Warning Signs by Patty LaRoche

Our neighborhood here in Florida is filled with warning signs. The alligator notice posted above is one block from where Dave and I live.

The “cart” sign hangs on a wall outside our local supermarket, and a neighbor’s front door holds the “I’m happy…don’t ruin it” sign. None of us are unfamiliar with notices of caution, but how about this one? “Removing consumer labels from pillows is punishable by fines.” When I was young, I feared the pillow police would show up at my door if I tore off one of those scratchy tags. (Tell the truth; you did too.)

Humorous signs now are the norm. “Children left unattended will be given a Red Bull and a puppy.” “Do not cross this pasture unless you can do it in nine seconds because the bull can do it in ten.” “Stay off the tracks. They are only for trains. If you can read this, you’re not a train.”

Most warnings, however, are not laughable. We heed them…or we pay the consequences. Especially ones God has given us. Every book in the Bible cautions us about what our bad choices can do to us…and to others. Our problem is that sometimes we don’t take the warnings seriously, if we read them at all.

For example, God gave strict instructions on how to choose the right spouse. I have Christian friends who chose their mates only after much prayer, seeking God’s wisdom because of the decision’s lifetime importance. (I wasn’t one of those people, I admit, but God blessed me in spite of myself.) With the divorce rate in the U.S. nearing 40% (one site said that every 13 seconds, there is a divorce in America), many couples—Christians included– are choosing to split.

In Judges’ chapters 13-16, we read of a tragic story in which a young man disobeyed God’s marriage order, and it cost him his life. You’ve probably heard his name, synonymous with what NOT to do in choosing the right mate. Samson. For starters, he refused to listen to his parents’ warning. I have known three sets of praying parents who convinced their children that they were marrying the wrong person. All now are happily married in a union blessed by their father and mother and are grateful for the wisdom in their parents’ concerns.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying all parents know what is best for their children. Many times wedges are drawn when personalities clash with future in-laws as they circumvent God’s best with their attempts to break up a relationship. Children need to recognize the difference in motive. They need to pray for God’s wisdom.

That did not enter Samson’s mind. Worse than not heeding his father and mother, he disregarded God’s advice and lusted after a beautiful Philistine woman, a no-no to any God-fearing Israelite, much less a young Nazarite (set apart from birth to honor God) like Samson. Suffice it to say, Samson ended up being captured and blinded before dying, thanks to the sinful woman he chose as his wife.

Readers, I think I have this figured out. Messing with an alligator might be much safer than messing with an ungodly spouse.

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