Unheeded Warnings

As Julius Caesar was on his way to the Senate meeting at which he would be assassinated, someone handed him a note that warned of the plot against him and even named some of the conspirators. But Caesar was too preoccupied to read the note.

On the final night of the Titanic’s tragic voyage, two messages from nearby ships came in, warning of heavy ice directly in her path. But Titanic’s radio operator was trying to catch up on sending messages for passengers. The first radio warning he acknowledged, but never delivered to the bridge. To the second he replied, “Shut up; I’m busy.”

On the morning of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Pacific Fleet Headquarters received a flash message from the destroyer Ward that it had fired on a submarine spotted near the harbor entrance. But the duty officer decided to seek verification of the report rather than sound a general alarm. At almost the same time, the Intercept Center at Fort Shafter in Honolulu received an urgent call from a radar station that had picked up a large number of approaching aircraft. But the lieutenant on duty assumed it was a scheduled flight of American planes and dismissed the report: “Don’t worry about it.”

We can only guess just how differently things might have gone if these warnings had been heeded. But they weren’t. Evidently the people involved thought they had good reasons for doing as they did. But their decisions were costly.

The Bible is full of warnings that are even more serious in nature. Warnings about sin—what it is, where it comes from, and what it can do to our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our friends, our families, our fellow saints, and especially our immortal souls. Warnings to guard our thoughts, our words, our attitudes. Warnings against laziness, indifference, selfishness, carelessness, cowardice. Warnings not to let anything become more important to us than our Lord. Warnings to learn from the examples of people in the past, many of whom paid a terrible price because they did not heed the warnings they were given. So…what will we do with those warnings?