GUIDANCE IN UNKNOWN TERRAIN
21C LIVING—ALIGNING YOUR MORAL COMPASS
It was one of the most memorable experiences of my childhood—a whole week of backpacking in the rugged wilderness of northern Idaho with the Boys Brigade. I learned two significant lessons.
Orienting with a sighting compass is the only reliable way to navigate through unknown terrain. And as for a good night’s sleep, a flat granite boulder can be quite comfortable after rigorous hiking.
GUIDANCE VIA SIGHTING COMPASS
Over the course of those seven days—that can be best described as a seventh grader’s ultimate roughing-it adventure, I experienced hands-on training from an expert in orienteering. The unit leader demonstrated how-to:
• align the map to the compass points,
• allow for declination between magnetic and true north,
• determine a heading, technically known as “shooting an azimuth,”
• plot a course,
• sight the needed landmarks; and,
• regularly check compass readings to maintain a true course.
The value of a compass lies in the fact that magnetic north does not vary—it is constant.
Regardless of your location, the compass unfailingly points north always allowing you to establish proper bearings. This became especially evident after the first day when we left the trails hiking into unmarked terrain and were forced to rely on the compass for guidance.
GUIDANCE VIA YOUR MORAL COMPASS
Just as a sighting compass is indispensable in providing a clear indicator of physical direction, a moral compass is necessary to provide a baseline for human behavior. In the complex world of the 21st century, having a constant standard to maintain moral bearings is essential.
Preparing to cross over the Jordan River, Moses provided the nation of Israel with a clear course for God’s blessing:
“Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.”
As Moses spoke to the children of Israel gathered on the banks of the Jordan River, he used the metaphor of walking to describe life’s journey. God set Israel’s “azimuth” toward living life in such a way that not only blesses others, but also brings reciprocal blessing to those who stay the course. Israel was commanded to follow that course without deviation (v. 32). God’s guidance was specific.
Moses declared that the Word of God provides the supreme compass pointing to the truth for establishing our moral bearings while venturing through life’s realities.
In the New Testament, the author of the book of Hebrews echoes the importance of the Word of God in guiding the Christian walk. People of faith who actively study the Word of God are described as, “those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).
Consistent sincere consultation of the Word of God helps develop moral sensitivity and the ability to clearly distinguish between right and wrong.
Join me for upcoming posts exploring God’s Word in a new series entitled “Aligning Your Moral Compass.” You can start, today, by determining to align your life with the principles of God’s Word through daily Bible reading. It is the spiritual equivalent of taking regular readings from a compass in order to maintain the right course. Doing so requires effort. But like the refreshment of a good night’s sleep after a day of trekking, you will be richly rewarded!
1) Compass by the Swedish manufacturer Silva. By Tobias R. Metoc (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Using Opportune Moments to Read the Bible. By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. With 40 plus years of ministry experience, Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.