Back in November last year I received a vision of a picturesque bay of water, with a town nestling by the waters edge and securely protected by a headland. Water gently lapping in the bay, blue sky overhead.
But in the bay, most incongruously, a smoking, lava-spewing hill – perhaps a volcano. Not erupting, but restless and with the ominous potential to do so. The volcano did not fit – simply not part of the idyllic scene.
A deeper understanding of the vision did not come to me until January this year. I had left off in November with the sense that the volcano was wrong for the picture – it did not fit or feel right. But in January I began to see this volcano as the mountain of God – his judgment. I had read of a similar vision, and then Rev 8 v8 came to mind:
The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood.
Truth is, the mountain does not belong, and more than our sin belongs, but there it is. I wonder if we can grasp just how much sin and the resulting judgment is as far from God’s desire as the East is from the West? We consider God to be an angry and often judgmental God, and if we are honest we often secretly delight in His judgment, as long as it happens to someone else. But both the sin and the mountain are a mar on the original purposes of His creation, neither are His wish. Hence the ‘wrongness’ of His judgment – the wrongness that comes from our spewing of toxins into what He called good.
We need to come to understand the seriousness of sin, the seriousness of judgment, and the overwhelming goodness, holiness, mercy and justice of God.