By Lt. Colonel Mervyn Morelock –
“I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below.” Acts 2:19
I saw it just as I came up a little rise on a country highway in southern Washington. At first, it looked like a typical state road sign. Square, white, with black letters. It said “Please, don’t drink and drive.” Something caused me to take another look. State signs usually don’t say, “Please.” And then I saw it. Below the sign was a name and a small cross.
As I drove on, I wondered about the sadness and agony of the family that lost its loved one on that stretch of road. Lives forever changed. The loss of a daddy, a husband, a son, the family breadwinner, a co-worker, a member of the little country church.
And then I thought of the guilt of the drunk driver. A story experienced thousands of times across our land, where so many are killed by drunk drivers.
So the sign was erected as a memorial and a plea, “Please don’t drink and drive.”
Please. I wondered how many others have mused about the sign and all it conveyed in a few simple words.
Most of the time, we go tearing down the road, not noticing the signs along the way. That’s our excuse when we are pulled over by the police. “I didn’t see the sign, officer!” Or worse, when we come to a dead end in the road, long after our spouse has said, “I think we need to turn here, dear.”
Recently, my wife and I were in a restaurant and noticed the menu displayed some old Burma Shave signs. During the 1930s and ’40s the company used road signs to sell their product. All across the country, spaced about 20 yards apart, were five signs. The fifth always said, “Burma Shave.”
Some of the classics said: “Whiskers long/Made Samson strong/But Samson’s gal/She done him wrong/Burma Shave” or “Here lies the remains/Of Elmer Thistle/He heard the train/But not the whistle.”
The Children of Israel didn’t have any Burma Shave signs, but they surely had plenty of signs from God. From the parting of the Red Sea, being led in the wilderness by a pillar of fire at night and a cloud by day, to manna from heaven every day. They had so many signs given to them to prove God’s care! But they hardened their hearts toward God, and they never entered the Promised Land.
“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:12-13
The most powerful sign of God’s love is the Cross. People may ignore all the other signs: the flood, the parting of the Red Sea, the burning bush, the pillar of fire, the miracles–but God catches our attention with the one sign that no one can ignore, the cross.
Of all the signs, none speak so eloquently. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Peter’s sermon in Acts reminds us, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know … and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead … because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” Acts 2:22-24 (selected)
When my wife and I visited the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, we saw a sign placed under a little stone pulpit, just a little way from the open tomb. It said simply, “He is risen!”
Hallelujah! That’s the greatest sign of all, the Good News, he’s alive!