I saw this sign tonight while I was at the beach doing photos for some good friends:
I've been to this beach a ton of times and never noticed the sign. That's probably because it's right in front of some beautiful, but very steep and SHARP large rocks. I have five little squirts, so I'm usually keeping vigilant eye on them to make sure they don't head into the ocean at the Clearwater Beach intercoastal waterway. But seeing this sign made me realize that there probably are some people who are just daring enough to try the swim - maybe some already have, thus the need to post the warning.
The kids and I have been studying the ancients, and in particular the Israelites during the time of Judah's disobedience and subsequent captivity to various enemies. We've been observing how God warned His people time and again through the prophets and godly kings that disobedience to His commands would result in disaster. You know what? Every time, it did!
I sometimes feel like "going for a swim" in ornery behavior, as my grandma would call it. I want to do things my own way, because of course I always think I know better. My kids are the same way, and unfortunately when they are, the firstborn in me fights them in the flesh and tries to "get control." What I am learning again, though, is that the human spirit is a stubborn one. Despite the warning signs, we are determined to "have it our way" (sound familiar?) and seek the adventure, or the temporary pleasure, that seems right to us at the time. It's no new thing; all the way back to the beginning of man's relationship with God, we've been determined to do things on our own. Every time, He warns us. Often He tells us exactly what the consequences will be. (Think: "Repent or your nation will be destroyed by your enemies!!!") He warns us, not because He doesn't want us to explore, to have fun, to be adventurous, but because His adventures are far greater than what we can concoct. He warns us because when we venture out in His blessing, we are safe under His protection!
When the Israelites ignored God's warnings, He didn't hold back. He swiftly and surely "spanked their bottoms" (metaphorically speaking, of course; their punishments were often much more graphic when their enemies stepped in and took over.) He allowed natural consequences for their behavior to be the hard teachers of the lessons they needed to learn. He did it because He's Papa, and He loved them. He loves us!!!
I am praying that as we pour into our hearts and minds the stories of God's people and how He acted time and again on their behalf, my children and I will have cemented into our brains that His "signs" are there for a reason. Oh, Father, that I may not seek to go it on my own; that I may not try to control my children's actions, but that YOU may speak your lessons to our heart, and that we might heed the signs!