Lines from Louis (written by Geoffrey Webber)

Servicing the Bald Hills and nearby Communities

Lines from Louis (written by Geoffrey Webber)

Sunday 16th February

  With the recent prolonged period of rain we have seen a re-emphasis of the road safety message, “If it’s flooded, forget it.”, warning drivers not to enter flood waters.  The dangers associated with flooded roads have been made clear to us:

            it is difficult to determine how deep is the water and how fast the water is flowing,

            you cannot see any debris in the murky water,

            you cannot see if the roadway has been damaged or eroded away.

  The risks to drivers, and to those whose task is will be to rescue anyone trapped in floodwaters, are so significant that laws have been enacted to enforce this “no entry” rule.  These risks are so obvious to all drivers.  To comply with these laws is just ‘common-sense’

  And, yet, how often do we hear and see News reports about drivers becoming stranded after driving into flood waters?  If the risks of driving into flood waters are so obvious and if it is ‘common-sense’ not to drive into flood waters, why then do drivers still do it?  What makes such drivers so confident that they can drive through flood waters without imperilling their safety and the condition of their car?

  But, is it really confidence, or is it a stubbornness that they do not need to comply with such rules, or even an obstinacy that no-one is going to tell them how and where to drive or not to drive.

  In Deuteronomy chapter 29 we find the People of Israel encamped in the Land of Moab on the eastern side of the Jordan River, ready to cross the river and enter their promised land.  Moses has gathered all of the people together.  He explains once again the terms of God’s Covenant with them and emphasises their responsibility to “obey faithfully all the terms of this Covenant”  (verse 9)  .  And to re-emphasise what he is saying, in verse 19 we find him stressing, “Make sure that there is no-one here today who hears these solemn demands and yet convinces themselves that all will be well with them, even if they stubbornly go their own way.”  The Hebrew word used implies a ‘twisted firmness of the will’, an obstinacy.

  Why should Moses be re-emphasising the need to “faithfully obey God’s words”?  After all that they had experienced of God’s love and providence for them during the previous 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, wouldn’t it be obvious to them that, if they were to continue to experience God’s love and providence, then they needed to “faithfully obey God’s words”.  Wouldn’t this just be ‘common-sense’?

  Obviously not, for Moses is all too aware that there would be those who are all too willing to “follow the promptings of their stubborn hearts” (NEB).  With such people, it is not so much a confidence that nothing will happen if they do not faithfully obey God’s words, but a stubbornness that they do not need to comply with such rules, or even an obstinacy that no-one is going to tell them how to live and what to do or what not to do.

  Read the history of the People of Israel in the Old Testament and learn the consequences for them of going their own way, of their following the “promptings of their stubborn hearts”.  These are words of warning to us, in the same way that “forget it” are words of warning to drivers.

  Think about what the author of Psalm 119 is telling us when they wrote “Happy are those .. who obey God with all their hearts.”  (verse 2)  Think about what Jesus is telling us when he said, “whoever obeys the Law of God and teaches others to do the same will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  (Matthew 5: 19b)