The signs were all there.  Subtle, but definitely there. 

“Please stay on the path”.

To end my personal retreat time last weekend,  I stopped by the Morikami Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach.  It’s a beautiful, tranquil place.  A good place to think, to pray, to breathe. 

There’s a long, winding path to follow, taking the visitor by different ornamental gardens, through a bamboo forest, along a lake, across architecturally stunning bridges.  It was about halfway through my time there when I noticed the small signs placed strategically and often throughout the park.

“Please stay on the path”.

I must admit there were times when it was tempting to leave the path to get a closer look at something or get a better camera shot.  But the signs were there for a reason.

The garden caretakers know that if you go off the path, you could do damage to the things they have worked so hard on, you could get lost and end up someplace other than where you are supposed to be.  You may even unintentionally encourage others to do the same. It wouldn’t be good.  So they gently and yet firmly remind you to just stay on the path they meant you to be on.

God has a path for us to be on, and He reminds us (not so subtly sometimes) to stay on it.   If we wander off His path, it won’t be good.  We could do damage to the work God has been doing, we could definitely end up someplace other than where God intended for us to be, and yes, we could unintentionally encourage others to follow our wandering footsteps.

And so, our God gives us this simple, yet vitally important command.  He has beautiful places for us to see, and amazing experiences He wants us to have. 

But we must stay on the path.  His path.

Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.  Proverbs 4:26

My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.            Job 23:11

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Psalm 16:11

Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.  Psalm 119:35