As one travels north, up from the Sea of Galilee, the scenery is breathtaking. The beautiful green slopes from which Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount give way to a steady climb through the northern mountains on the way to Caesarea Philippi. As the tour bus climbs the setting begins to change and the sites become somewhat ominous and foreboding. It was here in the Golan Heights that a significant victory was won by the Israeli Army against Syria during the Six Day War in June of 1967.
The bus ride through this area is a venture back in time 30 years. The view from the window does not change for several miles as the bus steadily climbs on its way north. Out the window and to the right of the highway is mile after mile of barbwire fencing and countless signs which contain a message in Hebrew, Arabic, and English: NO TRESPASSING! Old concrete bunkers dot the landscape, the decaying remains of Syria’s former military claim to the land. Occasionally, one can see the rusting wreckage of a bombed out tank or truck and is vividly reminded of what the residue of war looks like. Today this fenced land is a part of Israel but it is still dangerous due to innumerable land mines that lay buried in its brown dusty soil. NO TRESPASSING! DANGER! DO NOT ENTER! LIVE LANDMINES! These are signs that point to the danger that has swallowed this land making it unfit for habitation or even visitation. They are there for one reason and one reason only—to keep people from being maimed or killed. And yet outwardly to those unfamiliar with the terrain and its history, the land looks harmless—just like any other pastureland in the mountains of Northern Israel.
Imagine what would happen if the bus stopped and all the tourists disregarded the signs and climbed over the fence. In a matter of minutes, perhaps even seconds every person walking in the field would be blown to bits and if they were not killed immediately by the explosions, their bodies would be maimed and riddled with shrapnel, rendering them wounded, helpless, and unable to return to the bus. No bus driver in his right mind would come to their aid and eventually they would die from their wounds.
Far-fetched story you might say, but that is exactly what happened with Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God in the Garden. And the truth be known, it has happened to you on more than one occasion. God has put up NO TRESPASSING signs throughout the spiritual and physical landscape that each of us is called to traverse. Warning signs in flashing lights to turn us back from destruction and death and yet some continually climb over the fence and wander aimlessly among the hidden landmines. Over and over they are hit by the shrapnel of sin and are wounded. Hopeless and helpless they lay scattered across the landscape ignoring the signs that were put there to protect them, all the while crying out in loud laments, “Why me? Why did this happen to me?”
Whenever God says, “Thou shall not,” you must understand His purpose in hanging the NO TRESPASSING sign on a particular action or attitude. The Father always seeks to protect your holiness rather than prevent you from having fun. God’s NO TRESPASSING signs are there to protect you from the danger and death you either cannot see or will not see. A word to the wise: ride the bus—enjoy the breathtaking scenery and the incredible destinations—but whatever you do, don’t ignore the clearly posted signs and climb over the fence. The ground that looks so good from the bus window is not what it seems.