Summary: People live lives digging spiritual ruts, stuck in them. and lving in them. This sermon looks at whta those lives look like and how to get out of that rut stuck life.
I was 18 when I attempted to get my drivers license for the first time. It was a day that will live in my memory forever. The day before had been a rainy day. The police officer climbed into my car as I began my driving test. Going down a two-lane highway behind the station, I was instructed to make a three-point road turn. I turned the steering wheel to the left, put the car in reverse, turned the wheel to the right, backed up, and felt the car slide backwards off the road. As I attempted to move forward, the back tire spun causing it to dig a rut in which my car was stuck.
The police officer, looking disgruntled, informed me that he would attempt to push my car back on the road. At his instruction, I was to push gently on the accelerator as he pushed. At his command, I gently pushed on the accelerator. I heard the sound of spinning tires and screams of “Stop!”
The officer approached my window covered in mud with a small drop of water hanging off his nose. “I said gently son, gently.” With my car deeper in a rut, we were forced to wait on another motorist to come by to assist us out. Needless to say, I failed.
Ruts are something we get stuck in. We find ourselves in a lot of ruts in life. Sometimes we back into them. Other times we plunge forward into them. I wish that police officer had warned me about going back to far. Perhaps I would have been more cautious.
People can get in ruts in their spiritual walk with God. I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit has a fresh, new word for all believers every Sunday. But people get it ruts and find it easier and easier to miss Sundays for all kinds of reasons. The easier it gets the more Sundays they miss and the deeper the rut.
I believe will all my heart that God loves a cheerful giver. I believe it his desire for all believers to show their joy in him by giving monetarily to him on regular bases. But people get in ruts and find it easier and easier to spend their money on other things and the rut gets deeper.
I believe with all my heart that God loves a people hungry for manna, the Word of God. I believe it is his desire for all believers to spend time with him each day; in his word, in prayer, in meditation. But people get in ruts and find it difficult to switch off the TV for 15 minutes and spend time with him. People get in ruts and find it easier and easier to spend all 1440 minutes of the day on their own agendas. And the rut gets deeper.
So let’s look at the warning of the rut
God does speak to us and He warns us about the ruts in life. He doesn’t yell or scream at us. Here is how God communicates.
1 Kings 19:12 “And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.”
He warns us of ruts in a gentle manner. Like a loving father, he chastises us in a gentle whisper. I found with my own children that a gentle voice and a beaming smile would carry a larger impact of threats for discipline. They never knew what I was about to do. What I began the sermon with this morning was a gentle whisper from God. It is his desire to keep us out of ruts because there is no happiness to be found when living in a rut.
So what are the causes of the rut?
The US standard railroad gauge – that’s the distance between rails – is 4 feet, 8-1/2 inches. Why such an odd number? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and British expatriates – that is, people who used to live in Britain, built American railroads.
Well, why did the English use that particular gauge? Because the people who built the pre-railroad tramways used that gauge.
They in turn were locked into that gauge because the people who built tramways used the same standards and tools they had used for building wagons, which were on a gauge of 4 ft, 8-1/2 inches.
Why were wagons to that scale? Because with any other size, the wheels did not match the old wheel ruts on the roads.
So who built these old rutted roads?
The first long distance highways in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since. Roman war chariots first made the ruts. Four feet, 8-1/2 inches was the width a chariot needed to be to accommodate the two rear ends of warhorses.