[There are so many things in life that challenge us: are we living as God intended us to live? Do we see the sense in living according to God’s rules? In life, as on railways, we need to observe and obey the signals which are there for our safety. There are frequently railway accidents, whether in UK, USA or RSA and most are attributable to “human error.” Railways Africa says there are 2.5 mishaps a day on the railways of  South Africa! What about our spiritual life? And yet God still cares for us and calls out to us.]

IN THE BEGINNING

1    In the beginning transport was without form or organization, and the spirit of chaos wallowed in the muddy roads and ditches.

2    So the Lord said: “Let there be rails, aligned according to my Will & to each other; and let there be flanged wheels.” And behold, two parallel rails 4′ 8½” apart stretched out across the land, able to bear and guide the flanged wheels. And the Lord saw that it was in gauge, aligned to His will, and that it was indeed  good.

3    And when the flanges abided by the will of the Lord, they did enable the wheel to remain on the track and roll freely; but when they did not obey the rails of the Lord, they did derail to their own destruction, and rolled not.

4    Then the Lord said: “Let there be rolling stock to run upon the rails, after the fashioning of my imagination.” And so the Lord created trucks and coaches, and he looked upon them and saw that they were good.

5    But the Lord was moved with pity and said: “It is not good that Man or beast should pull so great a burden.”

6    So the Lord created a contraption to pull the rolling stock, and said: “From the worthless, dirty dust of the earth and the clear, living waters of my creation shall be the means of pulling the load.

7    I shall breathe my fire over the worthless, dirty dust of the earth and it shall burn with great heat. For the impulse of my breath shall give life and the fire shall burn.”

8    And the Lord breathed the breath of life into the worthless, dirty dust of the earth, and indeed it did become fire.

9    The fire did impart its heat unto the living, clear water of the Lord’s creation, and, verily, it did become so hot that it remained not water, but became steam.

10    And the Lord beheld how His breath had transformed the worthless, dirty dust of the earth and the water into an enormously powerful energy, the equal of which had not been seen before by the eye of Man, or Person (?). And the Lord was greatly pleased.

11    The Lord said: “What profit is it to have the power that comes from my breathing fire into the worthless, dirty dust of the earth unless it does what my will is for it to do?”

12    The Lord said: “Behold what power has come from the transformation of the worthless, dirty dust of the earth together with the living, clear water of my creation. Behold,” said the Lord (again), “how the steam expands beyond the limits of its water, and behold the power of its expansion. On such power I will establish the steam engine.” So the Lord did add cylinders and pistons, and saw that it was all very good.

13    And the Lord again said: “What profit is it to have the power that comes from my breathing fire into the worthless, dirty dust of the earth and from the expansion of the steam beyond the boundaries of its water and for the steam to act upon the pistons, unless it does what my will is for it to do?”  So the Lord connected the pistons to the wheels, that the power might be transferred from one to another so that his will might be done and the wheels should be turned by the steam.

14    And the Lord saw that it was good, more or less. For he said: “Surely it is not good for one pair of driving wheels to bear the burden on its own, lest it should slip and fail. Therefore shall I add another pair of driving wheels, and couple them that they may work together and draw strength from each other.”

15    And thus the Lord created the coupling rod, and remarked: “How good it is to see the wheels turn together in unity! Power without performance is vanity of vanities, and a wasting of my steam. My steam shall not go forth emptily, but shall accomplish that which my will desires.”

16    The Lord said: “I shall appoint to each engine a driver, that he shall control the engine and have dominion over the my creation.

17    And the Lord’s will accomplished a great deal; for pretty soon there were lots and lots of rails, wagons, coaches, trains and steam engines and drivers, and a spirit of chaos seemed likely to brood over the railways.

18    So the Lord said: “I shall provide signals. And if it be that my signals shall be obeyed, yea verily shall I bring the trains safely to the place unto which they go. But if they shall not heed my warnings and obey the voice of my signals, then they shall be abandoned unto the consequences of their own wickedness.”

19    So the Lord created a special band of ministers which he called signalmen, for he said: “These men shall signal the voice of my will to those who have dominion over the power that I by myself have created.”

20    And the Lord did so. And he looked upon his creation and saw that it was very good; well more or less.

21    For the Lord said: “Men are so willful, proud and stubborn that there is no guarantee that they shall instinctively obey my signals.”

22    Therefore the Lord said: “I by myself have seen that Man (and perhaps Woman (?)) is unreliable when he has dominion, and that his ear may be deaf unto the voice of my commands. Therefore shall I write down my commands on tablets, and each driver shall have one.

23    And I shall establish a Covenant of Safe Operating Practice between myself and those who have dominion over the rails. It shall be for their own safety and for that of their neighbours.”

24    And behold there spoke up one who had within him the spirit of dim-witted arrogance who said thus to the Lord: “How shall we know if your ways be just, or whether they be the usual practices and deceits whereby management doth exploit the workers? And will the unions accept it?”

25    And the Lord said: “I shall invite you to enter into this Covenant with me and shall force you not.

26     “Let it be to you as you shall wish. But if you shall not accept my Covenant of Safe Operating Practice, you shall have no place within my system. But go thou away and think it over. If thou comest back and acceptest my Covenant,  then shalt thou have a place within my system. If thou comest not back, then shall I deem it to be voluntary severance and a loss of all benefits. “

27    Then the Lord said: “Hear me, O workers on my system. If ye hear the voice of my will and do it, then shall ye have safe passage over my rails, and ye shall live. But if ye hearken not to the voice of my will, then may derailment, collision, and injury overtake you; and — what with the current Minister of Health — ye shall surely die.”

28    And the Lord said: “The consequences of not abiding by my Covenant of Safe Operating Practice are like unto this: suppose a signalman should know of danger and set no signal to danger: then, if disaster come to pass, shall the blood of the people on the train be upon his head, and he shall face dismissal, for he hath broken my Covenant of Safe Operating Practice.

29    “But if the signalman should know of danger, and shall set signal to danger: then, if the driver shall not heed the signal — which is the voice of my Will — and disaster come to pass, then shall the blood of the people on the train be not upon the head of the signalman, but upon the head of the driver, if it come to pass that there shall be shrieking of whistles and grinding of brakes and crashing of trains.

30    “And at the Great Tribunal to such a one I shall say: cast him out, for such a one hath no part within my system: there shall be dismissal, no leave pay-out and no pension.

31    “But for those who faithfully abide by my Covenant of Safe Operating Practice there will be employment, safety, and a pension fund that shall not run out. For I, the Lord, have spoken.”

32    Thus was established by the Lord, the Creator and Ruler,  the railway and the community which should serve therein and do the will of Him who had established it.

33    And the Lord did show that his breath could sanctify the worthless, dirty dust of the earth to do great things with the living, clear water of his creation; and that in it there was great power.

34    And the Lord loved his creation, his system and the community which should serve it, and saw that they were more than good and more than beautiful: they were absolutely to-die-for.
Genesis 1:1-5:  In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water.  Then God commanded, “Let there be light”—and light appeared. God was pleased with what he saw. Then he separated the light from the darkness,  and he named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Evening passed and morning came—that was the first day.

Ezekiel 33:1-7:  The LORD spoke to me.  “Mortal man,” he said, “tell your people what happens when I bring war to a land. The people of that country choose one of their number to be a lookout.  When he sees the enemy approaching, he sounds the alarm to warn everyone.  If someone hears it but pays no attention and the enemy comes and kills him, then he is to blame for his own death.  His death is his own fault, because he paid no attention to the warning. If he had paid attention, he could have escaped.  If, however, the lookout sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, the enemy will come and kill those sinners, but I will hold the lookout responsible for their death. Now, mortal man, I am making you a lookout for the nation of Israel. You must pass on to them the warnings I give you.

Isa 55:3:  “Listen now, my people, and come to me; come to me, and you will have life! I will make a lasting covenant with you and give you the blessings I promised to David.

Isa 55:10 – 11:  “My word is like the snow and the rain that come down from the sky to water the earth. They make the crops grow and provide seed for planting and food to eat.  So also will be the word that I speak— it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do.

Act 10:15  The voice spoke to him [Peter] again, “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.”

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PARABLE 3

Andrew: Hey Willem, what are you up to now? Another day in Paradise?

Willem: I’m grinding the rust out of my car, my china. And no sermons today, d’you hear? I’m just not in the mood to listen to twak, O.K.

Andrew:    Easy, man. Why don’t you just paint over the rust? Won’t that fix it?

Willem: Man, that will just cover it up, so you won’t see it; but it will carry on rusting underneath. Rust is porous, ou. An’ eventually it will come through again till the whole thing rusts to hell. Only way is to grind off as much as you can, like, and then coat it and fill with fibre-glass, or weld in a new plate, man.

Andrew:    No fine. You just  weld in your new plate. But I’ll tell you something interesting if you like — about what you’re doing.

Willem: What I’m doing, hey? What’s that? What do you know about panel-beating, my china?

Andrew: O.K. Check: Now rust spoils things, O.K.?

Willem: No, fine, carry on, O learnéd one.

Andrew: If one has something that has been corrupted — like corroded, rusted — you can’t just leave it; can’t just paint over it, like conceal it from public view, right?

Willem: Right.

Andrew: So you have to deal with the problem where it’s often not seen, on the inside, right?

Willem: O.K.

Andrew: So you have to grind out what is wrong, like you pluck it out. And then you can’t just leave it, because it will rust again, right?

Willem: You twig fast, man. You could become a panel-beater too, man, and then you could mos help me with something useful instead of all your usual twak.

Andrew: Maybe. Let’s see: so you grind or cut out the rust. Then you coat it — like wash it — with your chemical rust-binder  — because even when a man — I mean a car —’s been cleaned of all that corruption — I mean corrosion — it needs something to strengthen it against further attack. So you put in something to cover it, so it won’t rust again.

Willem: You sharp, my bru. Just pass me the wire brush. When I’m finished, this car will look just if I’d got it new. So now we — my Ford and me — we will mos turn our back on the rust and leave it in the dust.

Andrew:    Hey, I’ve got to go; but I’m glad you understand the basics —

Willem: What “basics”? When it comes to panel-beating, I’m professional, ek sê.

Andrew: The basics of Paradise, sin, spiritual corruption, repentance and the need to be covered by grace so that you don’t rust again!

Willem: Hey, I said I didn’t want no sermon, my bru. Why don’t you learn to do something useful like learn to weld?