Saturday, May 14, 2011

Standing at the Crossroads

Please ponder this text from Jeremiah 6:16: 

This is what the LORD says:
   'Stand at the crossroads and look;  
   ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, 
   and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls'.

There are a few key words and phrases in this verse: 1) Standing at the crossroads,  2) Look,  3) the good Way, 4) Ask,  5) Walk in the good way, and the blessings of heeding the command: you will find rest for your souls.

Amazing what God does with such a short verse - He has loaded it with all the wisdom and truth we need, as He always does. 

STAND at the CROSSROAD:  Isn't every moment of life about standing on a crossroad.  We are always at a crossroad - every moment and second of our life.  Whether through our thoughts or actions, or both.  We are always deciding and choosing what to do at the crossroad, how to behave, how to react...  We always take one of the forks on the crossroad - we can't take both since they go in different directions (left or right, back or forward, good or bad, sin or righteousness, giving in to our sinful desires and pleasure or being self-controlled, to be generous or self-indulging, to carry our cross or decline it, to save our life or lose it for Him so we can find it ...)

LOOK:  Where should we look to find the help we need to decide which path to take at the crossroad?  How do we know what the "good way" is?  We are being asked to seek, find and follow the truth "with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength" (Luke 10:27), not merely look with our eyes.  Where should we look? - to God's Word, the only place where the answer can be found.  At every crossroad, evaluate choices and decisions based on God's Word, and God's Word alone. 

Here is what God says about Scripture:
The Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
At every crossroad, God is telling us to listen to His voice, to make a choice that honors God and demonstrates our Love for Him. We hold fast to Him if we make choices according to His Will, there is no fast holding of God in disobedience. On the crossroad, we should look to God's Word for help, and ask to be taught what the good way is and walk accordingly.

The WAYThe good way is actually a person.  "Who is the Way?", you might ask?  The Way is none other than the LORD Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God:
 I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6)
He is the only One who gives eternal life, there is no one else.  He is the only one who can help us be reconciled with God. That is what salvation is - reconciliation with God, and only Jesus Christ can provide salvation and life:
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
The life that God's Word talks about can only be had through His Son Jesus Christ:
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  (1 John 5:11-12)
ASK:  The biggest crossroad decision confronting us has therefore to do with our relationship with God - whether we choose Him and Life or not.  Moses asked Israel and urged them to choose God and life instead of death: 

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life. (Deut 30:19-20)  

Each person should respond to the above call and give a definite and decisive answer.  Praise be to God, for those who follow Christ, he made us turn the right way - towards Him - by believing in His Son Jesus Christ so that we can have LIFE, and have it abundantly ("I have come that they may have life" - John 10:10).  Moses put these choices before Israel and now before us: 
  1. choose God, the LORD is your life
  2. Love the LORD your God
  3. Listen to His Voice
  4. Hold Fast to Him.
Why? FOR THE LORD IS YOUR LIFE - whoever has the Son has life! Joshua, after Moses, also put a similar choice before the people of Israel and asked them to make a choice:
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)
The big crossroad question must be answered by every person: each must choose whom to serve and follow.  For those of us who say we have chosen life, "serve" is the keyword that goes with it.  Is it evident we have chosen LIFE, at least most of the time or even some of the time? If we have really been on the receiving end of God's grace, Paul tells us that God's grace teaches us to: 
say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:12).  

WALK: At every crossroad, God's grace helps us choose the Godly way - He helps us walk on "the good way":  to choose to love God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him.  Remember that silent voice in Isaiah?  
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (ISA 30:21)

Isaiah uses the same key words Jeremiah uses in our text above: 
    "ask where the good way is and walk in it".  

You see, if we ask, we are not left helpless - He is there to guide us on the proper path.  Of course, it is not always a silent voice we hear - a silent voice requires careful attention and waiting to listen expectantly (far be it from us to do that!).  More often than not, He talks to us very loudly and plainly - the problem is not that He is not talking to us enough, the problem is that we are not listening most of the time.  What is this "ancient path", if not the Scriptures - the Bible that is always waiting on the corner table for out attention while we give full ear to other worldly voices and sounds (like the TV).   "The good way" also reminds us of Ephesians 2:10: 
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Paul says the same thing in Titus 2:14, about why God saved us: 
he gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
"Be eager to do what is good", "purify yourself" ... that is the answer we get when we ask for the "ancient paths, and ask where the good way is" from the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7).

To summarize the path we have to take at the crossroads, I repeat what Paul in the same section of Titus mentioned above tells us: 
to say NO to ungodliness or sin, NO to worldly passions, say YES to a godly and upright lives.
Waiting for The Blessed Hope: When, how often, shall we do such things?  In this present age WHILE WE WAIT FOR THE BLESSED HOPE — 
the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:12-13).  
 The Apostle John says the same thing in 1 John 3:1-3: 
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

A Christian's life is nothing but the BLESSED HOPE - all who have this hope purify themselves, just as He is pure.  Some decisions at some crossroads are hard, but purity and love and honor for God should be our purpose in life for we are bought with a price and redeemed from the slavery of sin. Our Redeemer is our Blessed Hope, the sure rest for our souls.

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