Quite often while hiking through mountains, we glance back to where we've been. We let our eyes wander back over the trail and recall the challenges we faced. We realize that the thick, rough and hard places enabled us to be where we now stand. Then, before moving on, we check the compass against our direction, and with refreshed determination we move forward.
This third session "Going big or going home" seems to be one of these pauses. The Messenger speaks of past challenges through their own history where God's love and faithfulness carried them over a very rough trail. Yet his message rebukes them on their present location.
They had veered off-track in disobedience, short-cuts, and plain old boredom!
There was a time when God declared a covenant between His treasured possession and Himself. He promised blessing and they agreed to walk God's path, giving Him their whole heart while being led by Him. Yet, they had strayed very far from their agreement, blazing paths of their own. They whined of feeling short-changed and unloved, but God declares His displeasure. The Messenger showed their position was actually despising God's Name. Their service gave God no honor and their expressions of worship were a "weariness" to God.
As we study this particular disputation with God's people, we may need to seek a deeper commitment in our own spiritual journeys. Taking time to consider where we stand can only be measured by His Word. Hopefully this examination causes a more firm determination to move forward on His path under His leadership. Looking at their choices, we can learn not to veer off to find our own way or make our own rules.
Unfortunately, along the spiritual path, there are obstacles, hindrances, and roadblocks tempting shortcuts toward easier paths. As in this message, there are even weary leaders who want to take shortcuts, trim God's perfection, or push their own agenda, taking their own path. There are scoffers, mockers, and doubters who slacken the pace, making confusion rule the trek, and desiring to thwart progress, they cause some sojourners to quit altogether. For others, complacency or apathy hinder progress, elicit arguing and whining, dividing travelers from each other and encouragement.
Not only is this resting spot a much needed pause for contemplation, but it might also be a warning for a tougher hike ahead. We need to forge our determination to stand firm, be committed to God's path, and encourage each other to enthusiastically move forward.
Until we are called to "Go Home", let's agree to "Go Big" with our awesome God and Leader!