Week of Monday, April 3 ­– Sunday, April 9
Escape – Man as Chaplain

“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” - Ezekiel 18:30-32 NIV
The year was 2003. A 27-year-old man was hopelessly trapped in Bluejohn Canyon near Moab, Utah. Aron Ralston had chosen to climb alone and hadn’t told anyone where he was going. Days passed, and people wondered where he was and whether they would see him again. While Ralston was climbing, a boulder rolled down on his arm, pinning him. Five days and nights passed, his hand and forearm were crushed, he was dehydrated, and he became desperate. The morning of the sixth day, Ralston made a radical decision. He broke his forearm, amputated it with his dull multi-tool knife, made his way through the canyon, amazingly rappelled down a 65-foot drop, hiked another seven miles out, then somehow drove his stick shift truck out of the canyon to safety! The movie 
127 Hours was made about Ralston’s ordeal. What otherwise would have been a great tragedy turned into a miraculously victorious outcome!
Israel was helplessly and hopelessly trapped by their sin and disobedience. God’s judgment on his wayward people was imminent. Yet, in their darkest hours, we catch a glimpse of the tender heart of God breaking through with a ray of hope as we hear His words, “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” God provided a way of escape. Where it appeared that death would have the last word on Israel, God sent the promise of life!
Men, we are not immune to falling into the same traps that ensnared Israel because we are afflicted with the same condition: the depravity of sin and the certain death that comes with it. Remember Paul’s words in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.” But thank God that verse doesn’t end there. Paul continues: “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now, if you think that getting out from under a boulder by cutting off your own arm is a big deal, and it is, have I got an even greater escape story for you. What about getting out of a grave after you die? That’s what happened that first Easter. When mankind was hopelessly trapped by sin, God sent His beloved Son to die for our sins and rise from the dead to give us life!
May we embrace God’s instruction during this Easter week to repent and live, passing on our unwavering devotion to the risen Savior to those we are called to influence. By faithfully doing so, you and I can help our children, grandchildren, and friends from becoming hopelessly trapped by sin. Show them the way of escape. Point them to Jesus, who escaped the grave and defeated death so that we could escape the consequences of sin and enjoy life!
- Has sin trapped you and left you helpless? What sinful behavior or attitude do you need to “amputate” and remove from your life by way of repentance? Have you turned to Jesus to provide a way of escape?
- Have you consistently shared the gospel with your children and grandchildren as the chaplain in your family? Have you taken the time to explain the reality and consequences of our sin and how Jesus is the only hope of escape? 
- Ask God to help you communicate the Good News about Jesus faithfully and winsomely with your family and friends.