Too Close To Danger

September 20, 2018
Volume 22, Number 34

Earlier this week the Associated Press carried a story about a man given a ticket by park rangers at Yellowstone National Park. He had been observed by visitors to Old Faithful, walking very near the geyser and even laying down near it. Some thought he was contemplating throwing himself into the hole.

When he returned to the area designated for sightseers he was cited for “walking off the boardwalks in a thermal area”. Did he not know he was putting himself at risk?

The same AP story spoke of another tourist who was arrested in August after cameras at Yellowstone recorded him harassing a bison. Really?! The bison, we suspect was not nearly as predictable as Old Faithful. My family and I were once viewing some buffalo from the other side of a sturdy fence. That didn’t keep us from being startled when one bull charged at us. Harassing a bison is getting too close to danger!

“Life on the edge” seems to be the lifestyle of choice for too many in our world. Some don’t calculate the odds properly, and end up injured – or worse. A video of you taking a crazy leap off a cliff may go viral on YouTube, but such “fame” doesn’t last even 15 minutes. There’s a better way to live.

Jeremiah offered a reasonable proposal to the people of Judah: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it’” (Jeremiah 6:16). Those people preferred newer paths, even if they weren’t good paths.

What the people preferred is described in several places in the Old Testament. They chose idolatry and all the fleshly pleasures associated with that lifestyle. In doing so, they wandered too close to danger. As the prophet Hosea observed, “They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).

A statement I’ve heard several times well describes the danger of straying too close to the dangers of sin: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” How much better to choose the life offered by Christ: “… I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

In that passage in John 10, Jesus presented Himself as “the good shepherd” (John 10:11). Sometimes, however, sheep choose to go their own way, and will inevitably fall into dangerous situations. How good it is to know, at such times, that we have a Shepherd who “has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10)!

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2018, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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