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THE HERALD

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Rev. Stephen Snodgrass

May-June 2011

Deliver Thy Soul

Ezekiel 3

Many started their day on April 27th, 2011, like any other day, but as night drew nearer, they realized that they would never be the same. In my home state of Alabama, and many of the surrounding states, a category F5 tornado, along with many of its companions had paid a visit and left in her wake…total devastation. In the days that followed, we listened to the stories, recounted the fears, dug through the rubble; and in the end, put our arm around the shoulder of the victim and thanked God for His protection through it all.

Everyone has a story. There is the retired couple that we helped look for the family china. We found one plate…across the street in the home of a lady who lived by herself and died in the storm. There is the man whose home was gone, except for the little space in the basement where he sheltered his wife, his neighbor, Stephanie and Stephanie’s granddaughter. Stephanie’s home…totally gone…no trace of roof or walls…just a slab. There is also the widow, whose yard our local church helped clean up; thirty-three trees were down and not one touched her house. A complete miracle.


But the common phrase that I heard repeatedly was, “We are so blessed, we may not have much left, but we do have our life and God has been good to us.” At the heart of this story is an individual that has been very fascinating to me and to others. In fact, we all have one of these characters in our community. He receives a lot of criticism and frankly, he receives a lot of blame for things that are out of his control. He does his job everyday of the week without fail. He is your local meteorologist. If he is right we never thank him; but if he is wrong, we blame him.


On April 26th, 2011, our local meteorologist, Mr. Spann, began to warn of the possibilities of a horrific “super cell” storm that would be in our area by the evening of the next day. Faithfully he warned. His warnings began twenty-four hours before the storm hit. As the time approached, his warnings became more intense and imploring. As the warnings became a reality, this dedicated weatherman, gave detailed locations of the devastating storm, begging people to run to shelter and safety. At one point, he commented that the storm was in a certain location and said, “All we can do for those dear people right now is pray.”


After the storm, as Mr. Spann was recapping the day, he was viewing the video footage that had been recorded during and after the storm. Those videos revealed that while the storm was raging, there were people out driving their vehicles and conducting business as usual, only to have their lives taken away moments later. Mr. Spann sat there watching as people who did not heed his warnings, were taken by the storm, and many lives were lost. At one point, he screamed at the monitors where this was being played, “I warned you! Why didn’t you listen to me?”


Yesterday, someone who attends church with me was privileged to meet Mr. Spann and commented on the passion of this man. He told us about the personal responsibility that this weatherman feels for every life that is lost in a storm that he is covering. He has a strong intuition that it is his duty to convey the dangers and convince others of the need for safety.

As believers, we have a God--commissioned duty to warn others of the storm that will surely come. As pastors we have been commanded of God to warn our flock of the impending storm. We are to instruct them and point them to the areas of safety.


After a close reading of Ezekiel 3, we see the importance of being alert as watchmen over the flock of God. “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezekiel 3:17-21 (emphasis mine).


One thing is certain, the storm is coming! Ministers of God, how heavy does the responsibility of the safety of those in your trust weigh upon you? Are you being faithful to warn? Are you remaining alert to the location of the storm? The storm comes in many shapes, sizes and from many different directions. There are storms of formalism and emotionalism. There are storms of legalism and liberalism. There are storms that will cause us to drift ever so slightly, and there are storms that will cause people to lose a lifetime of spiritual attainment. There is a storm that is seeking to blow away our principles of modesty of dress, doctrine of holiness, humility of spirit and totally destroy all that we have ever stood for. Are you being faithful to warn and instruct your flock to seek safety and shelter in the blessed Word of God?
May we “deliver our souls” before the storm hits and leaves a path of total devastation. As the local weatherman, may we feel responsible for everyone that comes under the sound of our voice and the reach of our influence. May our objective be that, yes, there was a storm, but there was not one casualty. Everyone made it safely through the storm!


Past Articles

Mar-Apr 2011
Easter Special 2011
Jan- Feb 2011
Special Article-Feb 2011
Nov- Dec 2010
Sept/October 2010
July/August 2010
May/June 2010
Mar/April 2010
Feburary 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009