This is a photo I took of a steel grate that covers a hole a dug by a prospector during the southern Oregon gold rush of the 1850’s. The pit is deep. At the bottom, an old antique car rests in a dirt tomb along with various discarded articles like an old miner’s stove and tin cans. A few years ago, a young deer fell into the hole so those who manage this public hiking area thought it would be wise to cover the pit and install a plaque describing the history of the area.
The steel grate reminded me of God’s word. The pit the grate covers is like any place in our life that a trap of sin is present and uncovered waiting to lure us forward to step over its edge into the depths of deceit. Like uncovered mining pits, there are some things in life we should avoid. These unprotected places become dangerous pitfalls in a journey of faith.
Some reinterpretation of our original understanding of Scripture is healthy and needed. Much of this is because we have assumed things through tradition that were never part of the original understanding. In this quest for truth, we must be careful. This is not a trek to make alone. We need community and wise counsel to study these issues in an attempt to bring clarity and return us to original intent. An unhealthy and unwise reinterpretation can remove the steel grate of God’s word and make us vulnerable to the dangerous depths theological fads fueled by a culture, and, in some cases by believers attempting to redefine historic truth to avoid the confrontations and challenges that truth will bring to our conversations and relationships.
Just before I continued on with my hike, I jumped on top of the steel grate and looked down into the depths of the pit. I would only attempt this from atop the security of the steel grate. I felt safe standing on bars steel bars like a believer would feel standing on God’s word and looking down into a deceptive pit of sin. As I looked into the dark shadows, I saw the rusted hulk of the old car and the rubbish. I would not want to stumble into the hole and try to get out on my own.
Jesus went into the pit of sin for us and came out victorious. His victory allows us to live free from sins imprisoning depths. The Lord and His word now cover the pits of sin that line the trails of our lives. That is a comfort and security only available to those who have their weaknesses covered by the strength of truth. From that place, God can offer us a protected perspective only if the steel grate of truth remains firmly in place. That unique perspective will give us wisdom and discernment, two things critical to living a life of faith.