I was meditating on the meaning of Moses’ words in Exodus 9:29:
“As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the
LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you
may know that the earth is the LORD’s“(emphasis mine).
and Psalm 24:1:
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
and Psalm 50:10-11:
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
…and I thought, If everything belongs to the LORD, then God has exclusive rights to determining the usage of his property. If we abuse or distort God’s property, would we not be guilty of vandalism?
The definition of vandalism is “willful or deliberate destruction or corruption of another’s property”. We have vandalized our bodies, because we belong to the Lord (“and those who dwell therein”, Ps. 24:1; Rom. 14:7-9; 1 Cor. 6:19-20), yet we have corrupted them through immorality, substance abuse, and an idolatrous pursuit of worldly beauty.
We have vandalized our homes, for God owns our marriages (Matt. 19:6) and our children (Ps. 127:3), yet we have corrupted each relationship through infidelity, neglect and abuse.
We have vandalized our communities, for God owns our communities (Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26), yet we have corrupted them through selfish ambition and hatred toward our brother and sister.
We have vandalized our governments, for God owns our governments (Rom. 13:1), yet we have corrupted them through injustice and the legalization of abominations.
We have vandalized our churches, for God owns our churches (Rev. 1:16,20,2:1), yet we have corrupted them through ungodliness, entertainment, prayerlessness, and no biblical preaching.
One night, Annie and I went out to eat at an area in Prince George’s County, MD, that I probably should have been more wise about entering, due to the uniqueness of my marriage (euphemistically speaking). We had a good time, nonetheless, and drove home. The next morning, I realized that one of my tires was flat. I filled it up with the little pump that I keep in my car, and drove the car to a gas station nearby to fill the tire with more air. It was there that I recognized the source of the problem: There was a huge hole in my tire. It had been slashed. When I told Annie, she said that she noticed a group of guys who were staring at us when we entered the restaurant and were staring at us in the parking lot when we left. Could they have done this? We may never know. But that small act of vandalism was enough to anger me. I had no way of finding justice, since I did not see the guys personally. But that is not my point. My point is this: if that little act of destruction sparked outrage in me, a sinner, imagine how angry God is at us for the way we defame and corrupt what ultimately belongs to him?
Praise God for His Son, who does not just paint over our graffiti, but makes all things new through the cross. May we be made speechless by the One who owns all, who is rightfully angered by our vandalism, and who promises to bring restoration on the earth through Jesus.