I wasn’t planning on continuing with this theme, but God brought an event into my life this week that gave me a few more insights on this topic. So let’s keep on detouring.
This past Monday I smashed my right index finger between two pieces of steel that I was picking up from a customer. The good news is: we got the piece we were moving back on the pallet. After we gauzed and taped my finger the bad news started: American trucks require shifting with the right hand, the pain was pretty intense by the time I drove myself back in to get it worked on.
Physical bodies are quite remarkably made. I don’t know how evolutionists sidestep the fact that regeneration from injury is a design from God. I even heard where they’re studying alligators to see how they recover from injuries without getting infections from the bacteria-laden swamps they live in (quite ingenious by God, if you ask me). I should be back to full-duty status after the 7 stitches are removed (a few days on light-duty was enough of a detour for me). From past experience I know that the fingernail will grow back.
I’m pretty sure that when we get to Heaven many people are going to be surprised to see the holes still in Jesus’ head from the crown of thorns that the soldiers mocked Him with. The nail holes will still be visible, as will the spear slash in his side. The ribs will still be seen on his back from the scourging. You see, Jesus’ body didn’t have time to heal from His encounter with Satan to die for the sins of all mankind. If you don’t believe me read John 20:24-31. Thomas was told to touch those very wounds, that means they are still there for all to see. That’s why every knee will bow at the mere mention of His name in times to come.
Being right-handed has required me to make a few adjustments in my daily routine. I’m getting adequately good at brushing my teeth with my left hand. That got me to thinking about one of the reasons God brings detours into our lives… He wants to break us out of our comfort zones. My pastor likes to bring up a sign that is along the gravel road as you enter Alaska, it reads “Choose your rut wisely, you’ll be in it for the next 200 miles.” Many of us are in a rut that we have become comfortable in, so, to prepare us for the next step in our spiritual growth God needs to detour us off of the road we are on to get us out of where we want to continue traveling.
Back to the Hebrews in the book of Exodus. They were reared as slaves to the Egyptians, as were their parents, and their parents before them. You see they were in a comfortable place in their lives. Even though they all knew they would be better off as free people, they just couldn’t shake the known in their lives off with all the dust they were encountering along the road to God’s promised Land.
It took all of 3 days before the grumbling began. It took them that long until they realized that they were thirsty (apparently God even slaked their thirst without them realizing it). In Exodus 16 they start desiring to go back ‘home’, back into slavery, so they could eat pots of meat. God responded by providing something they had never seen before: manna, that dew-derived-flaky-bread-like-stuff that they were to eat in order to wean them off their old eating habits.
God then led them to Mt. Sinai where He laid down the law, or at least He gave them the ten commandments and the other rules for them to live by so they would be different from the people who would soon be their neighbors. While Moses spends over a month on the mountain what do the people do? They are already tired of following this invisible God. They demand that Aaron make them a god they can see and feel. Don’t you just shake your head when Aaron defends his behavior to his brother? “I just put this gold in the fire and out walked this calf.” Believe me, if we could step back and listen to our own excuses with objectivity they would sound just as ludicrous.
Do you now see why God had to use the generation that only knew dependence on Him as the people who would enter the Promised Land? Their comfort zone was wrapped up in His provisions, they didn’t know anything else. You see, God knows exactly what He is doing with your life. The more you learn to trust His leading by living your life by His guidebook, the Bible, the better He will be able to use you to further His Kingdom.
Did you catch the other lesson given at Mt. Sinai? They needed to live a different lifestyle from the people they were to move out of the land. Do you have the guts to do that for Jesus? Can you buck the trend and dress more modestly? Will you be the one who stands up and declares that what is being done isn’t totally above-board? Do people notice that your vocabulary is cleaner than theirs is? These are what God expects His followers to do. Or, do you need another detour to get you to find God’s will for your life?
Romans 12:1-2 lays out a brief description of this message from God. Read it for yourself, it talks about not following the world’s leading but sacrificing for Jesus. “Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of you mind.” Sounds like taking a detour from where the crowd is heading to me. I pray that God gives you the courage to take a stand for Him today.
I’ll see you later. Wade