Aloha Means Goodbye

“They dwell in his tent who are none of his; brimstone is scattered on his dwelling (Job 18:15).”

Most people find the Hawaiian Islands to be a paradise, a veritable garden of Eden. But for residents of the Leilani Estates community on the big island they have been dealing with massive volcano eruptions, oozing lava consuming everything in its path and setting blazes, volcanic ash, poison gases, earthquakes, and gaping fissures opening in the earth destroying homes and property. (1) Some residents have ignored evacuation pleas and are remaining to defend their homes and their neighbor’s homes from the vengeance spewing from Mount Kilauea. Daryl Clinton was one such guardian. He would dodge flying chunks of molten rock and with his garden hose and a fire extinguisher quickly limit their damage, all the while evading their deadly trajectories. But last week he was taking a phone call on his porch when a bowling ball sized lava bomb hit him directly in the leg setting him and his porch ablaze. (2) He’s recovering in a hospital, thankful to still be alive.

Kilauea has been continuously erupting since January of 1983. It is a steep price to pay for a chance to live in paradise. For many homeowners they will have no domiciles to return to and roads and infrastructure will take quite some time to uncover from the layers of fresh lava. With gaping fissures splitting the earth, some will not even have viable property to rebuild upon.

Sadly, most in this world have built their lives on even less solid ground. Jesus told of those who built their house on the sand only to see it destroyed by the forces of this world. Of course, He was referring to those who built their lives on any principles other than His teachings (Matthew 7:26-27).

Many have mistaken the pleasures of this world for a paradise and have failed to evaluate the tenuous foundations upon which their eternal destinies are teetering. They stubbornly face storms and strong forces that prevail against their worldviews and determine to stand up and defend their tenuous turf rather than evacuating and seeking secure shelter. At some point there will come a flaming lava bomb with their name on it.

Sodom and Gomorrah stand for all time as representative of God’s judgment against men who build their homes on immoral grounds (Genesis 19:1-25). Before raining down brimstone and fire upon those cities God sent a rescue party to all who would evacuate (vv.12-13). Lot plead with his daughters and sons-in-laws to vacate immediately but they neglected his call of salvation (v.14). Only 3 made it out alive (v.30).

God brought similar judgment upon Pharaoh and Egypt in the seventh plague, “And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground (Exodus 9:23). Too bad if your home was in Egypt. “Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail (v.26).” Again, when the Israelites went into battle against the five kings of the Amorites that more of the enemy were killed from “large hailstones from heaven” than from the Hebrew’s swords (Joshua 10:11).

Yes, this is a “fire and brimstone” article, but the visual should serve sobering to any who are counting on defending their own plans for eternity and encourage them to seek securing the true paradise of God that can only be found by heeding His call of rescue. It’s not too late to build your house on that solid ground (Matthew 7:24-25).

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).”


Billy Alexander is a member of the church of Christ in Jersey Village in Houston, TX. He and his wife Gwen both work at Hewlett-Packard where they met and have worked more than 25 years each. Billy enjoys teaching Bible several times each week at Jersey Village and Memorial church of Christ. Since 2008, his weekly article "Equipping the Saints" as run in the Jersey Village bulletin.