Climate Change: The Bounds of the Sea, Jeremiah 5:22
27th February 2011, mgh
1) Climate Change: The Bounds of the Sea, Jeremiah 5:22
Today one of the greatest fears facing the nations is 'climate change' and 'global warming'. There are fears among politicians and many people that some low lying islands and coastal land will be submerged or inundated by the sea as ice melts and the sea level rises.
Does the Bible give any comment on the 'bounds of the sea?
Jeremiah in explaining the Creator's great power, stated that Yahweh had set a 'bound' (a boundary or limit) to how far the sea would extend across the land. Even though great storms can rage there has been set a limit to the distance the water of the sea will invade coastal lands. When there are Tsunamis, hurricanes and cyclones and the sea invades the land, the sea will soon return to its appointed boundary. This is indeed a comfort for mankind and we observe the evidence of this regularly when storms rage around the world. Yahweh sates that he has “placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree”.
Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? (Jeremiah 5:22)
The Psalmist also speaks of Yahweh's power and that he has set the 'bound' of the sea.
Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who covers thyself with light as with a garment: who stretches out the heavens like a curtain: Who lays the beams of his chambers in the waters: who makes the clouds his chariot: who walks upon the wings of the wind: Who makes his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which you have founded for them.
You have set a bound that they (the waters) may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. (Psalms 104:1-9)
The Psalmist in verse 9 of this Psalm makes a reference to the flood in the days of Noah which covered the earth. Yahweh promises that he would not again curse the earth in such a way. This assures us that Jeremiah and the Psalmist speak the truth and that bounds have been set for sea's waters.
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.(Genesis 8:21-22 )
Isaiah addressing Israel and reaffirming the promises made to the patriarchs despite the nation of Israel's failures, confirmed the Covenant made with Noah.
For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that has mercy on thee. (Isaiah 54:7-10)
In today's world in many places, houses, land subdivisions and tourist accommodation facilities are being built close to the shore and pristine beaches. The sea breezes, sunshine and sand make for a pleasing environment. However, the Bible in the teaching of the Messiah records a significant and most interesting observation and parallel to the foundations of faith and wisdom, with building on the sandy shore.
Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)
In a practical sense, if people build too close to the coastal regions on low lying land the sea may pass its bounds destroying what is in its path, before it returns to its appointed limits. Many people on low lying islands are fearful of rising sea levels, but to what extend are the movements such as earthquake and volcanic activity of the ocean floor responsible for the rise and possible disappearance of these small exotic islands? We should have no fear of the tumultuous and raging sea, if we heed the advice we find in the Word of God.
The following passage from the Psalms acknowledges Yahweh's great power and the honour and reverence due to him. It is Yahweh who controls 'the raging of the sea' and calms the tumultuous sea. It is in this that we must place our confidence, not in the theories of mankind.
For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.
O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?
You rule the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. (Psalms 89:6-9)
In Psalm 94 there is a cry to Yahweh to judge the wicked. There is still much wickedness in the world today and little reverence for the Creator.
LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? (Psalms 94:3:-4)
In the following Psalm, the Psalmist also expresses confidence in Yahweh and if we can have that confidence also, we should not fear the wickedness, the disasters and trials that face the world and that will continue to affect the world, as we know He is in control, and is 'the rock of our salvation' .
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. (Psalms 95:1-6)
For more Faith to Move Mountains