Warnings and “The Ides of March”

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2

CAESAR : Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.
Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.
CAESAR: What man is that?
BRUTUS : A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
CAESAR: Set him before me; let me see his face.
CASSIUS : Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.
CAESAR What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.
Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.
CAESAR: He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

Act 3, Scene 1

CAESAR: The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Ay, Caesar; but not gone.

Today is the ides of March.  Last year, Pastor Frank Sansone preached (and wrote) on Warnings, using the Shakespeare quotes above to illustrate his point.  (I can’t seem to figure out how to link it directly, the link goes to his church website, and from there you click “The Pastor’s Pen” and scroll down to “Warnings” in March 2011.)  I strongly recommend you read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

Warnings are important and we must deal with warnings properly. When we understand the Biblical truth regarding warnings, we should be much more inclined to deal with warnings properly. We must understand the nature of warnings – that they are “Good, not bad” – that they are designed to enlighten, not enrage, they are designed to protect, not punish and they are a depiction of concern, not condemnation. We must understand the instruments of warning – that God has chosen to warn us through His Word and through His people. And we must make the right response to warning – accepting rather than rejecting the warnings.

Just to reiterate part of that:

The Purpose of Warnings

Enlighten not Enrage
Protect not Punish
Concern not Condemnation

Do we listen to and consider warnings, or do we decide that they are not really of concern to us?  Are we teachable, or are we just plain stubborn?  Are we so self-sufficient in our own abilities that we think it can’t happen to us, never thinking that we might be rejecting God’s provision of safety for us by ignoring warnings He has sent?

Proverbs is full of statements telling us not to be fools, but rather to listen to warnings and counsel.  Any warning based on Biblical principle should grab our attention, whether the “ides of March” of the warning are far in the future or near at hand.

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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