This past weekend I went to a family gathering in my cousin's Expedition. As she was backing up to park, there was a beeping noise--turns out, her vehicle tells her that she's about to hit something...and the closer you get to the object, the faster it beeps.
You can choose to ignore the beeping sound, and just hit the object (realistically, you might just do this, because it will beep whether you're about to hit a truck or a wispy little branch shooting off from a bush). Or, you can abort and try a different direction.
Well, I thought that was pretty cool, but didn't think much more about it until the next day, Sunday. During the service, a particular verse our pastor mentioned just really struck me--well, the first thing that struck me was that this was probably the 3rd time that week I had heard that verse.
And that was when I heard the beeping. Not literal beeping, mind you, which was good, because that would probably be the sound of my cell phone ringing during church. No, this beeping was happening entirely in my head, and behind it was the voice of God, saying, "You know, when you hear My Word, the SAME verse, that many times in one short period, you might want to stop and ask yourself, 'what am I about to hit that God is trying to warn me about?'"
See, God wants us to stay on the right path, and He sees it so clearly when we are heading off the wrong way. And, contrary to what some seem to believe, God is NOT looking just to make us stick to a bunch of rules, and to "punish" us when we do wrong. No, God wants us to stay on His path, because He knows that's where we will stay safe, that's where we will find all the blessings He has in store for us, that's where we will be able to use best the gifts He has given us and find the "life more abundantly" that Jesus promises.
Sometimes, we just begin to angle off that path--we don't even realize it. Maybe it's something "little" to our eyes--we lied about something and have refused to admit it, we are angry with someone and refuse to confront it and find reconciliation, we're confused and trying to find our own way out of a problem instead of waiting for God's answer. And slowly, if we'll listen, the beeping starts.
We are continually reminded of the lie we told...different people keep bringing up a subject that reminds us of the person we're angry with...even newspaper articles and TV shows "coincidentally" bring up the very thing we are either struggling with, or maybe struggling to ignore. And, of course, often the beeping takes the form of God's Word. "In your anger, sin not." "Do not be anxious about anything..." "He who knows the good he should do, and doesn't do it, that is sin for him." Beep, beep, beep!! Warning! Get back on the path before you hit something!!
The beeping gets louder, and faster. "Warning, warning" is ringing out, if we will hear it.
God will continue to warn us as long as He can, but if we choose to ignore the warnings, we WILL eventually run smack into our own sins, and then we will have a much bigger mess for God to clean up.
But we can also listen to the beeps, HEED the warning, and change our direction. It's called "repentance" which just means "change your mind AND change your direction."
See, the car beeped because the sensor KNOWS there IS something there and if you ignore you WILL hit it, whether you even realize it's there or not. Well, God knows that when we sin and ignore it, we ARE going to run right off His path and straight into trouble, whether we can see the trouble coming or not.
I have no idea what else the pastor said that morning, because I was busy backing up and getting myself back on the right path...it was a little thing I was about to hit, and I'm glad of that. But it was still off His path, and that's just not where I want to be.
Is God's warning system "beeping" at you about something? Pay attention, and move back where He wants you to be!!