Advertising is no new thing. For centuries, people have made banners and placards or painted slogans on buildings to try to get their message across. Years ago, when I was living in a very rural part of East Anglia. I would regularly drive through a nearby village in which there was a building with some very striking paintwork. It was found just at the start of a bend, where the road turned to cross over the railway. By the bridge, down a short track was a rather old hut with, if I recall correctly, a corrugated iron roof... I don't think the building is there any more - when I had a quick check on Google maps it appears to have been replaced. But my memory of the old hut remains, not so much because of the building but because of the slogan roughly painted in enormous white letters on its corrugated roof: 'Prepare to meet they God'. No passer-by or driver could fail to spot it. The location was perfect for advertising.
The words come from the Old Testament book of the prophet Amos - chapter 4 verse 12. In the past, many people would have known these words and been alert to the warning they contain. Sadly, not so today. Why sadly? If ever we draw up a league table of years that threw our best laid plans into confusion then 2020 would rank amongst the leaders. So much has had to change, be postponed, cancelled or done differently. But none of us can cancel our ultimate appointment with God to face His judgement of our sins. This is what Amos was talking about to the people of his day and his words have a startling relevance to all of us today. So, if it can't be cancelled or postponed, is it possible to prepare for such a fearful meeting? No and yes. No, if we think that somehow we can avoid it, or talk our way into the Lord's good books, or persuade Him to back off. But yes, if we are prepared to listen to what the Lord Himself has to say about how to be prepared...he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31, ESV). The very man whom God has appointed to be the judge of the world is none other than Jesus Christ and, wonderfully, He is also the Saviour of sinners. That's why He died on the cross, He was taking the judgement that our sins deserve so that we might be forgiven. To be prepared for our appointment with God the judge, we need to repent of our sins and put our faith in Jesus for salvation. Without that, then we must face God alone.
The old hut with its corrugated roof and hand painted words has now gone, but the message remains. Prepare to meet thy God.