Everywhere you look, there’s excitement about today’s solar eclipse. Scientists tells us that the “peak” moment in New Albany, Indiana will be at 2:26 PM. Schools are dismissing early, people are traveling to our region from thousands of miles away, and many are still scrambling to find a pair of those elusive eclipse glasses.
Have you stopped to think about how we know what’s about to happen today? As early as Genesis 8:22, the God who had spoken light into existence (Gen 1:3) and placed “lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night” (Gen 1:14) had promised, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” The Creator’s expressed will for the sun, moon, and stars was that they be “for signs and for seasons, and for days and years.”
Highly educated people have known for years what will occur in the sky above New Albany, Indiana at 2:26 PM on August 21, 2017. How? For millennia, the sun has “risen,” and the sun has “gone down” (Eccl 1:5). Why? Because “the universe” is “upheld” by the “word of [God’s] power” (Heb 1:3). We know that the sun will rise today at 7:03 AM and set at 8:28 PM. How? Because the universe continues to be upheld by the word of our Creator’s power. With every rising of the sun we can continue to affirm with the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).
And yet, we are challenged toward the end of the Bible, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ —yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15).
Are you sure there will be a solar eclipse today? We have every reason to believe that it’s going to happen. “While the earth remains,” the sun and moon continue along their Creator’s designed course. But notice carefully what the Lord God Almighty has said: “While the earth remains.” Eventually, it won’t. “You do not know what tomorrow will bring.” In all honesty, we don’t. If our Creator continues to uphold the universe by the word of his power, there will be a solar eclipse today.
But do you know what’s even more sure to come than today’s eclipse?
The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? (2 Pet 3:10-12)
By God’s grace, we can anticipate “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13). Eventually, there will be “no need of sun or moon to shine … for the glory of God” will provide all the light we need (Rev 21:23). Our Savior and Redeemer has “prepared a place” (John 14:1-4) for those who are willing to prepare for his coming … and he is coming. That fact is more sure than the rising of today’s sun.
How patient he has been with us, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). What sort of people ought we to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening his coming? Are you ready?