Being “out on a limb” usually denotes some precarious condition that might cause
us to fail. An old nursery rhyme includes the lines “When the bough breaks, the
cradle will fall; down will come baby, cradle and all.” We association being out on a
limb with taking a big chance with the possibility of falling “when the bough breaks.”

It would be hard to find a very successful person who has not been out on a limb at
 some time and taken chances. Only those born with the proverbial silver spoons in
their mouths can begin at the top. Others have to climb to reach the top of
the success ladder.

We like living in a safety zone rather than having to explore the unknown. Christians
can become so comfortable with the current blessings that they will not pursue any
deeper depths or higher heights in the spiritual realm. How many people have been
 called by God to come up higher, go deeper, reach out farther but were too
intimidated by doubts of their ability or acceptance of the crowd to move out?

How different history would be if the Esthers, Davids and others in the Bible had
decided to stay in comfortable safe places of ease instead of leaving the comfort
zone and going out on a limb. God does indeed bring us comfort when we need it;
 but He does not give us comfort to just make us comfortable. He gives us comfort
 to be comforters.

Esther won the beauty contest and the heart of King Ahasuerus to become the queen. That was a great honor and a safe place. An orphan Jewish girl now was in the king’s court living a life of luxury. All would have been well, except for the jealousy and hatred of Haman. Esther’s uncle/guardian, Morcecai, refused to bow down to Haman  who was a high-ranking official in the king’s court with an exaggerated opinion
 of himself. In his plan to kill Mordecai, Haman brought false reports to the king
about the Jews living in the king’s realm. He convinced the king that the Jews were a threat to him and should be totally annihilated with a bounty on their heads. A decree went out to kill all the Jews in King Ahasuerus’s kingdom, thus eliminating the threat to his throne and accomplishing Haman’s intense desire to kill Mordecai. Esther could have been quiet and tried to play it safe and hope that it would not become known that she was Jew also; instead she went out on a limb. She asked Uncle Mordecai to call
for a three day fast among the Jews for her and devised a plan to expose
Haman’s evil intentions.

God’s timing is always perfect. One night when the king couldn’t sleep he ran
 across a record of Mordecai’s efforts to save the king’s life when he discovered
a plot to assassinate him. The king wanted to honor and reward this man, but
Haman misunderstood and thought the honor would be for him. So strutting around
he preened himself and went ahead with his plans to hang Mordecai for
 whom he had so much jealousy and hatred.

Esther exposed Haman’s evil plot to kill all the Jews, including her; and Haman
ended up hanging on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai; while
 Mordecai was greatly honored by the king.

It appeared to be a brittle limb that Esther climbed out on. If the king had not
believed her findings about Haman’s plans, she would have been the one
 eliminated. Mordecai voiced what has been recited many times over: Esther,
“…who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”
 (Esther 4:14). Esther was not afraid to climb out on a limb to save her people.

Suppose Noah had not believed the preposterous report that God brought him.
The world was going to be destroyed by a flood. A flood? but it never rained. How
can there be a flood when it doesn’t rain? He chose to believe what God told him even though it was unbelievable to his mind and began the one-hundred-twenty-year task
 of building the ark. He went out on a limb. His neighbors ridiculed him and ignored
 him as he preached while he built. God had seen the wickedness of man on the earth, “that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
(Genesis 6:5). Judgment was coming and they had 120 years to repent and get
ready to be saved in the ark that Noah was preparing according to God’s blueprint.
 But they refused his message and continued on their wicked ways right up to
 the time that the rain started.

There were no unbelievers when the rains began to pour down upon them and waters came up from the deep! Imagine the pleadings and cries as the water climbed up
toward the ark where Noah, his family and the animals (that God had caused to come
to Noah to board the ark) were safe from the flood. Alas! it was too late! No amount
of pounding on the door could open it. God had shut the door and no one could
open it. The limb Noah climbed out on was holding securely.

God has messengers all over the world proclaiming that judgment is coming. Some are scoffed at or just ignored. The time will come when all of these evangelistic cries will
 echo to haunt those who have refused the safe shelter offered them—Jesus Christ. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11). Those who have made Jesus Lord in this life will bow in worship and adoration. Those who have rejected Him in this life will bow and make that confession to proclaim their guilt and doom.

David, a mere shepherd lad, climbed out on a limb to meet the giant who had
challenged the cowering Israelites. He was still on that limb when he chose small
 stones to come against the gigantic sword of Goliath. That small stone in the hands
 of a faith giant was no match for the Philistine giant. David met Goliath with a praise
 to God, “…Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but
 I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel,
whom thou hast defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45). With great confidence he read the doom
of the giant troubling the armies of Israel, “This day will the Lord deliver thee
 into mine hand…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel..this
assembly shall  know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear; for
 the battle is the Lord’s…”
(1 Samuel 17:45-47).

David’s brothers had rebuked him for his “pride and naughtiness of heart” in thinking that he could kill the giant. They would have sent him back home and continued to
stand on the hill quivering in their sandals while Goliath barked his insults to Israel.
 None of those things moved David from his determination to rid his people of the scourge of the Philistines nor caused his faith to quake. He climbed right out on that
limb and killed the troublesome giant; felling him with a God-anointed stone and beheaded Goliath with his own giant sword that had been such threat to Israel and
was intended to kill him.

One day Jesus was teaching a huge crowd in a home. Every inch of space was filled
 to overflowing. The doors were blocked and there was no place for another person
to fit in. But that did not deter the four friends of the man with palsy (paralysis) whom they had brought to be healed by Jesus. They could have gone home and said, “Well,
we tried; but that ‘door was closed’ so it must not be God’s will to heal our friend.”
No, they didn’t give up, they climbed out on a limb—literally climbed on the roof.
They tore up the roof paying no attention to the debris falling into the house or even
 the damage they were doing to the roof. (I would venture to say they came back
and repaired it later.) They were totally focused on obtaining their friend’s healing,
 and they knew that Jesus would receive them. They surely must have been following Jesus and listening to Him and observing the miracles that He had performed to
have so much faith.

After tearing up a section of the roof, they lowered their friend down to Jesus. The
 limb held them as they prepared the way, and the limb held the lame man until he
 could get to Jesus. There was no reprimand from Jesus; He honored their faith and
said to the lame man, “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” (Mark 2:11). That is exactly what the previously lame man did—he arose, took
 up the bed and went forth to the utter astonishment of the crowd.

The friends didn’t give up when the way seemed blocked. They just found a limb and climbed out on it and got what they went for. They didn’t worry about the disruption
they might cause by their method; they were there to get the job done—even if
 it meant climbing out on a limb.

We want things to be easy, nice wide steps to climb, all obstacles removed, many
signs to show us the way, a clearly marked map and not much traffic to slow us down; nothing to break us into a sweat. Proverbs 14:4 tells us that we can have a clean crib
 if we want it. But what does a clean crib denote? The only way we can have a clean
crib is to have no oxen in it. Do we want oxen in the crib or do we want a clean crib?
 Can we dig our fingernails into the soil of God’s will and make His agenda ours?
Then we have to be willing to go out on a limb.

Have you noticed where the fruit is growing? --Out on a limb! Do we want to be where there’s fruit or just hang around the bottom of the tree trunk and pick up the wormy, diseased fruit that falls to the ground? Jesus said we are the branches – limbs – where
 the fruit grows. Why does a tree or vine have fruit? What is its purpose? If you look inside the fruit, you will find the answer. There is seed inside the mature, ripened fruit that is useful for producing another plant, which in turn will bear fruit with seeds to perpetuate the fruiting process.

Lord, show us which tree You want us to climb so we can get out on that limb and enjoy the fruit of serving You in what ever capacity You’ve planned for us. We know that
You’ll never send us out a limb that You have not secured. It’s the safest place to
 be – out on the limb for You!

Delores Adams
Copyrighted. All rights reserved.

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