Magnitude 6.6 quake at Columbia today, an earthquake's lessons

After a seeming period of quiet there have suddenly been a spate of major earthquakes. USGS lists a quake as major if it exceeds 6.0 magnitude or those others with a red background have been identified as "significant", based on a combination of magnitude, PAGER alert level, and the number of Did You Feel It? responses. Here is the list of quakes in the last week the USGS deems significant.

Mag 6.6 102km WSW of Mutis, Colombia
Mag 6.1 90km WSW of Paita, Peru
Mag 6.0 112km NW of L'Esperance Rock, New Zealand
Mag 6.0 189km WNW of Saumlaki, Indonesia

Significant: 4.9 9km SSW of Volcano, Hawaii

The Guardian UK reported on today's 6.6 quake in Columbia
"According the U.S. Geological Survey, a severe earthquake has occurred in the Pacific Ocean near Columbia. The earthquake is 6.7 magnitudes and hit about 10:43, local time, this morning. It landed approximately 59 miles west southwest of Mutis, Colombia. No immediate reports of damage and according to the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, no tsunami warning was issued."

God has used earthquakes to speak to His people in the past and will again in the future. In Acts 16:26, He used a quake to release Paul from prison. When Jesus died on the cross, a quake occurred, recorded in Matthew 27:54, "When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" The quake was God speaking to humans ... and they understood. A few days later as Jesus rose from the grave there was another earthquake. Matthew 28:2 records it. "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it." In Ezekiel 38:19 God promises to show Himself through an earthquake (among other things). "In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel."

During the Tribulation, an earthquake will occur in Jerusalem as described in Rev 11:13 where 7000 people will be killed. Later, in Rev 16:18, "Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake." Every mountain will crumble and every island will flee away.

Earthquakes are important events. After a major quake in CA in 1994, John MacArthur preached this:

"My sixth point is this: God uses calamity to call people to repentance. I believe this is intended by God to warn people of what is coming when he destroys the earth. I believe it is to call people to repentance.

And then one last point. Time is limited to heed the warning. Time is limited to heed the warning. Jesus tells a story in verse 6. "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, came looking for fruit on it and didn't find it. Said to the vineyard keeper, 'Behold, for three years I came looking for fruit." By the way, three years was the limit. That's how long they let a fig tree go before they cut it down because it would show its fruit by the third year.

"'I waited three years, I come looking for fruit on the tree, don't find any. Cut it down. Why does it even use up the ground?' And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir. For this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer. If it bears fruit next year, fine. If not, cut it down.'"

What does that say? God is patient, but his patience has a limit, right? Give it another year. No fruit, cut it down. The LORD is compassionate, gracious slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness, but he will not always strive with man.

Sinners live on borrowed time. Sinners have a temporary reprieve. What a profound teacher is an earthquake. Life is fragile, there are limits to self-protection, death is inevitable, the world is cursed, temporal disasters are only previews of what is coming, God uses these frightening calamities to call people to repentance, and you better repent because time is limited.

Further reading

Greatest earthquakes of the bible

Earthquake verses in the bible

Why does God allow natural disasters, i.e. earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis?