Higher Ground

Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™  I AM Ministries

“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”

Normal I AM

Friday, May 29, 2015

Higher Ground

This week’s epic flooding in Texas sent residents scrambling for safe locations on higher ground, away from vulnerable riverside locations. Memories of Hurricane Katrina slamming into New Orleans in 2005 came flooding back into many minds. Katrina, left most of New Orleans underwater and without electricity; only a few locations above sea level went relatively unscathed.

The Bourbon Street area of New Orleans fared much better than most. Electrical power remained working in parts of those neighborhoods and people were able to subsist until emergency assistance arrived. In fact, some residents hardly missed a beat. Newscasts showed many locals drinking in the bars and admitting to stealing their neighbor’s liquor to continue their own partying. Their good fortune resulted by taking a position on the higher ground, a few feet above the floodwaters.

When the French originally settled New Orleans, they choose not to build in the locations below sea level where much of the city’s development focused in the 20th century. No levees existed when the French arrived to keep the water out, so the French did the logical thing and established their colony on the higher ground alongside the river and the sea. This elevated area later became the French Quarter, notorious for Bourbon Street and the lifestyles focusing on decadence and debauchery.

The irony is palpable – why God would wipe out most of the city of New Orleans and leave the dens of iniquity almost untouched? While innocent people suffered without food, water, shelter, electricity, sanitary services, or other basic necessities of life at the Superdome and other parts of New Orleans, those in the French Quarter sponsored one of their grandest parties, enjoyed life, and flaunted their lifestyle in the midst of monumental tragedy and human misery.

Since the fall of man, sin has plagued mankind. God repeatedly recorded sin in the Bible so we could see the destructive and devastating impact on the lives of those committing the sin. Adam and Eve were forced to leave the perfect Garden. Those in Sodom and Gomorrah were wiped out. Whereas God allows sin, He also shows us He punishes sin.

Since many people don’t read the Bible, God may have used television and other mass media to show the world images of sin. Images from the headquarters of sin and debauchery in New Orleans were broadcast around the world. No one had to open a book or pick up the newspaper, read a magazine or travel to New Orleans, the pictures came right into in our living rooms. The display of revelry on Bourbon Street served as a sad contrast to the surrounding suffering and should have caused us outrage.

The message can still be puzzling, however. As with the often obscure parables Jesus taught, perhaps God is calling us to search for the hidden meaning and spiritual message. Jesus often turned physical examples quickly into spiritual lessons. With Nicodemus, it was physical vs. spiritual birth. With the woman at the well, it was physical thirst vs. His living water and spiritual thirst. What, then, was His intention and lesson for us as He used the New Orleans disaster to make a spectacle of sin?

In New Orleans, sin was exposed clearly on the higher physical ground of the city. One spiritual message is that God wants us to be repulsed by the sin and to climb to higher ground spiritually. When Noah’s sons Shem and Japheth saw their father’s nakedness, they were repulsed and took the higher ground. They covered him, in contrast to their brother Ham who gazed upon his father. When Joseph was propositioned by Potipher’s wife, Joseph was convicted to take the higher ground and refused to sin. Thus, in New Orleans, God used the sin of a few to convict the millions of us who viewed these images. When given the choice between partying and helping others, we should focus on loving our neighbor.

Sin is not normal according to God’s ways, but He is not shy about showing us the ugliness of sin. Whether that was one of His messages from the Hurricane Katrina disaster, He has always called us to move to higher ground spiritually. If you’re not moving toward God, you stand on sinking ground. Where are you in your spiritual life today? Take the opportunity of this day the LORD has made to adopt God’s normal ways by moving to higher ground in your spiritual life.

In His love and service,

Jeff Myers
A servant of Jesus Christ


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