Are you directionally challenged? Let it never be said you are so challenged spiritually. As believers, we can count on God keeping in step with us until the day we can look upwards—forever.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
East and west
Maps have interested me from the time I could read. Unlike GPSs that direct us to turn right or left, maps tell us to turn north or south, east or west. When it comes to directions, the ultimate goal is the destination.
Our spiritual goals reflect a destination, too. Followers of Christ know their final destination is heaven, a place of perfection and peace with God, a place not on the map. The path to our final destination points to certain directions, too.
According to Old Testament laws, God placed great emphasis on directions (see Leviticus 16). The tabernacle and its successor, the great temple in Jerusalem, faced east. God’s law required that blood sacrifices had to be paid for the forgiveness of sin. The Altar of Sacrifice, which was the first part of the ritual, sat at the east end while the Holy of Holies, where the final act of sacrifice was performed, was at the west end.
Once a year the High Priest offered up the sin sacrifice in the east and then walked across the temple floor to sprinkle the animal’s blood on the Ark of the Covenant, situated at the west end. His ritual symbolized the sins of the people being removed from east to west.
Consider the opposite directions—north and south. Each has a “pole” where it ends. When we go north, we end up at the North Pole. A southerly trip takes us to the South Pole. Their distances are limited. East and west, however, have no poles. They go on forever.
Since the truths in the Old Testament shadow the New, perhaps when Jesus hung on the cross at Calvary, He faced either east or west. At any rate, it shows us that He died for our sins. “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:10-12)
The next time the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, we can remember God’s ultimate sacrifice for us and His promise that if we fear Him, He will remove our sins forevermore.
Lord, thank You for Your eternal mercy. As we travel life’s road, may we never forget that You created our world perfectly directional in order to show us Your mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name, amen.