How many of you still have maps in your cars? Remember those? When I was growing up, my parents had numerous maps shoved in the glove box or door pockets of our cars. Most of our travel was in Pennsylvania, so our PA map was well-worn. But we also had maps of Maryland and New Jersey because we had relatives there. There were also a few other maps from vacations we took. If you watch an older film or TV show that includes travel, you can see the classic map scene. Lost travelers pull their car off to the side of the road. They get out and gather around the hood of their car. As they unfold the map, it just keeps unfolding and covers almost the entire hood. Or perhaps they stay in the car and open the map sitting in the front seat, as the map blocks the windshield. Do remember those huge maps? Do you remember trying to fold them back up, and how impossible it was to get the fold right?
Or how about those county map books? Every convenience store had racks of those books, including surrounding counties. Those books of maps were great, because they detailed the roads down to the street level. You’d be flipping back and forth between the pages plotting your travels. Often the road you’re following, as you drove along, would go off the end of the page of the map, and it would be very confusing as to what page it continued on. Remember that?
Fast forward to 2022. How many of you still use maps? I can’t remember the last time I had a map in my car. We still have one of those Lancaster County map books in the church office, but it is so out of date, it doesn’t have the new highway interchange. I say “new interchange,” but that roadwork was complete over 20 years ago. For years now we have access to the Global Positioning System in our cars or through our smartphones. GPS not only has the latest data on new road construction, but can give us up-to-the-minute traffic flow information. If there’s an accident, your GPS will sometimes reroute you, and you might not know it. Have you had that experience of thinking, “Huh? This is a strange route…” as the GPS takes you on some back roads you wouldn’t normally use? In 2022 physical paper maps have become a relic of the recent past.
Our study through the book of Ezekiel concludes this coming Sunday with an ancient map. Still in the vision where God gave Ezekiel blueprints for a new temple, now God gives Ezekiel a new map of the nation of Israel. As with the blueprints of the temple, God has a deeper purpose for his map. He wants to show Ezekiel his heart. God wants his people to know what he really cares about, so that they can live according to his heart, which is to say, a life that is in their best interest and which is best for all humanity. You could say that God shows Ezekiel a map to God’s heart. Now that sounds important. As God’s children, it is vital that we know the map to his heart! Read Ezekiel chapters 45-48, and see if you can find not only the map of Israel, but much more importantly, the map to God’s heart. Then join us on the blog next week, as we’ll talk about it further.