Don’t wait until all else fails, read the instructions first

By Robert C. Oliver - Contributing columnist

More than five years ago, we presented an article entitled, “When all else fails, read the instructions”. Upon further reflection, it would seem that what we need to do is go ahead and read the instructions before all else fails. Actually, the phrase used for that title five years ago is somewhat of a joke used when someone had attempted to do something only to have to stop, read the instructions and often un-do what they have done so as to do it right. Most of us have at some time attempted to assemble something which looked simple enough that we decided to forego the reading of the instructions, only to have to start over after having read them. In some cases, things have been destroyed beyond use by our first attempt or attempts. What we really need to do is consult the instructions before beginning and continue to be guided by them throughout the process. Now let us make application of this concept.

All who have their eyes open know for a fact that our nation has a lot of very serious problems. There is no doubt that there is a severe lack of morality in our land. Homosexuality, lying, cheating, stealing, drug abuse, spouse abuse and child abuse are just a few examples. We also have to admit that we have become somewhat of a welfare nation. When there are as many receiving some kind of government assistance as there are that are paying for the government assistance, the situation is quickly approaching a breaking point. Crime is rampant. Pick up almost any daily newspaper or turn the television news report on and the list of crimes reported include numerous cases of murder, rape, robbery and a host of other serious crimes. Our families are falling apart as well. Some have claimed that fifty percent of our marriages end in divorce. It is not at all uncommon to find several children in one family that all have different last names. On and on we could go pointing out the various serious problems we have in our nation. Some efforts have been made by the government to try to correct some of these problems, but it seems like it is too little, too late. So what is the solution to the problems?

The failure of the government to correct these problems is due mostly to the fact that the government is not the solution. One needs to go to the instruction manual for man to find the solution to the problems man has encountered. Recently, a face book post by someone alluded to the fact that when a baby was born, it ought to come with an instruction manual. In fact, there is an instruction manual to guide us through life on this orb called earth. I was recently reminded of the little acrostic using the word “Bible” It is “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”. God’s word is our instruction manual for both our civil life and our spiritual life. The wise man Solomon stated, “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). The apostle Paul pointed out, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16). If we will read the instructions, and follow them I might add, they will correct the current problems in our society and in our spiritual lives and also keep us from having future problems of the same kind.

Consider the serious problems within our nation that we spoke of above. When it comes to the immorality rampant in our land, the word of God instructs us concerning homosexuality, fornication, adultery, honesty and other morality issues. When it comes to crime, if all followed instruction manual, there would be no crime, and for those that refused to follow the instructions and committed crimes anyway, punishment would be levied. The home would not be in danger, for the instruction manual clearly teaches concerning marriage and the proper rearing of children. The instruction manual instructs citizens that they are responsible for providing for themselves if able, not depending on a handout from the government. All other national problems could be solved as well by simply reading and following the instructions given by God.

But, concerning our spiritual state, there is certainly no other source of instruction if we are to meet the requirements of the God of heaven. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). The instruction manual of God’s word is the “strait and narrow way” and all other ways are failures (Matt. 7:13-14). No matter how sincere or intelligent one is, his or her instructions will fail in the end, only those of the Lord will prevail. The psalmist wrote, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1). Jesus said, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13). When the Lord returns, He will take vengeance on all those who have not obeyed the gospel of Christ (II Thess. 1-7-9).

Now is the time to read and follow the instructions of God. Tomorrow may be too late. Tomorrow we may not have the opportunity (Prov. 27:1).


By Robert C. Oliver

Contributing columnist



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