How can a person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of Your word. I’m single minded in pursuit of You; don’t let me miss the road signs You’ve posted.” (Psalm 119:9-10 MSG)
Last month I spent 10 days in Elverta, California. Elverta is a rural area north of Sacramento, the capital of the state. It has a population of 5,482 spread out over a large area of rice fields ripe with dove and pheasant and is a hunter’s paradise of sorts. My niece Brandie and I were there to help my brother and his wife make arrangements and do the footwork for my nephew’s memorial service. Bringing comfort and 2 sets of extra arms were the orders of the day. That meant we had to travel roads we had never traveled.
Renting a car we were glued to the GPS in our 2015 Ford Focus. Neither of us was familiar with that device so we ditched that amenity and went with what we knew; our phones. Good old Google maps. Long gone are the days of paper maps and a highlighter marking the way.
I remember when Steve and I would plan our trips to Oklahoma City. While Steve’s folks were alive we visited every other year. Those paper maps became our “travel bible”. He was the driver and I the navigator. My husband and I are opposites in so many ways and our vision is no exception. I put glasses on to read, he takes them off. He calls me “eagle eye” because I can see the signs from afar. This kept us on interstate 10 east and not put us on the road to Wyoming (not that there’s anything wrong with Wyoming). I often wonder what has happened to the Thomas Guide which was a large spiral bound map of the streets published for every large city in America. Every year I bought Steve a new one for Christmas. We kept it in the pocket behind the passenger’s side seat in the car. Gone are those days and other industries since the invention of the mighty computer in our hands.
As Brandie and I navigated the unfamiliar streets we depended on signs. Street signs, road signs and warning signs. The sign read “rough road ahead” and boy they weren’t kidding! We saw the street sign for Electric Avenue and stopped to take a silly selfie that we captioned “we rocked down to…” – if you don’t know the reference you can Google it!
One night we were to meet my friends for dinner on the other side of town. Our Google maps lady was talking us through a sketchy neighborhood. Then my device decided to have a mind of it’s own. Kind of Twilight Zone-ish. I turned off the voice as we made a few U-turns. The street signs told us to go one way and the electronic voice said another (cue spiritual application). We should have followed the street signs. More times than once I had to say “turn right at the couch”. Yep, a couch in the street! I told you the area was sketchy. Had we followed the street signs we would have gotten to our destination 20 minutes earlier. Those signs were there to give you a clearer picture of where you should go.
Navigating life is tough. Going through areas of life that are unknown like getting married, having children, dealing with sickness and profound loss, managing heartbreak, betrayal, job loss, divorce, lack of funds, goals unmet, disappointment and other major detours in the road without a clear direction is difficult.
In life there are no physical signs like one way, caution, watch for rocks, wrong way, yield, stop, dangerous curves ahead or that sign showing a leaping deer! The Psalmist tells us in these verses that we can navigate a clean life by reading the map of God’s word. He is asking God to help him not miss the road signs He has posted.
The signs God gives to us are for our protection. If we don’t follow them we could be in danger. “Stop” you know you should not do that. “Yield” to Me in this decision. You are going the “Wrong Way”; follow Me. “Dangerous curves ahead”, trust Me here. “Slow, Hospital Zone” maybe I should have that nagging pain in my chest checked. There is only “One Way” to heaven through My Son Jesus Christ. These are life road signs along the map of His word. You can only be sensitive to the signs if you read and know the “map”.
Allow God to help you travel the road of your life; get you down the way heeding the signs. Be alert, be aware, and take notice. Sometimes we are so oblivious to the signs God has to stop us in our tracks before we get run over. There are times in our outright rebellion that sign or not we want it our way and we get sideswiped. He did not abandon you on this earth without a navigation device. He loves you. Hold his hand. “Thy word is a lamp into my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NASB)