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Fireworks

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Judges 16:28, NIV.

The tragic story of this phenomenally powerful yet incredibly weak young man is well known. The pitiful final result of Samson’s foolish infatuation with a bewitchingly beautiful woman was the loss first of his hair, then of divine power, followed by freedom, and ultimately by both of his eyes, which motivated his suicidal act. His anguished petition screams out feelings many people will suffer this month, as their eyes are also brutally injured while enjoying enchanting visions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, hospital emergency rooms treat approximately 12,000 fireworks injuries every year. The estimated cost is more than $24 million. One in five injuries involves the eyes, with half of them resulting in blindness or removal of the eyes. Three types of fireworks were most responsible for injuries: firecrackers; bottle rockets (which caused 72 percent of hospitalizations); and sparklers (producing severe burns by reaching temperatures as high as 1,800°F, which can melt gold). In 1991 fireworks started an estimated 25,500 fires, causing more than $33 million in property damage.

Fewer than a dozen states ban all private fireworks; some have no laws whatsoever, and unregulated mail-order sales or bootlegging disseminates these explosive devices. Many of the injuries occur from misuse (intentionally aiming a rocket at people, or throwing it after lighting it) or from malfunction such as erratic flight, premature explosions, or ricocheting off a hard surface. Almost 80 percent of injuries occur around the Fourth of July, and more than half affect children and teenagers.

Fireworks have a captivating excitement and seductive beauty that Samson would recognize. Only too late did he realize that the seductive Delilah would be one of the very last things he would ever see. How high the cost and how brief the thrill! It reminds me of the proverb “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” (Prov. 6:27, NIV).

Lord, let me not play with fire!


Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.


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