On December 7, 1941, two Army Air Force radar operators on Oahu reported a blip on their screen, which looked like dozens of planes approaching Pearl Harbor. They reported it to Lt. Kermit Tyler, who had been on the job only two days. Tyler knew a squadron of twelve B-17 Flying Fortresses was due to arrive from San Francisco and land at Hickam Field at 8:00 am. He told the operators, “Don’t worry about it.” (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/24/local/la-me-kermit-tyler25-2010feb25).
Radar was in its infancy, American planes were expected, and Tyler hadn’t been adequately trained, but we still wonder what would have happened if he’d heeded the warning. The damage at Pearl Harbor would have been less if the sailors and antiaircraft gunners had been prepared and fighter planes had been dispatched. If more ships had survived, would the Japanese conquests around the Pacific have been slowed or stopped? We’ll never know.
While Lieutenant Tyler had legitimate excuses, King Jehoiakim of Judah did not. In 605 B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his mighty army pressed his attack on Jerusalem. The Lord told Jeremiah to write down the description of the destruction that would come if they continued in their ungodly ways—and that if they repented, the Lord would forgive them. When the scroll was read to King Jehoiakim, he used his knife to cut up the scroll, strip by strip, and burned it.
He—and all of Judah—paid the price for his contemptuous dismissal.
God gives us warnings in Scripture for our own good. His warnings have two promises—continue in your sin and something bad will happen, or repent and be forgiven. He always offers hope and redemption, but only if we choose it. Rejoice in His love always, but never dismiss His warning. Unlike 1941-era radar, God’s word is reliable.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” 2 Peter 3:9.