EARTH: Heeding God’s Warnings by Francine Rivers

Reflections on How God Speaks Through Nature

Heeding God’s Warnings by Francine Rivers

From: Earth Psalms

Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.  Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.  You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.  For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. (Hebrews 3:12-14)

One of my favorite state parks in northern California is Goat Rock, which is on the mouth of the Russian River. Our family is familiar with this area because Rick’s mom and dad lived in Jenner, a small hamlet overlooking the river and with views of the coast. If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Goonies, you’ve seen Goat Rock.

Goat Rock offers choices.  A walk north on the beach will take you to the mouth of the river, where you can watch California sea lions and their pups fishing and basking in the sun.  If you drive south and park, you can walk on a sand-and-pebble beach with a view of an arched-rock island white-topped with seagulls (and their guano).  Goat Rock is between the two beaches, and going in the water there is tempting to some – but not everyone who does is lucky enough to be rescued.

Warning signs are posted.  No lifeguard is on duty, and this is a hazardous place to be if you’re not paying attention.  The surf is powerful, and the undertow pulls you down deep where great white sharks roam.  If you somehow manage to get back to the surface, there’s still the riptide that pulls you out to sea.  Over sixty people have been swept off their feet and disappeared.

If it’s so dangerous, why do I love this park?

I like to watch to sea lions.  I love the rhythm of the pounding surf, sometimes so heavy you can feel the power in your chest.  I love the pools of pebbles and myriad of colors with each wave.  I love the wind in my hair and the smell of salt, sea, and sand, the sound of seagulls, and all the treasures you find along the beach.

I stay safe because I heed the warnings.  My life and the lives of those I love who come with me depend upon believing what those signs tell us.

The Bible offers warnings, too.  We’re told to stay alert, to resist the devil (see 1 Peter 5:8), to heed the examples of others in the past (see 1 Corinthians 10:11), to keep our hearts from being hardened against God (see Hebrews 3:13).  The truth is sobering: Those who mock God’s existence and turn their backs on him will fall down, be pulled under, and lost.  But those who take God at his word have a future and a hope.

REFLECT

Which of God’s warnings do you find most difficult to heed?  Why do we sometimes have a hard time listening to warnings?

APPLY

Consider the scriptures mentioned above (1 Peter 5:8, 1 Corinthians 10:11, Hebrews 3:13).  What truths can you meditate on this week that will help you remember the importance of following God’s warnings?

CONNECT WITH GOD

Father God, teach me to see your warnings as acts of love.  Just as Danger! signs keep people out of treacherous riptides, your limits are in place to protect me.  May I always heed your warnings and share them with others out of love.

The laws of the Lord are true;
each one is far.
They are a warning to your servant,
a great reward for those who obey them.
(Psalm 19:9, 11)

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