I remember my first bicycle. It was blue and white and had plastic streamers imbedded in the grips on the steering bar. It had one of those cute ringers that you pushed with your thumb. And most of the time, I stuck playing cards on the spokes so it would make that cool noise as I rode along.
I don’t remember ever having training wheels. But I do seem to remember my dad running behind me a time or two, making certain the bike stayed upright!
And then there was my brother and his experience. His learning curve included a long spell with training wheels. And dad got his cardio in, running behind with his hand on the back wheel frame. Eventually, my brother found success on flat surfaces that didn’t require braking. He would just slow down until he could jump off. He ultimately mastered the brakes and was able to ride up and down hills all over our neighborhood.
(Truth be known, he might have stumbled a bit at riding his bike, but he beat me at most other things!)
Both kids learned how to ride a bike. But the route was slightly different for each of the siblings. Falling was part of the learning process. (Prov. 24:16 reinforces that truth as it declares “For the righteous falls seven times and rises seven times….”)
My bike stories reflect the message regarding the town of Shiloh. Shiloh was a place of rest and security. The people of Israel lived in peace in there. They were able to do that because they had been following the Lord’s instructions. Their obedience, as they did His will, led them to such peace.
Learning and doing God’s will results in peace and rest for all of us too. But it takes time. It takes energy. It takes perseverance. We did not master a bicycle in one afternoon. We learned things, applied them, practiced and eventually we rode like a pro.
Following hard after Jesus requires that same devotion. We need to approach the Christian life with a mindset of obedience. We no doubt will fail from time to time. But rest and peace come when we persevere.
The prophet, Isaiah reminds us in Isa. 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
So, this week, if you feel a hand guiding your “spiritual bicycle,” keep on peddling. As we learn a truth and apply it, we are making progress. As we obey and yield our will to His, we make progress. As we say no to the flesh, we make progress. And soon we will arrive at Shiloh.