“They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”–Hosea 14:7–9
It’s a common sign to see when you visit parks and wilderness areas: “Stay on the path.” These notices are not given to restrict people from enjoying the parks, but to protect them from danger. Each year hundreds of people get lost because they stray from the marked trails. Usually lost people are located within a few hours, but some people are never found. In fact according to one recent estimate, more than 1,500 people have disappeared in national parks and never been seen again. There is a great danger in deciding that we are capable of determining the path to follow and choosing to go our own way.
This is even more true in the spiritual realm. The Bible is not filled with restrictions meant to keep us from enjoying life, but with Divine guardrails that have been erected to keep us safe and on the right path. How we view God’s commands is vital, for what we believe determines how we will live. Charles Spurgeon said, “Nothing makes a man so virtuous as belief of the truth. A lying doctrine will soon beget a lying practice. A man cannot have an erroneous belief without by-and-by having an erroneous life. I believe the one thing naturally begets the other.” Committing to follow God’s ways no matter what others may do provides safety and blessing.