I needed a break after finishing 1 & 2 Chronicles. Working my way through these two books felt at times like a combination of television re-runs and a phone book. There were a few hidden wells, but I have to admit I need a break! Thus today’s rabbit trail. As I have been reflecting on this portion of my journey walking with water in the bible it has occurred to me that I may be having feelings similar to the way the Israelites felt as they awaited the messiah.
I have the advantage of knowing what is coming and I look forward to the Good News to come, but the waiting is hard. The Israelites had plenty of opportunity to hear from God’s prophets, but they often chose a different line. I suspect it was very hard for them to wait too.
There are days when I am reflecting on a passage like some of the ones in 1 & 2 Chronicles when I feel like I would like to just skip ahead to the arrival of Jesus and the new covenant…portage the rapids if you will. When I consider such a path there is a voice inside me that assures me that, though confusing and hard, this part of the journey is important and necessary. I think that the Israelites were receiving the same message from God through the trying times of their sojourn in the wilderness and the rule of the Kings.
A couple of years ago I went on a once in lifetime rafting trip on the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River in Oregon. It was an amazing journey with plenty of challenging white water, cliff jumps, and water chutes. Just after we started the raft trip we came to a class V rapids called Rainie Falls. I was guiding our raft with a student who was doing research with me over the summer, and a former student and his dad were leading the trip in another raft.
We all got out and scouted the falls. It looked really scary and big…about a 10-12 foot falls. Part of me wanted to go for it (a small part). There were a couple of options to avoid taking this rapids. A moderately difficult chute called the middle chute and what my former student and his dad referred to as the “Chicken Chute”. Bare in mind this was about 15 minutes into a two-day float and the biggest water I had run as guide…I chose the chicken chute.
We entered the chicken chute fine but it was narrow and fast. I failed to get my oars into the boat in time to prevent one from getting caught on a rock and snapping in half. We had an extra oar, but we only had one spare so breaking another one was not an option. The end result of my taking the “chicken chute” was that I had to “play it safe” on the remainder of the float to be sure I did not break another oar. I do not think that God wants me to take the “chicken chute” and avoid some of the hard and confusing passages in the old testament.
Why does the journey have to be confusing and hard sometimes? I am pretty sure the Israelites asked themselves the same question many times. I am not sure I have a good answer but it seems like: 1) we make it hard by failing to focus on the important things; 2) our souls are trying to view God’s Kingdom through a veil that sometimes makes it difficult to see things clearly; 3) the master of this world delights in warping our vision like a fun house mirror. I am up for the entire ride through the bible — seeking out water where it shows up and God leads. I will try to avoid taking the “chicken chute” and I trust God will help me navigate the “falls”.
Prayer: God give me a clear view of your Kingdom and help me to navigate the hard and confusing parts of the journey with your help.