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Tough Shoes for a Tough Trip

By:  David Deschesne, Editor/Publisher

Fort Fairfield Journal, September 27, 2006, p. 9

   When you are a prisoner in jail, you are completely secure.  For those who would give up their liberty for security, prison is the ultimate realization of that goal.

   As long as you stay in prison and don’t attempt to escape, the prison guards will pretty much leave you alone.  However, should you break out, the entire prison staff will be sent against you in order to get you back in.

   That analogy roughly describes the life of a follower of Christ.  Once you break free from Satan’s hold, he’s going to send  legions of demons after you to get you back in.  But, what is the prison he wants you in?  Hell?  Yes, ultimately, but the roadmap he follows is the antithesis of the one to heaven: Faith in man, instead of faith in God.

   The New Testament teachings are replete with the maxim of Faith in our Heavenly Father as the only way to become closer to Him and ultimately spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  The prison many people are in is one where a figurative wall has been built between themselves and God.  That wall is built with the bricks and mortar of ‘lack of faith’ and functions as a prison for men’s souls.

   When Jesus died and rose again three days later, he broke a hole in that figurative wall and allowed people a way through.  That way is by following Him through it by Faith.  But, in order to follow, you have to get up and walk.  I’m not talking about walking physically, but metaphorically; you have to act on trust in your Heavenly Father to get you through the horribly bad times, no matter how impossible they may seem to be.

   Now, this Faith walk is going to be tough.  Once you accept Christ as your leader, and follow Him through that hole in the wall, all the demons from hell - the prison guards - are going to come after you.  They’re going to send their dogs after you, they’re going to hunt you down and try to get you back into their prison.  The life of a Christian is like that of a fugitive running from a prison toward a better place.  While there are a few rest stops along the way, there will never be complete rest until you finally make it “over there.”

   That Faith walk is going to be long and hard.  But, as the promise Moses gave to Asher, “your shoes shall be iron and brass: and as your days, so shall your strength be1 we will be given tough shoes, too.

    Shoes are made for walking; iron and brass shoes are tough.  Therefore, God will give you ‘tough shoes for a tough trip.’2   No matter how tough the trip, your shoes will hold out.  But you can relax knowing that God will always give you enough strength to get through those tough times:  as your days, so shall your strength be.”  God always gives you enough strength to Faith in Him during the tests that He allows to come your way.  All you have to do is trust Him, as you walk ‘from Faith to Faith,’2 that He’ll get you through.

   Yes, there will be “valleys of weeping” along the way.  The prison guards are not going to give up the chase.  But as you take those “valleys of weeping” and make them into new chances to Faith in the Lord God, you will make them a well, and fill them with the water of life.3

   The shoes in Deuteronomy 33:25 are a type of the blessed preparation given by God to enable His children to traverse difficult roads without discomfort. He fits our feet for the road.4

    The original Hebrew word for shoes,  מנעל  man’al,5 is derived from its close cousin, מנעוּל   man’uwl,6 which means “door bolt” and has caused some commentators to render that passage in Deuteronomy as “your door-bolts shall be brass and iron,” but the original poetic imagery of the phrase indicates “shoes” as the more accurate translation.

     Trusting in the Lord, rather than man is The Way to spend eternity with Him. But, with today’s social welfare programs, government identification systems and tracking protocols, people are always tempted to either stay or return behind those prison walls, trusting in man’s government for all their “creature comforts” instead of the Lord God.

   “Indeed, it is hard to learn how to live by faith.  But Isaiah insisted that one cannot live without faith.  If you will not believe you will not abide” (7:9).  Faith is not an easy or convenient path.  There are frustrations in store for him who expects God to succeed at every turn in history.  But “he who believes will not be in haste” (28:16).  Enduring strength is not in the mighty rivers but in “the waters of Shiloh that flow gently” (8:6).”7

   No matter how tough the trip, you can relax knowing that you are on your way, walking from Faith to Faith and the shoes you have been given will be tough enough to get you there.

 

Notes:

1.     Duet. 33:25

2.  Phrases borrowed from Dr. Gene Scott, Ph. D.

3. this imagery adapted from Psalm 83

4.  A Dictionary of Bible Types, Walter L. Wilson, ©1999 Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. p. 365

5.  Strong’s #4515

6.  Strong’s #4514

7.  The Prophets, ©1962 Abraham Heschel, 2001 Perennial Classics ed., pp 91-92.