The son of a truck driver, I like highways and image of travel. Checking The New Interpreter’s Bible Dictionary's entry about roads and highways, I learned that a messila was a built-up road, intentionally constructed and improved, while a derekh (Num. 20:17, 19, Judg. 21:19) was a path was formed because of constant use and thus had become a road.
During college, I taped a
religious poster on my dorm room wall. Under a photo of a white country church
against a green, timbered hill were the words, "I lift up my eyes to the hills
from whence cometh my help."
I liked the Bible verse, the scene was pretty, and I enjoyed the peaceful
reminder of rural home places. But a friend who was knowledgeable in scripture
said the poster was theologically incorrect.
"I have a philosophy about life,” a friend said recently. “The world would be a much better place if people took a moment to let people know about the positive impact they have had on others’ lives. Too much time is spent on negativity. The good in people simply isn’t recognized; too often it is taken for granted.”
When my daughter was in grade school, her teacher included a unit on table manners. The rule that amused me was, “When served food, you should never ask, ‘What is this?’” I don’t think I’ve asked that question aloud, but I’ve certainly thought it, especially at potlucks.
God has become clear in the person of Jesus. God approves us, gently draws us to Christ and teaches us. God has taken full initiative to provide sustenance sufficient for this life and the next. He does not even fret about how much we eat. He simply invites us to his well-stocked table of abundant blessing. As it was for those early listeners, so it is for us.
As Christians, we are joined together, responsible for one another’s Christian walk and well-being. Paul talks about “one body and one spirit,” so when someone we know is in trouble—some metaphorical fuse is burning in his or her life—we’re there for that person, praying, talking, listening and helping. We “bear with one another in love,” with “humility, gentleness and patience.” Of course, it's easier to describe that kind of fellowship with good religious words than to actually pull it off.