Summary: God is serious about our sin. If we reject the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf then we are without hope.
“God Don’t Play”
Once upon a time there was a man who lived in a faraway place. All of the people of his little village knew one another and they watched out for one another’s well being. From the time a child was old enough to follow instructions, the elders of the village cautioned them never to enter the Overwhelming Forrest. According to the elders, the Forrest was unforgiving of anyone who ventured into its eerie environment. The elders of generations past had said that the Overwhelming Forrest would engulf the little village one day. They said the Forrest possessed a power that was unconquerable, a wrath that was unquenchable, and a fury that would one day visit the little village. The elders passed on the stories of those who had gone before them and they cautioned the villagers to heed their warnings. The people listened to the stories in horror. The wondered what they could do to turn the fury of the Forrest, but their questions were soon replaced by their daily activities.
One day all of the villagers stood in disbelief as a stranger stepped out of the Overwhelming Forrest and walked across the road that led to the village square. The villagers couldn’t believe their eyes. They stopped and stared. Some gasped wondering whether the stranger was a man, or a god, who had stepped from the unknown into their little village.
Someone worked up the courage to approach the stranger and asked him where he had come from and where he was going? The man said, “I have come from the other side of the Overwhelming Forrest where the Water of Life quenches the longing of every soul and the Light of Life illuminates every darkened heart.” The man scanned the huddle of those who were hanging on his every word and said, “I have come to show you the way through the narrow passage that leads to eternity if you will only follow me on the road to redemption.” The people stepped back at the man’s words and shook their heads in utter disbelief. No one had ever been foolish enough to venture into the Overwhelming Forrest. Stories had circulated about some foolish villagers who had long ago ventured into the Forrest, but no one had ever heard from them again. The Forrest consumed those who even stepped into its shadow.
The man said, “You must trust me. Disaster is certain to come upon your village – the village that you think is secure and hides you from the coming destruction. Disaster is coming, but salvation rests beyond the Overwhelming Forrest if you will but follow me through the narrow passage.”
One person spoke up and asked how long the journey would take? Another person spoke up and said, “You are a fool! You are only trying to lure us from the security of our village so that we might be destroyed.” Another voice rang out, “How do we know that you know the way? How do we know that you are telling us the truth?” The man said, “I am the way! I am the truth! I will not lead you astray and I will not leave you if you will just follow me.”
One villager stepped out from the ranks of the others and stood beside the man. Then another. Some mocked the villagers who turned against their elder’s advice and placed their trust in the stranger. A tiny group of villagers aligned themselves with the stranger and left everything behind as they timidly, cautiously, tip toed behind the stranger to the edge of the Forrest. As the stranger and the tiny group of villagers reached the edge of the Forrest, the stranger turned around and cried out, “Come with me! I will show you the way to the road of redemption so that you might escape the destruction that is to come.” No one moved. The villagers clung to the words of the elders and sought security in their own little village. The stranger and small group of villagers who had chosen to follow him disappeared into the Forrest never to be seen by those who had chosen to stay behind.
The Day came when the Forrest erupted. Fire, heavy smoke, and deafening thunder shook the little village. Some villagers cried out for mercy, but their cries fell on deaf ears. Others questioned the elders who had told them never to enter the Forrest. Some said, “We should have listened to the stranger! We should have followed him to the road of redemption, but now we are doomed!” The little village and all of its inhabitants were consumed. On the other side of the Forrest the Water of Life nourished those who had heeded the call of the stranger. The Light of Life shone brightly into the hearts of those who were once destined for destruction. The road of redemption was filled with those who had sought shelter underneath the wings of the One who was able to destroy or to deliver.