There are a lot of things that scare me. Black widows, the I-5 Ashland summit during the winter, the dark…
But there are a few things that terrify me. The worst is my fear of buoys. Yes, you read that correctly. Those big floaty things in the ocean terrify me. It’s not the way they look, or move, but rather the thought of having to be near one. It makes me sick to my stomach. The other phobia I’m sure I have is of glory holes.
It’s basically a big drain in a lake. This particular one is in Whiskeytown Lake in Redding. If you look behind the glory hole in the picture, you’ll see a line of buoys and ropes, sectioning off this area as “prohibited”.
Prohibited. Hmmmm…. That word does all sorts of different things to different people.
If you don’t think about it, it sure seems like the Bible is full of a lot of rules. Sure seems like there’s a lot of “dont’s.” And to a lot of people, those “dont’s” seem to be the things that they want to do the most.
But if you really think about it…
In the Bible, everytime God says “no” it’s because He’s protecting someone from something. Some rules like that are contextual, like God telling them not to eat certain types of meat for health reasons.
Others are timeless.
Like when God says not to be sexually immoral. God’s not against sex. Truth is, He invented it, and there’s a whole book of the Bible dedicated to the most beautiful display of physical love, the Song of Solomon. But God explicitly says not to do it before marriage. He ropes it off. And He can do that cause He made it. He knows what it’s for, the purpose, the power, the magnitude. Inside the confines of marriage, it can do wonders. When partnered with unconditional love, commitment, pursuit of Godliness, it’s nothing short of a miracle. But outside marriage, it’s a dangerous weapon. Just look around. Look at the fatherless children, the broken hearts, the anger, the bitterness, the destruction that comes from one physical act. It’s just sex, right?
Or is it.
There’s another book in the Bible called Ruth. It’s a short book about a woman that marries into a Israelite family. The Israelites had been rescued from slavery, and were no longer nomads, but had been given their promised land. God had fulfilled His promise, above and beyond.
But there was a famine and Ruth’s family decided to move away from the promised land and into the enemy territory where they could find food. “Here they stood on the precipice of a sticky decision- to stay in the arid land of God’s choosing or to flee to the bountiful one God has roped off?” What happened next was devastating. Ruth’s family moved to enemy territory and all the men died of sickness. The father, the husband, the brother. The three women were left alone in enemy territory with nothing and no one to help them.
“Escaping to easier terrain is all too tempting when we are weary in hardship.”
But… I wonder… once in that “roped off” area, will we will be glad we went there? That we didn’t trust God enough to make our way? That we went into enemy territory cause we were hungry?
Ruth’s story is one of redemption though. It didn’t end there. One woman stays behind, but Ruth and her mother-in-law return to God’s promised land, penniless and homeless. It doesn’t happen overnight, and I suggest you read it for yourself, but it’s full of hope. Ruth marries again and is blessed beyond her imagination. She even becomes apart of the lineage through which Christ was born.
But in order to receive healing, restoration, and blessing she had to get out of that roped off area and back to where she was supposed to be. The deaths could never be reversed though, that pain always in her heart. But God’s love was so great that He gave her something else.
Whatever that roped off area is that you’re staring down… turn and run. Don’t reason with yourself as to why you should go there. If God said “NO!” then He had a very good reason for it. And you’re in for nothing but the death of something. Death of a marriage, death of a relationship, or the death of something else you didn’t even consider…
And I’d say that “run” would be good advice if you’re already in that area you weren’t supposed to be, standing on the ledge of that hole you once deemed glorious. Run. Run. Run. Back into the arms of the ONE that never failed you.
(The two quoted sentences were by Kelly Minter, from her book “Ruth”)