August 2019

Thus Far

…[God] said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed?” (Job 38:11).

          The above passage is after Job had questioned God’s way with him. “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me….Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?...and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther….’”

          Charlotte and I were privileged to have a vacation the end of July.  We went hiking up the North Fork of Deer Creek in central Idaho.  This is an area in which my family had spent a fair amount of time when I was growing up.  However, I had not hiked up the trail of the North Fork of Deer Creek. We usually stopped at a little valley, and I fondly remember my grandpa teaching me to shoot the .22 there fifty years ago. “Hold the gun firmly, site in the can, and squeeze the trigger. Do pull quickly, just squeeze the trigger.” 

          I wonder what’s up that trail? So Charlotte and I took off. We thought there was an amazing number of wildflowers still in bloom for the end of July. Charlotte took many pictures and did a masterful job of identifying many of them.  I looked forward and saw what I thought should be the top of the hill. “I think just a bit further,” I said. We hiked on thirty more minutes, with a cross-back climbing of a hill that I did not foresee.  From that vantage point, I looked to another ridge: “I think just a bit further.” I was thinking five minutes; however, it was another thirty minutes when we reached the ridge with a small pond that started the North Fork of Deer Creek.  “Thus far shall you come, and no farther…” at least for that trip. We had hiked longer than planned and the grade had been steeper than anticipated. What did we see at the top of the ridge? Further mountains beyond mountains--way more than we could explore on that day.

          The next day we were at Redfish Lake with the opportunity to rent a canoe. Charlotte and I got in and started paddling. Where were we going? Don’t know, just going. I suggested, “How about going to that point of land up there?” Charlotte was agreeable, and when we got to that point, the water was beautiful, it was so peaceful and we kept paddling to the next point, only to see a couple more “points” farther up the lake. This time I suggested, “Before we get too far into this ‘just a bit further’ situation, let us pick a stopping point now.” Charlotte suggested two points forward with, “that should be the end of the lake.” We paddled on. When we got to the “two points forward,” we looked around the point and saw that we were only about halfway up the lake.  We arrived at our spot of “thus far shall you come, and no farther.” Good thing, because we had paddled longer than planned and the lake was bigger than we thought--way more than could be explored with a one-hour rental of a canoe.

          The trail and the lake offered many more sights for our exploring that we could do.  My application with this is God’s Word; It has more exploring that can always be done. However, we must remember He has set limits with what He has already revealed. We shall not go further than Scripture as we appreciate it vast grandeur.

The Lord be with you,                                                                   

Pastor Sam Wiseman