Setting the stage, I have two great verses:
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
As this is published on August 21st 2017, an event will happen that hasn’t happened in the US for over a century:
A total Solar Eclipse. As in the picture above, a solar eclipse is where the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth, throwing us the Earth into shadow.
Have you ever wondered why the Moon appears to fit precisely over the Sun during an eclipse? The Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, yet it's also 1/400th of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The atheist Isaac Asimov described this as being 'the most unlikely coincidence imaginable'.
God set this up well for us to see amazing shows in the sky!
Everyone in the US (including Alaska & Hawaii) will get a partial one. This path shows where you can experience the full eclipse:
My family is traveling down near Kansas City to make it into the totality zone, where we can see the full eclipse (blue line above).
So, in Jonah we have a story most of us are probably familiar with:
The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
Jonah panics not wanting to be the bearer of bad news, and runs the other way, God sends a storm, and Jonah volunteers to be tossed overboard, gets swallowed by a fish, and is there three days and nights until he prayed,
Then he goes to do the job God had first commanded and tells Nineveh of their soon to be destruction, but something totally unexpected happens…
Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”
When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
Great stuff, they repented and God spared them. So you are probably asking, where is the eclipse connection?
Well it turns out that Nineveh is believed to have been primed for the message of Jonah. Cuneiform tablets were found in the 19th century, and they describe what is known as the Bur-Sagale eclipse verified by NASA as occurring June 15th, 763BC. The path of totality was right over Nineveh. It also says two years before there was a plague so bad the King was not able to go out to war as was their custom, followed by a civil war and another plague.
By the time Jonah got there, they had to realize this must be the answer to why they were having all of those problems. They didn’t make excuses, they bucked up and showed God they were all willing as a nation to change and follow him.
“There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Could the eclipse be one of those signs?
To make it more interesting in 2024 there is ANOTHER US Solar Eclipse for the United States. This shows both eclipse tracks:
It’s been said that, on average, a total solar eclipse can be seen from the same place on Earth only once every 375 years. And where I lived as a child in Missouri is close to ground zero. Within 7 years, this area can see two total eclipses:
Could this be a sign that judgement is coming for the United States if we don’t repent?
In any case where does that leave us?
1 Peter 1:13:
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
© Vivian P. Kirkpatrick, 2017
For this devotion in video form, click here.