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God’s Wrath

June 24, 2010

In 1789, First Mate Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Captain William Bligh on the HMS Bounty.  Bligh and 18 of his loyal crewman who refused to take part in the mutiny were ordered into a tiny boat and pushed out to sea.  Fletcher, 8 mutineers, and several Tahitians set out for the uninhabited island of Pitcairn to enjoy their plunder.

There they made whiskey from some plants, and the result was drunken orgies and violent fighting.  The island paradise had become a prison, and all but one of the mutineers was killed in fights or murdered in his sleep.  Alexander Smith was the lone survivor, along with the women and fatherless children.

As the only adult male, Smith felt responsible to care for the rest, but he knew he lacked the wisdom.  Finding a Bible in a chest, he read it from cover to cover over the course of a few weeks, surrendered his life to God, and began to teach the women and children to read from the Bible.

Eighteen years after the mutiny on the HMS Bounty, the Topaz, an American ship, stumbled upon the island of Pitcairn.  There they found a small, organized, Christian community.  No violence.  No crime.  No alcoholism.  No illiteracy.  Just peace.

The story of the mutineers demonstrates the reality of God’s wrath.  As Romans 1 tells us, after people willingly choose to be ignorant of God, claim to wise, and openly encourage an immoral lifestyle, God gives them over to their desires (Romans 1:24).  God’s wrath, in effect, is the removal of His presence and peace.  “Fine, have it your way”, says God, and the ravaging effects of our sin break forth in full force.

For those of us who know God as our Lord, let us be grateful that He does not give us every desire of our naturally sinful hearts, and that restoration can always be found by those who turn back to Him!

Nick B

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