A great spirit of "celebration" dominates the republic of the United States over the death of Osama bin Laden, who was considered "Public Enemy #1" throughout much of the world. --- media sources are full and overflowing with written and broadcast reports accompanied by a myriad of photos detailing the great "celebration."
On Monday, May 2nd, I posted a blog that suggested a celebration of the death of Osama bin Laden is not good and cited reasons for that position. But who would pay any attention to a country boy farmer whom Jesus Christ redeemed from sin and then called to preach and teach His Word? But for any who have not read it and might consider doing so, it is at Osama bin Laden Dead? Don't Dance in the Streets and Celebrate Just Yet!
But now consider some celebrations in the past that ended in disaster:
1: Hurricane Camille. Camille was a category 5 storm which hit near the mouth of the Mississippi River on the night of August 14, 1969. Sustained winds were at or above 190 MPH! At least 259 people lost their lives. One reported incident reminds us that we need to be careful of what and where we celebrate. A group of younger aged people made a big joke out of the fact that the police urged them to leave the area because of the severity of the hurricane about to strike. No, they refused to leave and were greatly amused when the police took down their names and addresses. They had a big party going in an upper floor apartment -- they called it a "hurricane party" and the celebration moved into high gear. But then Camille came in with devastating power. The apartment building where the big celebration was taking place was totally destroyed and all persons in the building lost their lives. Ah yes, it is wise to be careful what and where you celebrate, is it not?
2: The Great Depression of 1929. There was a very great "party spirit" existing as people were making money by the bushels and the stock market was booming. It was the time of prohibition but alcohol was still flowing like water and often law enforcement simply looked the other way while pocketing bribe money in many instances. Once in a while there might be a "raid" and the party was broken up, but those were more the exception rather than the rule. But just as the "celebration" was in full swing, it happened -- the stock market crashed. People who had gained wealth found themselves wiped out and penniless! The parties and the celebrations were now over for a long, long time. Suicide rates increased dramatically as many could not face the reality of what had happened! Be careful of what and where you celebrate!
3: RMS Titanic. Some referred to it as a ship that was unsinkable. With a lot of hoopla, RMS Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage in April of 1912 from Southhampton, England to New York. Very powerful and very wealthy people were on board who occupied the first class cabins which were very luxurious to say the least. But there was a "party spirit" which was very obvious and is accurately reflected in movies made about the ship and its first voyage to America. It is speculated that the captain, Edward J. Smith, wanted to set a new record for reaching New York in the shortest time yet. The ship was moving along at a good clip in spite of warnings of ice bergs having been sighted. Then it happened -- a collision with a giant berg which tore a deadly gash in the side of the ship. One movie shows a scene of young men frolicking on the deck amidst the ice thrown on to the deck as a result of the collision. Remains of the Titanic now lie at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean along with whatever is left of the remains of 1,517 passengers who lost their lives. Be careful of what and where you celebrate!
4: A Rich Fool. A man owned land and farmed it. He became very prosperous as his crops produced most abundantly. Then a problem confronted him. The crops were so prosperous that he did not have sufficient room to store them all. A decision was made as he engaged in a personal conversation with himself. This is what he said: "What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?" So he said, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 'And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'" Reason to celebrate, right? Wrong -- God interrupted him in the midst of his intended celebration with these words, But God said to him, "You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?" We know the answer to that, do we not? The money would buy him a fancy casket in which to be buried and the kids would fight over what was left! Jesus told that story in Luke 12:13-21 as a reminder to be careful of what and where you celebrate!
5: The Execution of John the Baptist. He was considered a religious fanatic, but there were those who had listened to him and made a positive response when he called them to repent of their sins and be baptized as a public witness that they had done exactly that. He even rebuked political people for immorality. One of these never forgot that, and likely vowed that she would get him some day in the future. The day came when Herodius' husband, Herod, was throwing a party and the big-wigs were there celebrating his birthday with him. Herodius' daughter did a dance that pleased and excited the crowd immensely. Herod, in the spirit of celebrating, offered his step-daughter anything even up to the half of his kingdom. Instructed by her mother, the daughter asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. The execution was carried out and the head of John was delivered to Herodius who very likely had a great celebration over the death of one she vowed "to get!" Comments on this event are found at Staring at a Severed Head Forever! Details of this incident can be found at Mark 6:21-28. We need to always be careful of what and where we celebrate!
6: Belshazzar's Celebration. Beshazzar was a ruler, second in rank to his father, in the mighty kingdom of ancient Babylon. One night he threw a party and in the midst of the revelry he remembered the vessels from the Jewish temple that had been taken when the Babylonians had invaded and destroyed Jerusalem many years before. So the excitement accelerated in the celebration as they drank out of the golden vessels and praised the heathen gods. Suddenly the image of a man's hand appeared and fingers began to write on the palace wall. Belshazzar was so shook up that it is recorded that his knees began to knock together. Eventually the prophet Daniel was called in to interpret the writings. In summary this ruler learned that God was going to put an end to his kingdom and that he, Belshazzar had been weighed in the balances and found wanting. That very night of the celebration his life was taken as the Medes and Persians invaded the city. Details are given in Daniel 5. Belshazzar and his fellow party people found out that you need to be careful of what and where one celebrates!
Many other happenings in regard to celebrations ending in disaster could be noted here. But the foregoing should be enough to remind us that sometimes a celebration is not a smart thing in which to be involved. Such is the lunacy going on at present in the United States and in some other parts of the world -- the festive spirit and ongoing "celebration" of the death of Osama bin Laden. As I heard the "news" about this, I was reminded that here was a man for whom Jesus died on a Roman cross, as He did for me and for you so that our sins could be forgiven. Unfortunately, Osama bin Laden made some very wrong choices including the rejection of God's mercy as shown in His Son, Jesus Christ, and the choice to follow a false religion and become involved in violent acts which he believed would help purge the world of "infidels." Muslims who are true to their faith and the teachings of the Quran view all non-Muslims as infidels and are specifically instructed not to take Jews nor Christians for their friends!
Somewhere down the road in the future we in the republic of the United States will realize that it was very foolish and deadly to have celebrated the death of Osama bin Laden. Almighty God has indicated that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. So then, who are we that we feel we have the "right" and should do otherwise?
"Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'" --- Ezekiel 33:11