Of Crooked Rivers and Men
March 1, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. - Luke 3:4c-6.
A very well known quote “Following the path of least resistance is what makes rivers and men crooked” comes alive in the following: Maurice Gladney explained he robbed someone on the street in St. Louis because it would help him deal with his distress following the Rams’ losing in the Super Bowl. Donald Guthrie after robbing the M&T Bank in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania said that he needed the money to pay for the bill he owed to the bail bondsman from his last arrest. Douglas Harrison and others became robbers because they wanted to go back to jail. Why? Because jail felt like home to them. Apparently, these men have followed the path of least resistance in their lives and have ended up in a very literal way making their lives crooked.
Jesus tells us “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13-14).” To the extent that we follow the wisdom of the world, which is the “broad gate,” we too will have crookedness in our lives. In order to have salvation we must enter in the “narrow gate” which is Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Through Jesus, we find the only way of salvation, we find truth, and we find life. Jesus is not the path of least resistance. Following Jesus is not the easy life (Luke 9:23-26), but it is the only life that will allow and empower us to avoid the crookedness of the world.
John the Baptist quoting the words of Isaiah said, “The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth.” Then he said, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” The salvation of God is Jesus. Only through Jesus can we daily deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him. Only through Jesus can we avoid the crookedness and perverseness of the world. Only through Jesus can the crooked be made straight.
Looking back at the path of your life do you see a path that is straight and true or are there some curves and squiggles back there? Allow the Lord to keep your path straight and true. Follow Him. Focus in upon Jesus (Hebrews 12:3).