24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Close to where I live, there is an old fashioned signpost. You probably know the sort I mean. A sort of black and white ‘finger post’. It tells the traveller the direction for Southwater, Horsham or Barns Green. When it was first set in place, these were quiet country lanes, with occasional visitors using horse drawn vehicles. Back then, we would have been reliant on this kind of signpost to help us to find our way to places. Now, of course, the roads are much busier with fast moving cars and delivery vans. Even if they are unfamiliar with the area, most drivers rely on SatNav to help them get to where they want to go. The signpost seems to belong to a different time. It’s a relic of times passed. It’s largely ignored. But it’s still there. And interestingly, it’s still accurate.
The point is that we have a tendency to overlook ‘old things’ which have, in our minds at least, been overtaken by events, time and technology. Map books. Signposts. They belong to a different era. They seem irrelevant. We take no particular interest in them even if they’re still there.
And that’s fine, except gadgets and technology are not infallible. Occasionally, SatNav lets us down. Sometimes we lose signal. There are moments when we need to make a decision and there is simply no app to help us out. We need to look somewhere else for wisdom and direction to give us the reassurance we need. There are moments when we wish we still had a ‘road atlas’. Sometimes we wish there was a signpost at the next junction to give us a clue.
Scripture is fairly old. Abraham lived about 4000 years ago, and it’s around 2000 years since Jesus started His ministry. It’s easy to think that the things of faith belong to a different time. A different era. We’re modern people with gadgets and technology. Apart from passing curiosity, what can Scripture possibly have to do with us.
Scripture is a bit like that ancient sign post. It was put in place ages ago, when the world was a very different place. The world has changed beyond recognition, yet like the Southwater signpost, the Bible still tells the truth. It still points us in the direction we should be going, and spells out where the alternative path leads.
Just noticing the Bible is there, even just reading the Bible isn’t enough. Our response to what we have read is what matters.
‘Signposts don’t walk in the direction they point. It is we humble mortals who must choose which way to go. The signpost is not responsible for our decision.’
John le Carre, Agent Running in the Field, Penguin, 2019, p.231