I did something a few days ago that I haven’t done in many years. I read a story by Jack London. As a boy I loved his books and to this very day I have a copy of “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang” somewhere on my bookshelves. What I read today was a short-story entitled “To Build a Fire”, 1908 version.The story begins with an unnamed man who, along with his dog, leaves the Yukon Trail to meet his friends at a mining camp by 6:00pm. Being a newcomer to the area he was warned by an old man on Sulpher Creek to not travel alone in such cold (–75 F). As you might guess, he ignored the advice and headed off on his journey. The story describes his difficulties and efforts to survive, and ends with him freezing to death and the dog heading off on its own.
London’s intent seems obvious to me– when you ignore wise counsel and warnings you suffer severe consequences. I saw in this story a commentary on human nature. The natural man is not only sinful, he is a stupid and stubborn creature. Rather than heed wise counsel, that would keep him safe, he goes “astray” by turning “to his own way“( Isa. 53:6). He is unaware of what Jeremiah said in Jer. 10:23 “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” That’s a nice way of saying we don’t have enough sense to know how to live. But however you say it, that’s the truth. We are safe only as we walk in the ways of the Lord.
This is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, when more died that on 9/11. This led to Americas involvement in WW II that was started when Hitler invaded Poland two years earlier. While this attack came as a shock to many it was no surprise to others who had warned that it would happen. U. S. officials however thought that the Philippines would be attacked first. The debates about this continue to this day, but there can be no doubt about the fact that we were unprepared and paid dearly for it.
There is a lesson in this for all of us—don’t ignore warnings! Those who do either have no confidence in the source, or that they will be the exception to the rule, or that the pleasure is worth the risk. Admittedly in some case the consequences might not be a big deal, but sometimes it is a matter of life and death, heaven or hell. And when the source of the warning is God you better listen. He doesn’t make idle threats, lie, or miscalculate. He speaks the truth. When He says you will reap what you sow it is true. When He says “You must be born again” it is a fact. The outcome isn’t debatable.
Never doubt what God says. He never lies or errors, and He has your best interest at heart. It is best for you that you believe Him and do as He says. Having done so you can breathe a sigh of relief and be at peace knowing you are safest in His will. When you shun God’s counsel and ignore His warnings you aren’t running a risk you are running head long into trouble– it’s insane. There can be but one outcome–as God said.