We just exchanged our aging pick-up for a newer vehicle that gets much better gas mileage. Wanting to take the best care possible of our new car, we sat down together to read the owner’s manual. (Yes, I know, nobody actually reads the directions. We’re just weird that way.)
While the manual is quite thick, clearly most of the contents are there for the express purpose of making the lawyers happy.
In our reading, we discovered these serious hazards:
- “If the back door [tailgate] is left open, … luggage may be unexpectedly thrown out, causing an accident.”
- “When closing the back door, take extra care to prevent your fingers etc. from being caught.”
- “Take care when adjusting the seat position to ensure that other passengers are not injured by the moving seat.”
- “Do not leave soft drink cans in the vehicle when it is in the sun. [They] may fracture, causing the contents to spray over the interior of the vehicle….” (Wow, they think of everything!)
- “Never touch … the high voltage parts, cables and their connectors. It can cause severe burns or electric shock that may result in death or serious injury.”
You can be sure we’ll remember that!
This reminds me of the warning label on the microwaveable frozen dinner I had last week: “Warning: contents will be hot after microwaving.” So that’s why we microwave frozen dinners!
As a culture, we’re always looking for an excuse to blame someone else for our stupidity. If we can add in a big payoff at some corporation’s expense, so much the better. To protect itself, the company hires attorneys. Their job is to think like an idiot. What can possibly go wrong? The goal is to issue a warning before somebody does the wrong thing and a lawsuit is filed. Then they can say, “Didn’t you read the instruction book? We warned you about that!”
When God made the Earth, He didn’t put labels on everything that can hurt us. The Grand Canyon had no warning signs: “Danger, keep back from edge. Falling can be fatal.” It was up to people to discover the law of gravity. (And then we added signs and guardrails, at least near the visitor center.)
However, God did give us two warnings. They’re both about our relationship with Him and where we will spend eternity.
For one, Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
God is revealing Himself in His creation, and we do well to pay attention.
The other warning is the Bible. Here it’s all laid out in detail… what happens when we turn away from God. What happens when we seek Him. His amazing love for us, and how we can love Him in return.
Obviously, the Bible is much clearer than creation when it comes to the details. That’s why Bible translators and other missionaries work so hard and sacrifice to much to get the Bible into the hands of as many people as possible.
I can just see someone trying to tell God on Judgment Day, “Hey, it’s not my fault! How was I supposed to know? You didn’t warn me!” And God can say, “Didn’t you read the instruction book? I warned you about that!”
It always pays to read the instructions.