There is an old and arresting sailor’s proverb,


“Who will not be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rock.” 


It is very plain that a rudder used in conjunction with an intimate knowledge of the chart with rocks and shoals clearly marked upon it is a deeply important matter.  Life or death depends upon it.


The writer well remembers being on a small steamer traveling between Colon, Central America, and Jamaica.  Unbeknown to the passengers the two officers on the bridge had got intoxicated, and were found by the Captain in the dead of night drunk and sound asleep, no hand on the rudder, and the steamer taking its course in any direction wind and currents took it.  This news leaked out on our arrival at the port of Kingston, Jamaica, to the horror and dismay of the passengers.  We realized what peril we had been in.


But the old seaman’s proverb is capable of a very wide application.  The true rudder of life is surely the fear of the Lord.  Solomon, the wisest man in all time speaks of the fear of the Lord nine times in the Book of the Proverbs., “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10)


Look at the man without religion.  He goes to no place of worship.  He has completely thrown off the fear of the Lord.  He refuses the rudder. He is not controlled by a higher power.  His bark is bound to move sooner or later over tempestuous seas, filled with jagged hidden rocks, and as sure as these lines are written, he is heading for a terrible smash.


How many men and women there are, decent, truce-keeping, moral, virtuous, kind, but who have no hand on the rudder of their lives.  Although they would shrink from and condemn the careless life of the man who has no religion, yet their lives are uncontrolled by a higher power.  They are not marked by the fear of the Lord.  Beware, if you are one of such, the hidden rocks lie on your path of self – will, self – determination, self – expression, the favorite word on the lips of the twentieth century, and its condemnation.


As surely as our earth must abide in its true orbit in its relation to the sun, without which disaster and destruction would inevitably ensue, so surely will men and women perish in their sins, however much as between man and man they may be admirable.  In the sight of God things assume their true proportion.


The Bible is the only book that explains what sin is, and what death is, “the wages of sin is death”  The Word of God warns you as to the rocks.  It tells you plainly about sin, and its results, and it tells you of hell and its horrors.  If the Divine hand is on the rudder of your life it will guide you to the Savior.  Do you wish to escape the rocks of eternal judgment?  There is only one way.  Our Lord said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father by Me”       (John 14:6)


Not by admiring good will you gain salvation, but by receiving the Savior into your life, trusting Him for salvation, realizing that His death on the cross is at once the expression of God’s love and the upholding of His divine righteousness, the only means by which salvation can come to you.


Let the old seaman’s proverb, “Who will not be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rock,” sink into your mind.  If you do not, its meaning must surely be learned by you through bitter experience.


We warn you.  Let God put His hand of infinite love on the rudder of your life, and lead you to the Savior, who says, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37)  Will you not come, and that just now?