Summary: The Bible is our compass and map for life.
One time, I searched the Internet with this question, “What to do if lost?” According to Hike Safe, a hikers’ website, “Obviously the best thing you can do for yourself and the search team is to avoid getting lost… The best ‘rescue’ is the one that is never needed. Hiking safely is about being prepared for any situation. No hiker ever plans on getting lost…” Unfortunately, in hiking as well as in living, people do get lost. Now, in that website, I came across the Hiker Responsibility Code. It appears that to avoid getting lost, the first rule is, “You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared… With knowledge and gear. Become self reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.” The key is being prepared for the hike... and for life. Our goal should be to get the most out of life, not to get lost in life. Let us pray…
Before we even take the first step towards the hiking trail, we have to plan our hike. We have to make sure we won’t become lost. So the first thing we need to do is to get a map and learn how to read that map. Then we need to get a compass and learn how to use it. With a map and a compass, we have a fighting chance of finding our way. We can’t go wrong when we go right, that is, when we plan right.
Of course, we can go high-tech. We can always get a GPS or Global Positioning Device. That is, if we can afford it. Most of us can’t. Your cell phone might have GPS but it would be useless without a signal. So, we better know how to be low-tech. Stick with the map and the compass. According to the Hike Safe website, “Take your map and compass with you. That way, if you become disoriented, you can stop, refer to your map and try to reorient yourself. Experienced hikers say that most people find their way after studying a map and the surrounding terrain for five minutes, so don’t panic if you can’t immediately figure out where you are.”
In this trail called life, the Bible is our compass and our map. Psalm 19:7-8 tell us, “The signposts of GOD are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of GOD are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of GOD are plain and easy on the eyes.” The Bible is God’s signposts, His life-map and His directions. In short, we can trust His Word to show us the way to life and through life. It is our map and compass that shows us how to have life and how to live it. That’s why we can’t go wrong when we go right.
Here’s how 2 Timothy 3:16-17 described the Bible. “All Scripture is Godbreathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” What does it mean “All Scripture is Godbreathed”? It simply means, “Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word” from Genesis to Revelation, all 66 books of the Bible, both the Old Testament and New Testament. It means that when we read the Bible, when we listen to the preaching of the Word, God speaks to us.
That doesn’t mean that we treat the Bible like a fortune cookie or a horoscope. You don’t cut open the Bible, close your eyes and choose a verse by randomly pointing at the pages. So, when you think you’re in love or you’re looking for someone to love, don’t look for verse that would give you a clue as to who it should be. What if your finger lands on the name “Nebuchadnezzar”? That’s not the way to use the Bible! The Bible gives us principles or guidelines on how to choose a mate but does not point out who that person would be. For example, Genesis 2:24 tell us, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” That means that before we enter a relationship, we must be ready to stand on our own or “leave [our] father and mother”.
Let me show you how by going back to our hiking metaphor. What do we do if ever we lost both our map and our compass? If we are familiar with the map, we just need to know where we are. We look for landmarks like a hill or a river. We also look for “nature’s direction indicators.” If it’s still day time, we observe the shadow of a tree. That shadow would go from West to East. If it’s already night, we look for the Big Dipper or the North Star. Then, we can already chart our course.