A couple weeks ago my husband Dave and I visited a local Wildlife Refuge about thirty minutes from our home. Friends said we would be amazed by all the birds and the beauty. Well, we must have gone at the wrong time because we saw the beauty, but no birds. Not one.
I had to laugh at Dave because he said he would rather have a shotgun with him than a pair of binoculars. Apparently the landscape is ideal for hunting pheasants. I reminded him that it was a wildlife preserve so the birds were protected. Pointing to the refuge he said,
“They stay there and they’re safe, but over here,” pointing to the next field over, “they are dinner.” Such a fine line between safety and danger.
That made me think of the provision and protection we have from God when we stay within His refuge.
Years ago, when our kids were little, one family devotion talked about the following verse:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you will enjoy long life on this earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3
Our son Jacob was about 5 years-old and our daughter Kelly was 3, so to help them understand this lesson a little better, I made this poster that I hung in the hall outside their bedrooms.
I wanted them to know that because God loved them He set boundaries to keep them safe. When we choose to obey God and live within those boundaries this brings blessings. Choosing to live outside them was what we called the danger zone.
Learning to live with rules and self-control is hard for a child and it doesn’t always get easier just because we grow up. Our sinful nature thinks we know what is right for us, but let’s ask Adam and Eve how that turned out. From the beginning God set limits for his children because he wants what is best for us. For those who love him, his commands are not a burden but a gift that gives freedom.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3
What freedom and peace there is in knowing the path you are following brings life and the very best that God has for you.
“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved….I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10: 9-10
For some years we used that poster to help them think about their choices and God’s protection. It was a great visual. Actually it still hangs in the hallway right at eye level for a 3 and 5 year-old. They have grown some since then but I pray they always remember the lesson of God’s protection and love for them while they are… just living the thing.