U-Turns. The ability to take a u-turn while driving can be extremely freeing when we are in need of a change in direction or we are lost, but they can also be very annoying when we are forced to take one or when someone takes one in front of us. I know that I have had my share of frustration when I can't make a left hand turn because there are medians forcing me to drive the nearest intersection and make a u-turn instead. I now have to be very intentional in my choice of direction depending on where I want to go. (because of the medians up and down Eagle road for instance) Otherwise I can find myself wanting to take a left into a business and instead I have to travel to the next mile to make a u-turn at the stoplight in order to get back to where I wanted to go in the first place. (I know, 1st world problem)
Well in today's reading I found the detailed descriptions of the traffic patterns that were required in the temple to be very interesting. It got me wondering if it was intentional and prophetic, in the sense that God was making a point by them, or if it was intentional in the sense that they didn't have traffic signals and policemen so it simply created a better flow of traffic.
Ezekiel 46: 9,10 - When the people ot the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate.
What I found after read a few articles and commentaries was that this was simply a way of controlling what was sure to be a vast amount of people coming and going from the appointed festivals. So it was simply a way of establishing traffic patterns.
Although it may only be a traffic issue we are reading about, I think that there are some very real ideas that we could use this passage for in a metaphorical sense. God has asked us to follow him and to trust in his word. We commit to following him when we give our life to Christ and ask for his atoning blood to be the forgiveness for our sins that we could never attain in our own strength. But the funny thing about following is that we can't turn around and decide to go the other way. If we did we would cease to be following anyone but ourselves.
If you think about many of the verses in scripture that are quoted so very often by those in the church, you notice that there is an implied forward movement about them. Take for instance the 23rd Psalm - a favorite of many, both inside and outside the church. David says, "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me."
David did not arrive at the valley and decide that it looked difficult so you might as well turn around. He didn't look at the danger and choose to run the opposite direction. He chose to follow the leading of his Lord. AND, even though he was walking through that valley (forward movement, in order to get through a valley you have to start at one end and keep moving forward until you reach the other side) he knows that he has nothing to fear BECAUSE the Lord is with him.
The same is true for us today. God is calling us follow him and leading us toward the places he has planned for us to go if we would only listen and obey. But he never asks us to take u-turns when following him because he is by our side and he is leading us. When we trust the Lord, the valleys suddenly don't appear to be so dark anymore.
I would note that if we are running from God and openly choosing to rebel against Him and his word, then we DO need to take a u-turn. But when we do, God is standing right there to lead us back in the direction we should be moving. The traffic patterns get smoother and there is less traffic coming straight at us. We begin to move in the direction that God has always had planned for us. But only when we trust him and follow his leading can we realize this reality.