Following the Guide
Great grammar – and a great deal more
Benbecula is a tiny island off the north-west coast of Great Britain. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it. I’m not sure how many people in Britain itself would know where it is. My sister-in-law (who lives in Carlisle, England) once went to book a flight to Benbecula. The travel agent imagined that it was in some far-flung place like the Bahamas!
My wife and I recently spent a week in Benbecula. We arrived in pouring rain and departed in pouring rain but in between we had five dry days (no small thing for that part of the world). On the last of them we went with a large number of others on a guided walk across what is known as the North Ford.
A little bit of geography first of all – and history. Benbecula lies between two larger islands – North and South Uist. Since the construction of causeways the three islands are now joined. Before that, the usual way to cross from one to the other was to wait for low tide and walk. The North Ford is the old route from Benbecula to North Uist – three and a half miles across the sands.
When the tide goes out at the crossing point it goes far out – so far that it’s impossible to see the sea. Facing you are several square miles of sand. But it’s necessary to have a guide. In the brochure that advertised the walk the words were even underlined – the walkers must follow the guide. Why? Dangerous quicksand. Our walk across the North Ford was pleasant and safe only because we had a guide who knew the way.
I’ve thought a lot about that walk. Safety through following a guide. It’s very much like that with the way back to God. We need a guide. Someone to follow. Otherwise we will take the wrong path and never make it.
Nor is that putting it too strongly. Here is a verse of Scripture. It’s from the Old Testament book of Proverbs. God powerfully used it in the conversion of one of the key Christian writers of the 20th century, an Englishman by the name of Arthur W. Pink. His godly father would always wait up for him – no matter how late his son was in returning home. And he always had a verse of Scripture for him.
One night it was Proverbs 14.12: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death”. God so spoke to Arthur Pink through that verse that he emerged from his room with both his thinking and his life totally changed. How wrong he had been in rejecting his father’s Christianity! He had been on a path that would have ended in eternal death – a path that he once thought was right.
Will you heed the warning of Proverbs 14.12? People have their own ideas about the way to heaven, the way back to God, the way to get right with him. How we need to listen to these authoritative words of Jesus, God’s Son: “I am the way”, he said, “the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14.6). It’s the voice of the one whom God has given to be our guide. And he is pointing to himself. The way to a restored relationship with God is not through our works or some alternative religion. It is exclusively through Jesus.
Take him, therefore, as your guide. Commit the whole matter of your salvation from sin to him. The issue of it will be nothing less than eternal life.
Grace Baptist Church
777 W North Street
Carlisle, PA 17013