2013-04-11 - Dry Paths
Originally Published 2001-08-23
Job 8:11-13 "Can the papyrus grow up without marsh? Can the rushes grow without water? 12 "While it is still green and not cut down, Yet it withers before any other plant. 13 "So are the paths of all who forget God, And the hope of the godless will perish, (NAS)
Rhetorical questions make a point with irony. Papyrus and rushes obviously need water in abundance to grow and be healthy. If they have a good source of clean water and they are not cut down, there is no reason for a healthy plant to wither. The water is the source of life to these plants.
In the same way the paths away from God are likened to a lack of water to mankind. For the one who walks away from God, all who forget God, he is walking away from the source of his spiritual life. Since God is everywhere, can he truly walk away from God? Yes, and no - God has promised never to leave or forsake His sons and daughters in Christ, yet we can walk away emotionally from a relationship. Can you every completely leave a relationship? Even if we never see or speak to a person again, the relationship may change or even fade to idle, but it does not change the fact that your past relates you - like it or not. And ex-wife or ex-husband are still related, perhaps not legally, but personally they know each other. There is a relationship between the two people. You may try to forget God, but you and He still know each other and He has promised he will never let go.
The Father showed in the parable of the prodigal son that He is always ready to accept someone who comes home. You may have to walk back up those same dry paths to get home, but when you get there your room is still your room. He is happy to see you and glad you are safe.
Those who do not know God will try to fill that void of hope with anything - cars, friends, power, money, success. But each of these hopes will fade one after another. Paul notes that the winner of an athletic competition competes for a perishable award - a wreath or a trophy. While we may cherish the memory of that moment of victory, it fades. In the ranks of professional sports, as soon as a team wins the championship, the first question is, "Can they repeat next year?" All other hope fades but the hope we have in Christ and the hopes associated with His promises. I look forward to knowing and being with my friends who know Jesus in Heaven forever. That hope will be replaced with reality one day. But cars rust, all but a few friends come and go, power shifts, money becomes trivial as life ebbs. There is a deceit and even a treachery in these things. They are flawed from the start as a foundation for real, lasting, eternal hope.
If you are walking a dry path today, it is by your own choice. Are you putting your hopes in things that will fade? Or is there abundant clean water surrounding your paths? The journey from desert to lush marsh can be quicker than you may think. For those that have "forgotten" God and those who have never really known Him, Jesus Christ stands ready to build or rebuild a relationship with you. The load of worries and bag of fading hopes and broken promises you carry He will gladly take from you and give you life and hope in exchange. There is no condemnation, no lightning bolts to duck. He has been waiting for you to come back out of the desert to the source of life and hope.
Matt 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. 30 "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." (NAS)
Lord Jesus - give many the courage to come home today, asking for forgiveness and the hope of Your salvation knowing that You stand ready to forgive and accept them just as they are. Amen.
Grace & Peace,