could allow a number of tragedies to take place.
The night before Christmas Eve this year, the igniter for our furnace broke. We went through the night with no furnace — only two electric heaters. The next morning when we got up. the thermometer was reading below zero outside. I thought about Y2K that night. What would it be like to be without heat and electricity for the night, or for a few days, or for a week or more? Just last evening the power was out in a nearby city to us. The wind was howling all night, and it was bitterly cold. It had nothing to do with Y2K. It was just a power outage. So we can face these things at any time — not just on this New Year’s Eve. What can a Christian do?
The Bible warns us not to hoard supplies and think that we are self sufficient no matter what may come. Luke 12:16-34 says, “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, SOUL, THOU HAST MUCH GOODS LAID UP FOR MANY YEARS; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, THOU FOOL, THIS NIGHT THY SOUL SHALL BE REQUIRED OF THEE: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? AND SEEK NOT YE WHAT YE SHALL EAT, OR WHAT YE SHALL DRINK, NEITHER BE YE OF DOUBTFUL MIND. FOR ALL THESE THINGS DO THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD SEEK AFTER: AND YOUR FATHER KNOWETH THAT YE HAVE NEED OF THESE THINGS. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
God warns in the above account that it does not matter how many supplies a person may have hoarded for the future (even year’s worth), because a person may die before he can use any of it. And if the person does live, and there is a time of famine or hardship, how is the person going to guard a huge hoard of food and supplies? Many people are ready to kill others over the Y2K matter. They believe that the world will become utter chaos, and they are heavily armed to protect their stockpile of food, etc.
What should be the Christian’s attitude in the matter of food and clothing? From the above passage, we see that we are not to stockpile food and clothing, and then trust in our stockpile to sustain us. Our trust is to be in God. God does tell us not to be slothful — to not be lazy. Proverbs 20:4 says, “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.” Some people will go hungry because they are lazy. They will be without food, because they are too lazy to work. The Bible does not consider it sin to work and to prepare for the winter months ahead. That means being prepared with food and clothing for the cold months. Proverbs 21:20 says, “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” The virtuous woman does that every year — not just when there is a Y2K threat. Proverbs 31:13,14 says, “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.” Verses 21,22 say, “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”
This seems to be the advice that most of the authorities are giving: “Be prepared like you would be for any storm. Some food in the house. Some drinking water prepared for emergencies. Flashlights and batteries in case the power goes out. Warm blankets in case your heat goes out. Etc.” They are not calling for hoarding, but for people to have certain common supplies ready for any storm or power outage that happens. The Bible says that the wise man is prepared. The Bible condemns laziness. Proverbs 6:6-11 says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” The Bible condemns laziness, but it does not encourage hoarding supplies and then trusting in those supplies. We work to provide for our families, and then we trust that God will meet our needs.
Some have tried to say that the Lord will come back at midnight this New Year’s Eve. The Lord could come at any time — even before New Year’s Eve. When someone sets a date and time like that, then you know that they are not speaking from the Lord, because they are contradicting the Bible. Matthew 24:36 says, “BUT OF THAT DAY AND HOUR KNOWETH NO MAN, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” No one knows when the Lord is going to return. He is going to come when people do not expect Him. I Thessalonians 5:1-6 says, “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that THE DAY OF THE LORD SO COMETH AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”
No matter what happens (and we may have to face many and varied trials in our lives), but the Christian must live by faith. In Habakkuk’s day Israel was facing being conquered by a foreign country. What did God tell him? Habakkuk 2:4 says, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” God sometimes uses great and severe trials to gain the attention of people. What are His people to do when such times come? We are to live by faith and trust Him. Matthew 4:4 says, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Are you in God’s Word? That is where we find strength and direction. It say in there in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Psalm 33:18-22 says, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.”