At the crossroads ∙
Ask where the old, reliable paths are. Ask where the path is that leads to blessing and follow it. If you do, you will find rest for your souls. – Jeremiah 6:16
16 This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’”
17 “I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’ But you replied, ‘No! We won’t pay attention!’”
18 “Therefore, listen to this, all you nations. Take note of my people’s situation.”
19 “Listen, all the earth! I will bring disaster on my people. It is the fruit of their own schemes, because they refuse to listen to me. They have rejected my word.”
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” (Edmund Burke).
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).
The Father God is patient and long-suffering. He gives opportunity for His people to evaluate their condition and make the right choices. The history of Israel from the time of their entry into the land of promise, circa 1400 BC, until the time of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah, is approximately 800 years. This period is marked by recurring cycles of obedience, disobedience, warning, judgment, repentance, and a return to obedience.
The Father God is also righteous, holy, and just.
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!
Jeremiah warns that the Father’s patience has run its course and now judgment is at hand. Judah will be invaded, Jerusalem will be conquered, and the people will be taken into captivity by Babylon. Time and again when Jeremiah delivered this message, he did so with a sad heart, mourning, and tears.
Jeremiah 13:17 If you still refuse to listen, I will weep alone because of your pride. My eyes will overflow with tears, because the LORD’s flock will be led away into exile.
Lamentations 3:48 Tears stream from my eyes because of the destruction of my people!
You would think that perhaps they would be given just one more chance or perhaps if they prayed fervently, the Father might relent. Ezekiel anticipated this question and answered it unequivocally. Even if great heroes of the faith prayed on their behalf, the judgment would not be averted.
Ezekiel 14:14 Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, says the Sovereign LORD.
REFLECT & PRAY
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little” (Edmund Burke).
Father, we live in troubled times. Most of us can do little, but reveal to us what little we must do according to Your will.
Warning after warning was issued, but nobody was listening.
Jeremiah 6:10 To whom can I give warning? Who will listen when I speak? Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. They scorn the word of the LORD. They don’t want to listen at all.
It is easy to ask how could they be so stupid and dull? Are they guilty of disobedience and an unwillingness to follow the Father’s way? The answer is regrettably yes!
The Father asked them to do two things.
Jeremiah 6:16 “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.”
They were to remember “the old ways,” that is, the Father’s truth as revealed in His Word. They were to “stand in the old ways” and “walk in the good way” (Wiersbe).
But their reply was, absolutely not!
Jeremiah 6:16 But you reply, “No, that’s not the road we want!”
They chose poorly.
17 I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’ But you replied, ‘No! We won’t pay attention!’
18 “Therefore, listen to this, all you nations. Take note of my people’s situation.
19 Listen, all the earth! I will bring disaster on my people. It is the fruit of their own schemes, because they refuse to listen to me. They have rejected my word.
But the children of Israel are an object lesson for us. Not to discourage us, but rather to encourage us to do what is right and have hope.
1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
Romans 15:4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
The Father has called all of His children to “stand in the old ways” and “walk in the good way.” If we choose His path, it will not be easy because an unbelieving world will heap taunts, abuses, and far worse on us. But the choice is ours, and ours alone to make. It is a lonely path, but it is the right path. Choose wisely.
“Always remember, you cannot carry a cross in company. Though a man was surrounded by a vast crowd, his cross is his alone and his carrying of it marks him as a man apart” (A. W. Tozer).
“Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever” (Thomas Jefferson).