the area God roped off

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”)






5 thoughts on “the area God roped off

  1. Katie, I guess that God gives you all of this wisdom. You cover so many areas of ones life with advice and caution. Oh I too am afraid of the things that you mentioned that you are really afraid of.

    Love and kisses for obedient to God’s word.

  2. W, and whathat a fantastic blog! I have been lurking for a while this post is inspiring me to come out of the shadows. A couple of things in your post struck me;

    First off I had no idea those reservoir drains were called “glory holes”. I am familiar with the one in Whiskeytown Lake, and it is terrifying. Even from the road, I can feel the pull, the weight of all that water.

    Secondly, as a dilettante ocean swimmer I love buoys. They represent safety and and a goal. When I swim with friends, we are always trying to “touch the bouy” as it represents an accomplishment. Of course, we have no desire to go beyond the buoy, as that would place us in the shipping lane.

    Thirdly, I am familiar with the story of Ruth and this is the first time I have heard it interpreted as a cautionary tale regarding border-crossing. You are right, Ruth was not an Isrealite, she was in fact a Moabite. Ruth was breaking no laws by living in her own ancestral land, and I am not sure that Naomi was, either. Famines are wretched (which is why we build reservoirs) and I don’t sense that the writer of Ruth was condemning them for leaving, nor that the death of the husbands was a punishment. So much suffering in life happens through no one’s fault. God took these awful events, the famine, the deaths and made something beautiful from them. If Ruth had done what Naomi told her, she would have stayed in Moab with her sister-in-law Orpah. A legitimate (but silly) arguement could be made for doing the opposite of what your in-laws say. By returning to the promised land with Naomi, she entered God’s covenant, that is the miracle, she didn’t have to be an Isrealite, she didn’t even have to be married to one. She had no credentials, no pedigree. In fact, not only was her pedigree lacking, it was wrong– the Moabites were the descendants of the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters. She entered as a bastard-widow-beggar, just like we do. And God’s love and blessing is bigger than borders, and natural disasters, and sin, and death. So yes, you are right, Ruth is a tale about border-crossings, across the great divide of history, of generations, and time and culture, Ruth is saying, come to the table, there is enough for you, and your messed up life, and your kids, your disasters and heartbreak.

    1. You have such a good take on it!!!
      Scriptures have made it obvious that God told his children NOT to go to Moab. They were the Moabites enemies and their land was full of things that could hurt them. And you are right, the deaths were probably NOT a punishment, but just the result of going where they shouldn’t have gone. We don’t really know what killed the men, but simply that they died.
      The famine, however, was a punishment. And that is the sad part of this story. That is also found in scripture that after the judge died, the Israelites became even more preverse than their fathers. Perhaps the famine wasn’t punishment as much as it was the result of what happened when they left God’s protection.
      I love the message of returning! Return as you are and be blessed! Feast upon the blessings of God! Thank you thank you thank you for responding!

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