By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:11)
I’ve been thinking lately about the ability to go back in time. Wouldn’t it be cool to go back and warn our younger selves about some of the dumb things that we’ve done over the years? Personally, I would probably start by trying to get my newly saved self to avoid wasting fifteen years in a stagnant church. That would be good. I’d warn myself not to invest in Enron, not to neglect changing my insurance over when I bought a new van, not to crack up my bicycle a few summers back, and not to allow myself to be talked into being a district training chairman for Boy Scouts. All of these warnings could have saved me a good bit of pain and suffering.
Only in the movies do characters get to go back and relive their past lives in order to fix mistakes. To the best of my knowledge nobody has done it for real, although I don’t suppose they’d admit it if they did.
Our warnings, then, have to come from those who have gone before, those who have better knowledge. Driving down the road, we might see any number of warning signs, placed there by the people who built the road. Examine commercial packaging and you’ll likely see such amazing warnings as “Caution: contents may be hot after heating.” Radio personalities such as Dave Ramsey will warn you not to invest your money in lottery tickets and pumpkin futures. If only the world provided warnings for all eventualities.
Among the other things that God’s Word does is to provide us with warnings, warning that lead to rewards. In order to make use of those warnings, of course, we have to expose ourselves to them. Just as not reading safety instructions on a new chainsaw will not get me warned, not reading the Bible will not result in warnings. I’ve tried putting it under my pillow, but it doesn’t work.
Not only do I have to avail myself of the warnings, but I have to heed them. Today, Penny and I were reading in Ephesians, hearing warnings about all manner of problems. If I find myself warned off greed, for example, and then go buy my lottery tickets, I have not heeded the warning. I will not reap the reward.
Although I can’t go back in time to warn myself about things, I can go back in time, to the foundation of time, and hear the warnings set down by the one who created everything. Consider yourself warned!