Well, God is calling, and it’s for us. He spoke again in sending an earthquake to Washington DC this morning. It was the largest-ever recorded quake in that location, and in my mind, it is no coincidence that it occurred there, and at this time.
The US has been pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to give away land in Jerusalem and to allow a two-state solution, which involves dividing God’s city. God said not to do this, not to give away any part of the Beautiful Land, and He will judge those who do it. (Joel 3:2)
So it’s not enough to say, ‘well, there was an earthquake and that is God speaking.’ How does one reply? HOW do we repent?
Let’s say that there is someone in Washington DC who is listening to God, reading this, or other Christian pieces that call for immediate repentance. Perhaps that person wants to embark a proper course of action, respond appropriately. What should they do?
For that answer we turn to the bible. Jonah preached to the people in the city of Nineveh, saying that God had had enough and within 40 days the city would be overthrown. Now hang on, you might say, that was in the days when Prophets received Word directly from God, we don’t have that advantage now. Oh, yes we do. Jesus is the last prophet and He speaks to us in His book, the bible, and He speaks by the strength of the Holy Spirit through obedient Christians responding to who understand the Word and repeat His messages.
The first thing was that the people of Nineveh took immediate and demonstrable action. “Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.” (Jonah 3:5). First they believed, then they fasted, which means denying yourself something that is necessary for you to live, because “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4) and third, they put on sackcloth.
If you want to make a response today to the DC quake, sackcloth is admittedly hard to find though a burlap sack will do. What it actually means is to humble yourself in dress. That’s what today’s version of putting on sackcloth is. Dress without regard to personal adornment, or in ways that draw attention to yourself, but dress in ways that draw attention away from yourself and are an expression of faith in God and not faith in worldly things.
Next, the king took action. “When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.” (Jonah 3:6) He also humbled himself. He laid aside the things which marked him as exalted, and went low in humility before a mighty God. Power-brokers, today’s version in making a response in this conversation with God would be to leave aside the power tie. Forgo the Armani suit. Put down the Rolex watch, the makeup, and the heels. Humble yourselves in dress, and lay aside the kingly things that make you think it’s an equally shared conversation.
“When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” (Jonah 3:10)
Next, acknowledge that God is God, and do it publicly. The King of Nineveh didn’t go to an interior room and privately disrobe and humble himself. He did it publicly. Mark 10:33 says “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
Most important is prayer. Acts 8:22 says “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.” And we are given direction in Leviticus 26:40 also: “‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me,which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.” Pray publicly, too. Gather in groups, and pray sincerely and humbly. After the earthquake that devastated Haiti, the Haitians repented publicly and they prayed.
Be broken about your sins, and the sins of the US, and the sins of the world! Be broken-hearted about such rebellion against God. Do not think for a moment that US pressure on Israel to concede land and criticism for building condos inside her own borders, pressure for her to minimize her defenses does not reach the eye of God! He said in Zechariah 2:8, “For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you–for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye” and we know that the apple of the eye is the pupil. If you touch the pupil of a person’s eye, they are going to take action! It’s a personal and hurtful jab.
When the Barbadans endured a series of demonic attacks in their village, they prayed. They understood that in allowing themselves to become lax in their relationship with God, it had allowed demons to step in. “[R]esidents and members of the church walking through the small district singing and praying for almost three hours. … We pray and ask God for deliverance. God sends warnings and then the destruction. This is a wake-up call” said a pastor in the attacked village. So they confessed, they repented, and they prayed.
When God speaks, take immediate and demonstrable action. These actions should first include repentance for sins, humility in dress, denial of self through fasting, prayers offered in sincerity, and appeals to God. THAT’S how to respond to the DC quake.
“Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6) It is the only proper response.