“They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.”
Isn’t it cool?
This pictograph, I mean.
Our guide wasn’t sure how old they were.
It’s one of many on the Churchill River system in northern Saskatchewan. They are drawings by indigenous peoples from long ago in red ochre on rocky outcroppings. Animals, shapes, figures communicated across the ages stand as a reminder of days long gone.
But he did tell us something about this particular figure, a man with his hands up.
“There are more like this one, and they all seem to be near rapids or waterfalls.”
It’s like they were an ancient warning system. Don’t go this way, or you’ll be sorry. Seriously.
Then there’s this modern gem nearby.
It doesn’t take a doctorate in geophysics to understand this beauty of a sign, does it?
And if the man waving frantically or the glaring yellow sign didn’t catch your attention, the roar of the falls sure would. A drop of 10 meters into a roiling tumultuous inferno with spray flying and the foam and froth of the powerful and majestic Nistowiak Falls surely should be off-putting to even the most seasoned adventurer.
I could look at that little red man and think it was cute. I could be offended at the glaring yellow warning. Who does he think he is, telling me I can’t go there? I could tune out the roaring noises, shut my eyes to the froth and foam, cover up completely so as to not feel the wet spray coming off the rocky cliffs.
I could nose my canoe right up to the edge, and go for it.
But I’d be incredibly foolish, wouldn’t you agree?
The Bible is a man in red ochre with his hands up, a bright yellow sign depicting grave danger for a wee man in a canoe, the roar and inferno pounding, the spray and waves churning.
Be careful! This is a place where pride and arrogance have sidetracked many a great career.
Proceed with caution! There are strong tides here that can pull you off course and suck you into a life you will regret!
Don’t even come near this one! Get out and portage – avoid it at all costs! You will lose yourself and your soul in the process if you enter here. You will be smashed to pieces by forces more powerful than you can harness!
Yet we so often choose to forge ahead, confident that we are the only ones who can navigate over the tricky parts without getting hurt.
But Someone went ahead of us in this path called life. Someone understands the pitfalls and obstacles and outright no no’s that will need to be manoeuvred through by all of us. Someone left clear instructions in a book for us to follow.
How foolish to ignore the warning signs.
Pay attention to the wisdom and warnings in God’s Guidebook with me?
Father, You know the route ahead of us. You understand the dangers to our souls and spirits so much better than we do. Forgive us for deliberately choosing to ignore Your truth when we just want to go our own way. Help us to safely navigate the treacherous places. Amen.