My husband and I love exploring.
We love using his Jeep to go off-roading – just to see what we can see!
Earlier last year, we went camping in Joshua Tree National Park in California. We love it out there. Nothing but scrubby land, a few undulating hills, and huge boulders scattered about. Lots to explore!
So, one morning, we packed up and headed out in the Jeep...
Armed with a topographical map of the area, and a bit of self-assured bravado, we bounced along enjoying the sights.
You can’t believe some of the cool stuff we saw – old mines, abandoned drilling equipment, discarded furniture and buildings, tons and tons of tin cans, and shards of broken bottles and pottery. Fascinating…
We spent most of the day like this – driving, stopping, exploring – the map made everything clear.
Until…all of a sudden...it didn’t.
Landmarks were unnamed, and it was difficult to tell which site we were at. No signs, no directions. When we thought we were at a certain point on the map, we became uncertain. The map showed a fork in the road – with only two directions to choose from. Easy, right? Not so much when the "fork" had at least 5 or 6 different directions to choose from - (and we weren't even sure it was the "correct" fork - that was still questionable).
Not panicked yet, we kept going in the direction we thought was right.
But then, we got really lost. And the sun was getting low in the sky.
At this point, we were traveling along a barely visible dirt "road" - (I use the word loosely!) - covered with very large boulders and treacherous ditches, moving along at a snail’s pace. All we knew was that we were in the mountainous area outside of the park boundaries…and it was getting late…and we didn’t know exactly where we were.
I’m calling that – LOST!
Needless to say, we made it back – finally! A little luck, a lot of prayer – we arrived at our campsite at dusk. "Home" had never looked so good.
Feeling lost isn’t a good feeling.
And it REALLY isn’t a good feeling when it happens on our life’s journey. We think we’re heading in the right direction – we think we’re making all the right turns. We’re just coasting along enjoying the sights. But then, all of a sudden, we realize that we’re lost. Somewhere we’ve strayed off the right path – we’ve traveled outside the boundaries of God’s will.
What to do?
Let’s turn to the only "road map" that will help – the Word of God. Today’s “Bible Pick ‘Ems” offers the only solution.
"Therefore, say to the people, 'This what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Return to me, and I will return to you…'" (Zechariah 1:3)
Zechariah was a prophet and a priest. Born in Babylon during the exile of the Jews, he returned to Jerusalem in 538 BC. He began his prophetic ministry in 520 BC. God used Zechariah to encourage the people to continue rebuilding the Temple, whose construction had been halted for nearly 10 years. It was no easy task. Zechariah had to combat the peoples’ spiritual apathy.
Through Zechariah, God warned Israel not to be like their forefathers, who disobeyed Him and reaped the consequences – His punishment. His message was loud and clear –
Return to Me.
It’s wise advice. And it’s the only advice that makes sense, the only advice that will work, when we have wandered off, when we have disobeyed God, when we find ourselves lost…
Individually, we must repent of our waywardness, confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, and then return to the One who loves us, and follow Him wholeheartedly.
There will be many "forks" in the road of life. Times when the landmarks won’t be obvious. There might not be clearly marked signs. Directions will blur and become ambiguous. Which way to turn?
And if we rely on ourselves, it will become quite easy to get lost.
But when we become lost…all is not lost!
Even in times of discouragement and despair, God is working out His plan. He will protect and guide us. We must trust and follow Him.
"Return to Me," the Voice of God urges. "I know the Way. I AM the Way."
“When in doubt, search God out!”