A large storm system stretching from Texas up to the Great Lakes and down to North Carolina moved through the U.S. on Wednesday. Illinois was particularly hard hit where two people died and many homes were swept off their foundations. Many others were injured as the storm passed through. In addition to high winds and rain, grapefruit-size hail, up to about four inches in diameter, came down, smashing cars and buildings.
Twelve people who sought safety in a storm cellar beneath a restaurant, found themselves trapped when the restaurant collapsed on top of the cellar’s entryway. The group was rescued ninety minutes later.
The unusual event in this situation is the size of the hail. It reminds us that the Bible talks frequently about hail. Many times God uses it for judgment and sometimes it is used to encourage people to live according to God’s statutes. When Moses was trying to get the Jews released from Egypt, he announced that one of the plagues would be a severe hailstorm. The Bible tells us that one of Pharaoh’s servants feared the word of the Lord and brought his people and livestock into the buildings. Livestock left in the open perished while his lived.
In the future when God judges the earth, the Bible tells of a time when hail mixed with fire will be cast to the earth. This will cause a third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all the green grass to be burned up.
Some may think grapefruit size hail is large and can cause significant damage. The Bible tells of a time during the tribulation period when hailstones of about a hundred pounds each will fall from the sky. This will cause men to speak irreverently about God because of the plague of hail.
The plague of hail is typically used on the enemies of God or those who don’t want to follow His ways. Many might find it hard to believe – but plagues are often meant to turn people to God and a better way of life. Think about how a drug or alcohol dependant person might view the well-meaning intent of the actions in a rehabilitation hospital. The people on the receiving end don’t appreciate the methods used by those who care and want to help people avert disaster. What we see today reminds us of what is coming. The good news is we don’t have to go through this judgment if we follow God’s way now.