You don’t have to drive too far until you will probably see some orange cones in the road and on the side of the road. I see them everywhere, all the time. Not thirty yards from my house, there are several that are on both sides of the road. They have been there for months and it does not appear as though the contractor is wrapping up, correcting, and finishing the work on the problem that was there. Whoever designed and started manufacturing orange cones and barrels is probably pretty well fixed today.
Can you imagine how many of these things exist just in the United States? You’ll find them anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a big city or a small little village out in the middle of nowhere. They’ve got some orange cones or barrels either on display or ready to be used, and it’s easy to understand why there are so many of them when you realize what they’re doing there. The orange cones are alerting us, announcing to us that there is a problem just ahead and you would be wise to slow down, maybe even stop, as you go by or through that area.
Sometimes the cones will be lined up so that it will redirect you from one road to another or take you on a detour in a different direction, but nearly always by their very nature they are a warning that something is not normal and that you may not need to be going to the same place or in the same direction that you had planned.
It might be helpful if we recognize that in His Word, God puts some orange cone kind of warnings in our pathway. They are called the Ten Commandments. In most places today — especially in public areas — they’re not allowed to be shown and some people would even declare that they are not relevant thinking and that there are no absolutes about truth nor God nor the actions in our lives. Here is the undeniable fact: If you see one of the orange cone commandments and you choose to ignore it or defy it and drive on, you will soon find that when you get yourself put back together the orange cone was there for a reason and the reason was to help you and to guide you and bless you and keep you from going off in that ditch.
God did not give us the Ten Commandments to harm us, but to keep us from being harmed. He wasn’t trying to rob us of enjoyment in life but to keep us on a path that would bring joy to our lives. A student who finds himself in a tight spot in school, or a business person with his back against the wall in some deal, or any of us coming to the reality of a wrong decision in life may think about the easy way out and just tell a lie. Somehow, wonderfully, God manages to place an orange cone right there in front of us that says, “Don’t go there. Don’t tell an untruth regardless of how convenient it might be and how much it may save you from embarrassment.”
When God says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exod. 20:14), He does so for our good. Regardless of the circumstances or who is involved, you cannot justify nor rationalize nor find a better life by going past God’s warning into a wrong relationship.
In the Old Testament you can watch and oftentimes see when people cross over and ignore the orange cones of life. You could even raise an accusing finger and say, “There you go, crossing the lines and going outside the bounds,” but in the New Testament Jesus brought a new view of the warnings to help us understand that they are not just external, they’re internal.
One by one throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus helps us to understand that it is not just going out and with our bare hands killing someone, but that we can live with such hate in our hearts that we commit murder and cross over the spiritual lines, ignoring the orange cone warnings of life. Others may not see it, but we know it.
Knowing that God has a warning system in place — an orange cone ministry — what are we to do? Three quick thoughts as you travel the road today.
The author can be contacted at email@example.com.