It was a dark night off the Atlantic Coast, and the captain saw a disaster just ahead — a light that was on a collision course with his ship. There wasn't much time to get the other vessel to change course. So he urgently radioed this message: "Move ten degrees north immediately." The answer came back, "Move ten degrees south." This was no time to be playing navigational games! With some growing aggravation, the captain answered back, "I'm a captain! You adjust your course ten degrees north." The reply came back: "I'm a seaman second class! Adjust ten degrees south." Well, at that point, the captain thundered his final word: "I'm a destroyer — adjust your course now!" And the answer came back: "I'm a lighthouse! Adjust your course!"
Don't try to move the lighthouse. Navigate with the lighthouse as your fixed point, unless you want to go aground. For those who belong to Jesus Christ, there is one lighthouse that is supposed to always govern what course we set. But over and over again, we set the course we want; often the course that is easiest and most convenient, ignoring the beam from the lighthouse that keeps us from ending up on the rocks.
In Joshua 1:7-8, our word for today from the Word of God, God reveals the secret of living a successful life; something that's very good to know. He says, "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law ... do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." There's no gray here, just black and white. God has revealed the truth about life in His book, the Bible, and He gives this simple formula for success. Do everything by My book — no detours.
If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, you almost surely think of yourself as a Bible person. Right? I'm sure you profess belief in God's Word and you would say it's the compass for your life. That's beliefs. Now let's look at reality. Many of us Bible people actually make our life choices based more on what we want to do, what we want to be true, on what our culture says is the thing to do. Whether it's the youth culture, pop culture, church culture, business culture, political culture, military culture, educational culture — whatever our niche is.
Some people follow whatever their favorite spiritual leader, author, teacher or personality say. Paul commended the Christians at Berea as being "of more noble character," because "they examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).
If even the great Apostle Paul said it was true, they still checked it out with the Word of God. That's the only way to avoid beliefs and choices that cause shipwrecks. See what God says about it and do it, no matter how costly, how unpopular that might be.
Shall we let our kids, or ourselves, watch, read or listen to something because the culture says it's a good thing? Check with God. Turn the lighthouse light on it! Shall we base our view of divorce, sexual standards or entertainment on what "everybody" thinks? No, we'll believe what God says. His one vote decides it, even if millions are going the other way. Shall we compromise just because suddenly the issue involves us or someone close to us? Not unless we want a shipwreck.
It takes a real man, a real woman, a moral hero to say about an issue, "God hasn't changed His mind, and He's calling the shots. The lighthouse isn't moving, and I am navigating — not by my feelings, not by your feelings — but by the unchanging light from heaven called the Bible. Any other course means that sooner or later, we're going down!"
© Ronald P. Hutchcraft 2021