Joel 2:1 (ESV) Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near.
I have lived near a very busy fire station for the past 18 years. Day and night, firefighters and paramedics sound the alarm as they race down the street below my apartment. In the first year, I startled at the sound of every fire truck that raced by. If I was asleep, I would awaken. If I was working at my computer desk, I would jump in my seat.
Over the years, I have become so used to the sound of the sirens that I no longer startle and I am rarely even aware as they race past. I have become desensitized to their sound.
I’ve noticed an increase of late in the number of Christ followers sounding alarms left right and center, passing on sensationalistic tidbits without first checking their sources. After all, it is much easier to cut and paste a Facebook status or retweet a tweet than it is to take a cursory survey of media outlets or hoax-busting websites to see if that status has any merit.
I compare such an alarmist to an overly anxious watchman standing guard over a military camp during the night hours. At every rustle in the bushes below them, they lift their trumpet in warning, waking their fellow soldiers from much-needed rest. A wise military leader would never put such a nervous Nellie in such a position. Instead, he would place a confident, alert and fearless soldier to stand guard over his valuable troops. He would only entrust his troops to a soldier who, while taking heed of official intelligence memos that came his way, would remain calm and diligent in his duty.
Are you an alarmist or are you one in whom the Lord can trust to sound the alarm only when there is a clear and present danger? Have you sounded the alarm so often that those around you have become desensitized to your warnings? Have you been guilty of blowing the trumpet upon hearing the faintest whisper of a rumor? Have you passed on information without checking the source first? If so, there is still redemption for you.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isa 26:3)
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isa 30:15)
On a practical note, I would strongly recommend you bookmark the following websites that are respected across the internet for debunking urban myths that find their way to Facebook, Twitter and emails. The next time you are tempted to forward on a dire Facebook status, tweet or email, go to the sites listed below and check to see if the warning has any basis of truth. Check a couple of reputable news outlets or Google first, before cutting and pasting that warning about a politician or world leader. By doing so, when the time does come that you do need to sound the alarm, you might find a more receptive audience.
http://truthorfiction.com – This site has information on many of the warnings that may be of interest to Christians. They have an extensive listing on Obama rumours, for example.
http://snopes.com – The most popular site for hoax-busting, myth-slaying information. They keep their site up-to-date and post frequent updates on old myths that might resurface in new forms.
http://urbanlegends.about.com Another well-researched site.
Until next week,