“Then, they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’
and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’” Luke 23:30 NIV
Growing up, in the 1950s was fun. However, it also had a sinister problem which hung-over everyone’s head. The problem, which is still with us today, concerned the growing nuclear arsenals in the world. The teachers, in our elementary school, instructions were ominous. Their concerns centered on the possibility of a nuclear attack. I can still hear and see them saying to us,
“If you see the flash, DUCK and COVER!”
If you don’t understand this statement, this is the meaning. If you see the atomic flash, quickly duck under your desk, cover your head, and you will be safe. Yes, salvation from the nuclear explosion will happen if you duck and cover. This teaching seems to come from someone who is a little unstable. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over this memory. The lunacy of it is neither hilarious nor pathetic. The truth is, if you see the flash of an atomic bomb, it will be the last thing you will see this side of eternity.
Fast-forward to today, I still see the duck and cover method being applied. All sorts of people apply this method in their lives. Both, Christians and non-Christians put duck and cover into action. Sadly, I catch myself using it, also. We all have the responsibility to obey God. Jesus told his followers,
“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15 NIV
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 NKJV
This is a hard teaching to obey. Many of us find an excuse not to obey it. With this excuse, we duck out of obedience and use it as our cover reason to disobey. Maybe, you are in a duck and cover situation with someone who wronged you. Perhaps, a fellow Christian did you bad, and you cannot find it in your heart to love and forgive. You duck out of it by the excuse of his or her sin against you and cover yourself with self-pity over it. The result, we excuse ourselves from obedience of Christ with a false set of scruples.
The non-Christian uses the duck and cover method against believing in Christ. When people are confronted with the need to accept Christ as Savior, out come the excuses to not do this. They duck out of accepting Him and cover themselves with their excuse to justify their rejection. This is exemplified by a rich young ruler who heard the gospel from Jesus. After much bantering between the two, Jesus confronts him on an action, he needed to take.
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19: 21-22 NKJV
The rich young ruler ducks away from Jesus and uses his wealth as a cover to do so.
The problem for duck and cover Christians and non-Christians is the same. In the 1950s, we were afraid of the atomic blast flash. We today, also need to be frightened of a flash. This is the flash of the second coming of Christ. The lunacy of disobedience is not hilarious but pathetic. The flash of the second coming will be the last thing everyone sees this side of eternity.
“For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.” Luke 17:24 NKJV
Perhaps, you are a parent, teacher, employer, or someone responsible for the behavior of those under you? How do you feel when the duck and cover method is employed against you? I bet you feel upset and perhaps a little angry. God feels the same way about this too! God lets us in on His feelings in Genesis 6:5-6.
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” NRSV
A close look at these verses teaches; the Lord God has emotions and feelings. His understanding of human behavior is very grieving to Him. Have you ever had the feeling of sorrow by an action you took? Well, the Lord had this feeling concerning us, “He was sorry He made us!” It is quite evident, as the behavior of the world was then it, even so, is now. The wickedness of people around the world is very pronounced. God still feels the same way about this. How God responds to this sorrow of His is expressed in two ways. His response to the people of old was cataclysmic.
“So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.” Genesis 6:7-8 NRSV
The Lord, with tears in His eyes, wiped out the duck and cover people of Noah’s day in a global flood. God’s second response, to the wickedness of today’s duck and cover people, is amazing. Instead of wiping us out, He transferred His sorrow and grief onto Himself. He punishes His Son instead of us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16 NRSV
The Father, with tears in His eyes, sacrifices His Son, to save the world, in order to keep the world from perishing.
Duck and cover people, of yesterday and today miss this wonderful grace of God. Only up-front and honest Noah did not duck and cover himself before God. The result for Noah is God saves him and his family. Noah understood,
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NKJV
To Christians and non-Christians alike, it is time to be up-front and honest with ourselves before God. The false way of self-preservation, through duck and covering needs to end. The Holy Spirit makes this clear to all through the writings of the Apostle John in 1 John 1:8-10.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” NKJV
We have been very fortunate people. Our prosperity lies in the grace of God. His grace prevents us from experiencing the flash of a nuclear explosion. God’s grace also holds back the second coming flash of His Son, Jesus, whom He raised from the dead. My understanding of this is, God is permitting us to stop our duck and covering self-preservation, to accept His preservation of salvation through Christ. Christians and non-Christians everywhere, need to stop ducking away from repentance and covering of sins through foolish pride. Get right with God before the final flash appears. Why should you cry out like this on that day?
“Then, they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’” Luke 23:30 NIV
Guy Calandra, Author of The Inside Word!