You must follow exactly the path that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live. Deuteronomy 5:33

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4  

Visitors to National Parks and other wilderness areas are told to not step off the path. Follow the path that is laid out for you, and obey any other rules along the way. Such as not trying to pet the wild animals, or feeding them or picking wildflowers. Most hikers do follow the path, but many do not. It’s so tempting to step off that path and wander into other areas, possibly doing damage to the landscape.   

In Deuteronomy 5, Moses receives the Ten Commandments and  then tells the people they are to follow exactly the path laid out for them. That would mean following all ten, along with other rules that have been given. Can anyone do that? Doesn’t seem likely. First of all the path doesn’t always seem that clear, and I find that it is pretty easy to wander off the path. As we read the commandments we find the first few that relate to our relationship with God, and then several about our relationship with other people.  

Paul then reminds us in the verse from Romans that what was written for us in the past, was meant to teach us. Not to condemn us as we are unable to keep on the path, but to encourage us. John 3:17 says that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save each and every one of us. We so often wander from the path that God has intended for us to follow; yet God is patiently waiting for us to return. For us to do our best as we try to bring the love of God into our world.    

Heavenly Father, you are the way and yet we wander, looking for fulfillment everywhere but through you. Help us to surrender ourselves to you and to listen for your direction. Guide us to your holy word so that we may live the lives you would have us live, always hoping in Christ Jesus, our Lord, in whose name, we pray. Amen.  

Chris Gabel