Have you ever stood on the edge of a huge lookout and felt relieved that there was a safety fence between you and the drop? Whilst we were on our long service leave we had the opportunity to see a huge waterfall. Wallaman falls is the highest single permanent drop waterfall in Australia and the water falls around 268 meters off the main drop.
Whilst we were watching from the other side of the valley a lady climbed up and sat on the top of the safety fence. It was a long way down and one slight slip and it would have been over for her pretty quickly.
I do not mind heights but you always feel a little safer when you step off a viewing platform and back on to firm land. Reflecting on this it occurred to me that God wants us to live confidently and to be safe. He doesn’t want us to fall into harmful and destructive behaviour patterns.
The 10 commandments are really like that safety fence. If we keep inside the fence we will find incredible freedom to enjoy life. Whether it be the joy of observing God’s creation or the pleasure of walking in the pathways prescribed in His word.
Often we can think that God’s commandments can cramp our style, or they are repressive and restrictive. Nothing could be further from the truth. We know what pain it is to have to lock everything up and the tragedy when a family is destroyed by adultery or murder. There are so many gains for us all, individually and community-wise when we voluntarily and gladly accept and obey the commands that God gave to us. They are entirely for our good. It is self-evident.
Why then don’t we keep them? Why do some not even try and others whilst wanting to, have no strength to do so? The answer goes back to the fall. Sadly Adam and Eve ignored God’s boundaries, they were not content to trust and obey God. They did not keep within the fence that God had given. We by our actions show we have been infected by that sinful disposition and propensity every time we fail to trust and obey God.
Thankfully though, God has not given up on us. He invites us to trust His Son, whose death dealt with sin’s penalty and to travel with Him day by day.
When we travel with Him, seeking to keep to His way, we will find that He, quietly but surely, helps us to do so. We no longer see His commands as a burdensome restriction but as they are meant to be, a safety fence that will keep us safe. A safety fence that will enable us to enjoy God’s world by discovering that His ways are always good.