Monday morning August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit southeast Louisiana. 1,833 people died. New Orleans bore the brunt of the storm. 80% of the city flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed. For weeks we saw devastating TV images of lingering flood waters. A storm like that today would likely bring climate-change prophets out of the woodwork warning Katrina’s flood was a sign of worse weather disasters to come.
The Flood That Was a Sign. Wherever you stand on that issue, there once was a flood that signified a worse disaster to come. ” . . . the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). God said, ” . . . I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven” (Genesis 6:17). So it was. ” . . . all the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11,12).
Critics claim it never happened. Skeptics doubt it could. Our distorted view of God is the culprit. Who thinks of God as a righteous judge who pours out his wrath on sin anymore? He’s our heavenly helper. Our divine butler beyond the blue horizon awaiting our call. But that’s not the God of the Bible, not the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. That God sent a flood so that “Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died” Genesis 7:22). That flood was a sign of greater cataclysm to come . .
The Sign That Was a Flood. Many centuries later the apostle Paul told persecuted churches in that “the Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7,8).
Later the apostle Peter wrote about those who scoff at such fanaticism: ” . . . scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming?” For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation'” (2 Peter 3:3,4a).
Why do they mock? Their sinful desires cause them to deliberately overlook the sign that was a flood. “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly . . . the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:4b-7,10). The sign that the day of the Lord will come and the present heavens and earth will be burned up in judgment is Noah’s flood.
The Way to Follow the Flood-Sign. “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (1 Peter 3:11-13).
“Lives of holiness and godliness” are birthed and sustained and completed by faith in the great mercy of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So believers in Christ should be encouraged by the flood-sign and live in obedience to Jesus. Unbelievers in Christ should be warned by the flood-sign to pray for God’s mercy through Christ.
The Fishy-Ness of the Flood-Sign. The problem is that it all sounds preposterous. An ancient flood God sent to kill every living thing (except righteous Noah and his family and the animals on the ark)! Jesus who lived here 2000 years ago coming again to judge unbelievers and burn up the earth and bring a new righteous creation into being! That ancient flood being a sign of the future fire! For believer and unbeliever it’s almost beyond belief.
So was Katrina’s flood in New Orleans just days before it hit.