There is a state park near Rochester (Letchworth State Park) that has a gorge that was carved out many millions of years ago by a glacier, creating the “grand canyon” of New York. The gorge walls rise up to 550 feet (170m). I was there recently with a few friends and we had stopped at one of the view points to look out at it and look down into the gorge. There was a small stoke wall with a thin ledge of grass on the other side before a straight drop of several hundred feet into the gorge. While the view was fine from behind the wall, I wanted to be closer. And as the wall was easily stepped over, I managed to get myself onto the ledge so I can stand on the very edge of the drop. Which was pretty cool and gave me a bit of an adrenaline rush, but the view was just the same as on the other side of the wall.
After looking for a bit and scaring my friends who weren’t prepared to risk the drop to join me I came back and sat on the wall with them. Shortly after a park ranger drove by and shouted at us to get off the wall as it was too dangerous to be that close to the edge. Good job she hadn’t come by a few minutes earlier…
And it made me think of God’s laws. So often we think of them as a nuisance. As a hinderance. As something to spoil our fun. As something to stop us getting up close to where we want to be. But maybe they are there for our protection.To stop us falling.
To stop us doing something stupid.
To stop us waking up in the morning with a headache and regret.
To spare us pain.
To save us shame.
To prevent us harming ourselves.
To prevent us harming others.
To protect us from ourselves.
“If you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:25. God’s law was given to set us free.
Free from the power of sin.
Free from the power of guilt.
Free from the power of shame.
Free from the power of addiction.
Many today consider God’s laws too old fashioned. Too out of touch with society. But God has a reason for each command He gives, and His will is perfect and unchanging. He constantly wants what is best for us – He has a plan to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). He loves us, and wants to keep us safe. He wants us to be free from the power of sin. And so there are certain things He tells us to avoid, and certain things He tells us to do. And when we follow God’s standards we find things work so much better than when we do it our own way. Unconvinced? Just think about how STIs would spread if people followed God’s instruction to only sleep with the person you are married to…
The view does not get any better if you jump over the wall – all it does is bring you closer to a catastrophic fall. Don’t see God’s laws as something to spoil your fun, see them as something He put in place to keep you safe to continue to have fun.