When God Roars
1. The World Roars
This world is beginning to roar, as prophesied long ago in Scripture:
“Oh, the raging of many nations–they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples–they roar like the roaring of great waters!” (Isaiah 17:12 NIV).
But what does it mean that the nations are roaring? People and nations of people roar for many reasons, such as when seeking to conquer other nations and peoples. It is customary for an army to shout loudly when attacking, in order to instill fear into their victims, just as a lion or other beast of prey does. With today’s modern armaments, battles are very much a fiercely noisome affair. Anyone who has survived an artillery barrage will tell you what a terrifying ordeal it is, with the extremely loud explosions and the shaking of the ground upon impact. Roaring is part of warfare, from the belligerent tone of speeches beforehand to the actual physical combat once war has started.
But even in relative peace between wars there can be shouting and roaring of peoples. It is commonplace these days, with modern technology’s advancements, to boast about man’s accomplishments in science and technology. God is brushed aside as unnecessary, as this technology seems unstoppable, aiming now even to replace man with bionic, transhuman entities. God is no longer needed, for many espousing this brash faith in man’s technical abilities. Man is the new god. They roar in their defiance of God.
Whether in science, war between nations, culture, or any other aspect of life, more and more the people are abandoning God and roaring in their proud rebellion against him and his ways and laws. They pass laws making sexual immorality and perversion legal, even legalizing the killing of babies. This should not surprise us, for this roaring against God was used to help bring about even the killing of God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, upon the cross:
“But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed” (Lk. 23:23 NIV).
“We will triumph with our tongues; we own our lips–who is our master?” (Ps. 12:4 NIV).
This is the roaring of the world. It roars against God and his ways:
“The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters'” (Ps. 2:2-3 NIV).
2. God pays no attention to their roars.
The world, in its blindness and arrogance, thinks that it can defy God with impunity, daring to cast aside his laws and foolishly thinking that it has power even to push aside the Almighty. It thus roars against God.
What is the Almighty God’s response? Well, what do you think? Does One who is infinite in power pay any attention to such empty boasting? God is like a lion paying no attention to the threats and boasts of puny man.
“This is what the LORD says to me: ‘As a lion growls, a great lion over his prey–and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against him, he is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor–so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights” (Is. 31:4 NIV).
“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath” (Ps. 2:4-5 NIV).
3. God sends invading armies to punish roaring nations.
“The LORD will destroy Babylon; he will silence her noisy din. Waves of enemies will rage like great waters; the roar of their voices will resound. A destroyer will come against Babylon; her warriors will be captured, and their bows will be broken. For the LORD is a God of retribution; he will repay in full” (Jer. 51:55-56 NIV).
Babylon is frequently used as a symbol or designation in God’s Word for any nation or people that defies God and arrogantly chooses its own way rather than his. The literal Babylon of old felt the wrath of God’s anger over its proud ways that opposed him, and the Babylons of today will also suffer the same fate.
“Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale” (Is. 17:13 NIV).
Whether the Babylon of old or that of today, the principle remains the same, the punishment the same, for God’s ways are eternal.
“His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps. He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal” (Hab. 3:4-6 NIV).
4. God Roars
After using man’s armies as his tools of punishment, God himself will punish the whole world for its unrepentant sin. The magnitude of this awful roar is unimaginable, though the prophets try to convey some sense of that terrible roar of God.
“Now prophesy all these words against them and say to them: ‘The LORD will roar from on high; he will thunder from his holy dwelling and roar mightily against his land. He will shout like those who tread the grapes, shout against all who live on the earth. The tumult will resound to the ends of the earth, for the LORD will bring charges against the nations; he will bring judgment on all mankind and put the wicked to the sword,’ declares the LORD” (Jer. 25:30-31 NIV).
“At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back” (Job 37:1-4 NIV).
Not only is God’s wrath terrible beyond human imagining, there is something even more terrifying in the great outpouring of God’s wrath, as noted in the passage from Job above. It says that “he holds nothing back.” It is impossible to conceive of the awfulness of God holding nothing back in his wrath. It makes any being tremble in overpowering fear. It is so powerful and awful that Scripture says that those about to feel that wrath issue one final cry of desperation and utter fear.
“The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear. Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth” (Isaiah 2:17-19 NIV).
“Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?'” (Rev. 6:15-17 NIV).
It is at this climactic moment in all history that those who roared at God in defiance will see just utterly foolish and wicked that roar was. They may have roared at God, but to no avail. Now he roars back at them.
“37 Babylon will be a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, an object of horror and scorn, a place where no one lives.
38 Her people all roar like young lions, they growl like lion cubs.
39 But while they are aroused, I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laughter– then sleep forever and not awake,” declares the LORD” (Jer. 51:37-39 NIV).
This prophecy from Jeremiah has a literal and a figurative meaning. The figurative meaning certainly applies to the roaring of this Babylonian world today. As verse 38 accurately describes our world today, this world growls against God. But it is the growl of little lion cubs, powerless against the triumphant Lion of Judah, Jesus (Rev. 5:5), who judges them (Jn. 5:22) and sends them to their eternal doom (Mt. 25:41). That doom is to exist forever in a horrible place of darkness and fire–hell or the lake of fire–in which no one lives but all are dead forever, yet without ceasing to exist or without losing their consciousness. They exist but without life, for only in Jesus is there life (John 14:6).
That takes care of the first two verses of the passage quoted from Jeremiah, leaving only the third and last verse, verse 39, in which God says, “While they are aroused, I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laughter–then sleep forever and not awake,”
What a frightening picture of today’s world. So many exult in the excitement of living in a technologically advanced world, with all the many wonders available to them. They feast and become drunk on this abundance and roar with laughter–only to end up in the sleep of death from which they will not awake. Then all that they have experienced in life, its many wonders and great blessings, will seem as a dream and fantasy.
“7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, ‘How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?’
12 This is what the wicked are like–always carefree, they increase in wealth. . . . I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!
20 As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies” (Ps. 73:7-20 NIV).
The utopian world which those who roar against God envision is nothing more than a fantasy. Without God, there is no reality. He is ultimate reality. Therefore, they suffer the punishment corresponding to their sin of living in a fantasy world by having that fantasy be swept aside when God “awakes” and, despising their fantasies, roars it away into nothingness. They pictured God as asleep and a fantasy. Now, when he “awakes”, they are the ones who, as Jeremiah has said, will sleep forever and not awake.
This is how terrible it will be when God roars. All thought of escape is abandoned as those upon whom God’s wrath is about to fall ask the only question that matters: Who can stand this great wrath of God?
Surprisingly, and thankfully, God’s Word says that there will be those who withstand his awesome wrath. Amazing! How is this possible? It is possible because Jesus Christ has paid the price for release from God’s wrath over sin, by dying on the cross in our place. Jesus Christ has rescued those who surrender to him as Lord and Savior from the wrath of God (1 Cor. 1:10).
5. God Saves
“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger” (Zeph. 2:3 NIV).
“The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel” (Joel 3:16 NIV).
This is the amazing, wonderful promise from God to those who admit their sinfulness and look to Jesus to rescue them from his righteous wrath over that sinful nature. They shall escape the wrath of God on the day when God roars.
Friend, are you ready for that great Day of days? Have you surrendered your soul to the only one who can save it from eternal death on the Day, Jesus Christ? If not, don’t put it off another day, for “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2 NIV).
Today, God pleads with you, woos you gently with his Holy Spirit, to surrender to Jesus Christ. Do not be stubborn or proud. Listen–and live! Otherwise, you will be lost forever on the Day when God ROARS.