6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:6-8)
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. (Revelation 16:17-20)
Thoughts: Today one of the most powerful earthquakes (remeasured at 9.0 on the Richter scale) hit one of the most prepared places for an earthquake. This is the fourth strongest earthquake since 1900 (when we started measuring such things)-and the strongest earthquake to ever hit Japan. The earthquake that hit Indonesia and caused the tsunami that killed 230,000 was the same strength- measuring 9.0. The January 2010 earthquake in Haiti was a 7.0; the earthquake in Chile in February 2010 was 8.8. One commentator described it as a "disaster of biblical proportions." Maybe the proportions were described in the passages above in Matthew 24 and Revelation 16- which speak of earthquakes coming at the end of human history- heralding the second coming of Christ. In the past- as when the earthquake hit Israel in Amos' day- people turned back to God in repentance. In our secular day- the strong temptation is to describe the earthquake by measuring damage, length, depth, scale but not asking the question, "why?". For many secular folk this is an absurd question. For Christians disasters are alarm clocks waking us up to our need to pray and call out to God. However, Revelation describes a dreadful day when horror after horror; plague after plague; disaster after disaster comes yet people refuse to repent (Rev. 16:9,11). Some will go on buying their IPAD2s as if nothing happened. However, Lent is a natural time for repentance. Let us call out to God for mercy and help for the people of Japan, and for mercy and help for us.
Prayer: Lord, have mercy; Christ have mercy; Lord have mercy on us. Be a source of strength and a visible help to the people of Japan. Strengthen the hands of your church there through this.
See link on devotion about a year ago written after Chilean earthquake: http://devotionalonjesus.blogspot.com/2010/02/psalm-4612-handling-earthquakes.html