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History and Highways

March 23rd, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 13: 6 (NLT)

 6 Godliness guards the path of the blameless,
      but the evil are misled by sin.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

It has been referred to as one of the Seven Wonders of the United States, just like other notable structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, and the Panama Canal.  Unlike many significant landmarks that many of us may have never physically seen or touched, all of us have experienced this behemoth wonder of modern engineering, usually on a daily basis.  The structure in question is the Interstate.

I became intimately acquainted with the Interstate back in my college days.  In some weeks, I literally lived on I-40 as I made my way between Knoxville and Nashville.  After Laura and I started dating, some weekends I would spend as many as eight hours driving on the old interstate just to have dinner with my sweetheart.  

Though most of us seldom have positive things to say about it, can you really imagine life without it?  Sure, we’ve all waited in gridlock for construction zones to funnel through or spent countless hours hearing our little brothers and sisters argue in the back seat on a long vacation trip; but the interstate is actually the defining key feature of travel in our nation.

We drive on it everyday, but few people stop to think about how it got here.  If you’ve ever been in construction or have laid a concrete slab, then you have some idea of the magnitude of this monumental project.  Who thought of it and how did such a huge undertaking actually come into being?

The history of the interstate actually began all the way back in World War I when a young lieutenant colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower became a member of a post-war expedition team that set out to attempt to travel the length of the United States with an army convoy.  The war in Europe had raised awareness of the problems that can occur in modern warfare when old, narrow roads and bridges weren’t adequate to sustain tanks, vehicles, and supplies.  The leaders of the United States knew that if we ever faced invasion, we would be in big trouble because we could not quickly transport military equipment across the huge expanse of our nation’s landscape.

It took the expedition sixty-two days to make the trip, losing nine vehicles and being involved in two-hundred and thirty road accidents.  That was a problem and they knew it.  The path of safety and security for our nation simply had not yet been paved.

It was no surprise then that when Dwight D. Eisenhower became our nation’s Thirty-Fourth President in 1953 that he immediately began pushing for the construction of the National Highway Defense System (as it was originally called).  Decades and over eight billion dollars later, the Interstate Highway system redefined America in terms of transportation and communication.  The huge nation got smaller and more acquainted.

Consider this: we’ve never been invaded by a foreign enemy, which was the initial reasoning behind the Interstate system.  The plans of our enemies may have been thwarted in part because we were so well-prepared for supply and communication within our borders.  Who knows?

This passage says, “Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin.”  Guarding one’s life path requires a plan.  It requires someone to recognize the possible dangers and to pave the path to safety. That’s what Jesus did for us!  He prepared the path to “godliness” by His sacrifice.  We can’t get there on our own . . . only Jesus’ paved road of righteousness can move us toward our earthly and eternal destinations.  

It exists, but we must choose to get on the on-ramp.  The path of godliness isn’t always easy, but it works.  Without godliness, we can easily become “misled by sin” and find our lives wrecked just like those nine vehicles in that initial expedition . . . but it doesn’t have to be that way.  We can only experience true life-change because Jesus’ love gives us the strength to move forward in the right direction.

Grace has laid quite a path for us.  I choose to enter traffic today.  You?


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