Today’s Scripture: Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. PsalmĀ 119:9-16

The cost of obedience is small compared with the cost of disobedience.

A ranger was leading a group of hikers to a fire lookout at Yellowstone National Park. He thought the garbled messages on his two-way radio would detract from his tour, so he turned it off. Nearing the tower, the ranger was met by a nearly breathless lookout, who asked why he hadn’t responded to the messages on his radio. A grizzly bear had been seen stalking the group, and the authorities were trying to warn them of the danger.

The local church is designed to hold us accountable to one another. But sometimes, we “tune out” the message. We’d rather concern ourselves with everyone else’s opinion of us than bother to hear urgent warnings to change our course.

I wish every message I preached could be warm and fuzzy, making everyone feel good. But I am committed to preaching the complete Word of God, which will upset some people. Scripture doesn’t gloss over the issue of sin, redefine it, or excuse it; it exposes it and condemns it. Toes will be stepped on. People will be offended. But those who truly “hunger and thirst after righteousness” will heed its warning-before it’s too late.

It’s not easy to stomach the truth, especially when it condemns us. But if we heed God’s warnings, our lives will be changed for the better. The choice is yours-are you tuned in or out?

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder