When I was a boy, I heard a news report that I know I shall never forget. The report was of a truck driver who was driving down a little-traveled country road.
Like most people who make a living driving a truck, he had a schedule to keep. As he drove along, he noticed an empty cardboard box out in the road. Though he was normally prone to knock such debris out of the way as he drove past, for some reason he chose to go around the box this time.
As he passed by, he looked in his rear view mirror and, to his horror, he saw that there was a small child, a toddler, playing in that box! – the very box which he had thought to be empty! – the very box which he very nearly crushed as he drove past!
The driver immediately pulled over and raced toward the child in the box. He embraced the child with tears, and delivered him to the nearby farm house, where his mother shrieked with alarm at the thought of what might have happened. You see, she had told the child many times of the dangers of playing in the road, and had left him to play in the fenced-in front garden – but the child had gotten out and wandered off.
Today, the many nations of Israel are like that child in the box!
We have been told by our God how to live. He has given us boundaries beyond which we are not to go. And He has done so because He loves us, and knows what is best for us. “And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive.” Deuteronomy 6:24
Obedience to God is to us blessing and happiness, life at its best, free from misery and trouble. Yet, as a careless child, we have wandered off, away from our happy place of safety with God, and have gone our own way.
We have seen the box in the road, and it looks so inviting. We think about how satisfying it would be to create our own imaginary kingdom inside the box. And so, instead of obeying God, we have decided to do things the way we want. Our rules, our way. We have scorned the fenced garden and esteemed it far too confining – but little do we realize that the kingdom we have made for ourselves inside the box is far more confining than the front garden, and not near as beautiful. And we have no idea of the peril that awaits us!
The Word of God says: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov. 14:12, 16:25
Wake up, O prodigal people! Abandon your cardboard kingdom and get back in the garden where you belong! Return to the LORD your God – before it’s too late!