Vacation time is here again!

And in these hectic days of hustle and bustle, of hurrying and worrying, of nervous tension and ner­vous “breakdowns” the question becomes not whether we may take a vacation but rather whether for health’s sake we ought not take a vacation to enjoy a little relief from the strain of today’s mad rush.

Vacationing can be sinful. Often it is. With the ungodly it is always sinful, for an ungodly man can only do ungodly deeds whether at work or at play. And the child of God’s vacationing can also be sinful, for he still has the motions of sin in his flesh, and often vacation time for him becomes a greater oppor­tunity for him to satisfy the craving of his flesh for the things of the world.

But it need not be that way. And the increased zeal, the freshness for work which a proper vacation works speaks itself for the possibility of a vacation being in the fear of God’s name and being right to take. And the apostle says to Timothy, “Every crea­ture of God is good and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.” If we forget God and His laws for a week or two, if our idea of a vacation is to get away from all those who would restrain us from evil ways, to get away from all church life and serve our flesh, then vacationing is of the devil. And such do not and cannot receive it from God with thanksgiving. The lake, the beach, the mountains, the car or train you travel with are not evil in them­selves. We may receive them from God with thanks­giving. But what we and what the world makes of them is something else. And John warns us not to love the world nor the things that are in the world, for they all shall perish. The child of God may spend a quiet time at the lake, may exercise himself in the water, may view the majesty of God in the moun­tains and glorious scenery He has made and receive it with thanksgiving. He may close his eyes at night and say, “0 Lord, how great Thou art! I thank Thee that Thou didst give me to be reminded of Thy power, Thy wisdom and Thy majesty in the works of Thy hands which Thou hast caused me to see.” Then he has lived near His God in his vacationing. He has been vacationing in His fear.

There are, no doubt, as many variations in vaca­tioning as there are individuals who take vacations. Each has his own idea of how he would relax and cut himself loose from the strain of his daily work. For the one who works by the sweat of his brow and comes home physically exhausted each night it looks good to wile the time away in quiet reflection and thought at some remote place in the woods or at the lake. For the man who works with his mind, who is daily in the midst of a rushing, maddening business world, constantly on edge and alert to every business opportunity that might come his way, such a “let­down” would do him more harm than good. He finds joy in strenuous physical activity. He would indulge in an early morning swim, would hike up the steep­ly ascending mountain trail. He would, perhaps, don his waders and plod some cool, swift flowing stream to match his wits with the delicious yet danger-wise trout who lies in the deep pool behind yonder log. For one it is a time to catch up on the gardening and things about the home for which there just was no time be­fore. Still another would travel far and wide and experience what Solomon says that “the eye is never tired of seeing”. He finds joy in seeing the beauty spots of his or of another country.

But in all these there are temptations. All these the child of God may receive with thanksgiving. But all these he may also turn into opportunities to satis­fy the lusts of his flesh. He may forget the God Who gives him these. He may forget that God demands that we serve Him also with and in these. And his vacationing is not in His fear. There are things you want to leave behind when you go on vacation. To take some things along would mean that you have no vacation. But do not leave God behind! Do not seek a vacation from living in His fear! The danger is very real, for we live in a world that is pleasure mad, that is a lover of pleasure more or rather than God. We live in a world which has pressed the creation of God into the service of sin in so many ways, in so many subtle, clever ways, that this danger is very real. The devil who came very cleverly in the begin­ning to Adam and Eve has not forgotten how success­ful he was. He has learned much since that time and has imparted the instruction of the lie to his followers. Not for naught does the apostle John warn us not to love the world and the things in the world.

He who travels on his vacation soon comes in con­tact with the unbelief of the world even expressed in inanimate things. Atheism you can hardly call it. There is not true atheism. All men know that there is a god even though they will not confess Jehovah as The God, the Only God. This becomes manifest and reflects itself in the names they give to the things Jehovah has made. Many of our readers have either seen or surely heard of “The Garden of the Gods” in Colorado. Wyoming and Utah supply us with many titles which indicate that though the ungodly do not receive the truth of the Scriptures in true faith, yet they are aware of its contents and of the reality of that of which it speaks. Utah supplies us with such names as “Devil’s Gate”, “Hell’s Backbone” and “Dev­il’s Slide” (which, by the way, as a scenic attraction is very disappointing to one who has imagined it to be as colorful as it is pictured to be). Wyoming comes up with such startling names as “Hell’s Half Acre”, “Devil’s Kitchen” and Devil’s Tower”. Washington, along the beautiful Columbia River Valley and across from the Oregon side of the valley labels one section of these bluffs “Horse Heaven Hills”. All these to one degree or another are borrowed from the Scrip­tures, and the Scriptures are thereby made sport of by those who love not its testimony. We could add to the list, but it is sufficient to indicate what the un­godly do with God’s creation. Do they, perhaps, feel or sense somewhat of the curse of God upon this earth in these weird, grotesque and unusual clay and rock formations to which they give these awful titles? The child of God can marvel at these things, and in his sanctified thoughts he always returns to the Scriptur­al account of the Flood; and that which he knew from childhood onward and which he has always believed to have happened becomes even more of a reality to him. He receives that scenery with thanksgiving. He re­ceives in the fear of God and in his soul he says, “How true are the Scriptures! This is not the paradise God created. It is the world that suffers His wrath! How well to point these things out to your children who travel with you and who are old enough to be puzzled at these names. How easy, on the other hand, to take them in a “matter of fact” way and even to be un­touched by the sacrilege contained in these things.

The beach, the lake and resort have their own pro­blems and are becoming more and more nudist colon­ies. Strange as it may be, it is true that what some would blush to have happen to them in any other place, they consider the beach to give them license to do; and they can do it without a trace of shame or blushing. The Fear of the Lord never gives license to immorality. Shall we also read what the Heidelberg Catechism says about this? And we will underscore especially the part we have in mind. In answer to the question, “Doth God forbid in this commandment only adultery, and such like gross sins?” the catechism says, “Since both our body and soul are temples of the Holy Ghost, He commands us to preserve them pure and holy: therefore he forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words, thoughts, desires and whatever can entice men thereto. ” This we can take in connection with Jesus’ words in Matt. 5:28, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Young women, you are not enticing men to this adultery in the heart! are you? That is not recreation nor vacationing in His fear! Take God with you on your vacation and receive all things from Him with thanksgiving! And while we are on this subject, has the Unchangeable One changed His mind in re­gard to that which we told Israel in Deut. 22:5? “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Remember that these are God’s words. Have you the courage to receive them as such and to heed them? If you continue in that which is an abomina­tion to the Lord, you will not have to answer to this department. And you do not need to argue the point with the editor of this department. If you feel that you can do these things “In His Fear”, if you can do all you can to erase the distinction He has made be­tween man and woman, you will have to convince Him that you are right and that He is wrong.

In His Fear, not the slavish fear of the servant, but the childlike reverence of His adopted children, you will want to do your vacationing so that you please Him in it, so that you seek relief and relaxation for the body and soul, so that you may serve Him both in that vacationing and afterward.

Has your vacationing been thus? Is your vacation yet ahead of you? Seek it in His Fear!

—J.A. Heys