One of my favorite television shows is The Andy Griffith Show. Recently, I was watching an episode: “Andy’s English Valet”. This episode is about an out of town visitor, Malcolm Merriweather, who has come to America from England “on a bit of a holiday” and ends up visiting the fair city of Mayberry. However, Malcolm has got himself a bit turned around in his city travels. So, while bike riding through Mayberry and simultaneously trying to read his map, he spots Sheriff Andy Taylor. Sheriff Taylor just so happens to be standing outside of his home waiting for his aunt (he’s driving her to the town’s lone bus stop as she’s going on a trip.) Malcolm rides right up to Sheriff Andy, the "constable" of Mayberry, and solicits his directions to Route 43.
Malcolm, a foreigner to the country of America and to the city of Mayberry, is given specific written and verbal directions by the sheriff. Sheriff Andy says:
“Now. You go down here to the stop light down here and turn left. You go two blocks; turn right. Go right thru the middle of town, til you run into the intersection. Then right again; and you go along, and it’ll go crooked, and crooked, and crooked. . . Go on about two miles and you’ll run right into it. Okay?”
When I saw that scene, Holy Spirit reminded me of the Scripture from Joshua 3:4: “you have not passed this way before.” During this entire directive Malcolm is, to say the least, perplexed! Andy asked him if he understood all of the directions and Malcolm replied, “Piece of cake. . . Oh absolutely, no trouble at all. Thank you very much. Goodbye.” He proceeded on his way.
Malcolm didn’t want to show him that he hadn’t fully comprehended. What was very easy and second nature for Andy, was unfathomable and nearly inconceivable for Malcolm. A foreigner to the land, he only had those written words to go by. No memories, no familiarity, no friends traveling with him along this exact road to remind him of what had just been said (or prophesied) to him. And, because Malcolm had never been that way before he had no specifics on exactly where the intersection was, nor how crowded it would be. He had no details on how long the crooked road would be crooked and crooked and crooked, and he had no knowledge of what the middle of town would be like for him - a stranger; a newcomer. But he eventually finds out.
What I thought about during this scene was how sometimes we are each very excited to set out on our journeys: to write the book, to be in the relationship, to take the job, to travel the countryside or the world. . . But we really don’t know where we’re going or what we’re getting ourselves into. But we do have the written words to default to for directions. When we walk right up to God, “boldly to the Throne of Grace” (Hebrews 4:16) and solicit His help, He will give us the directions we need. But because we’ve never built a ministry before, or had a baby before, or started a business before the faith (and sometimes the actions) may not come “naturally” for us. We don’t honestly know that there won’t be hiccups! Sure, we can hope and pray against them but really, most times, they come anyway. And for some of us, "hiccups" can be painful and stifling.
So today, I encourage you dear one to be clear. BE SURE about what God has called you to. Be certain that you’re following His directions exactly. And if you’re not clear, even when the Words are telling you exactly what to do, tell the Lord that. Don’t say or think, “Piece of cake, Lord. Oh, I’ve got this!” Don’t let pride or fear or a dull and sluggish spirit (Hebrews 5:11) cause you to travel on in darkness (Psalm 82:5) and never fully achieve the spiritual insight or help that you need. Speak up. Say something. Be clear about how many paces there should be and about the proper cadence (God’s perfect timing) in which they need to be kept (Joshua 3:4). Be sure about how much distance you’ll need to put between you and others. And above all else, know exactly which road you’re on and following.
I believe that we can ask God for such things. I believe that He has denoted landmarks and signs for us. After all, He certainly doesn't need them! Proverbs 22:28 says that He specifically said, “DO NOT move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set.” Deuteronomy 19:14 reaffirms the importance of having demarcations for the journey: “You shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God gives you to possess.” And, lastly, I believe that we can ask Him for these specific resources (remember yesterday's post on Nehemiah 2) because a gracious, lenient, omniscient, pacific, wooing, benevolent and completely capable God delights in revealing hidden things to us (Proverbs 25:2). He is glorified when our works match our faith!
In the book of Joshua, the people were to follow the priests who had the ark of the covenant. So be reminded today, that if you don’t see the covenant promises of God before you as you’re building, as you’re journeying, as you’re doing whatever you’ve been raised up at this time to do - stop and get clarity. Don’t keep going without certitude. You’ll eventually crash and quite possibly end up hurting yourself and perhaps even damaging others. Just like Malcolm Merriweather https://youtu.be/rEDy3lexOZk .