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.” Jeremiah 6:16
Choice. The great gift our Creator bestowed into the heart of mankind so that we might offer love freely became the cause of our distance from Him. You know the story. Adam chose to neglect God’s way and sought his own instead. We all know how that turned out.
I can’t imagine the aching regret that must have consumed him as he experienced each new consequence resulting from his choice: separation from God, nakedness, shame, sorrow, fear, and blame to name a few. Far worse must have been the agony of watching his sin play out in the lives of his sons. He stood powerless as sin’s cords entangled the heart of his firstborn, giving birth to jealousy, rage, and even death.
Adam discovered a hard-learned lesson that we would be wise to heed. Our choices always have consequences.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8
Each decision we make results in either life or death, each choice a crossroads marking paths to redemption or destruction. Our Creator beckons us toward life, offering His Son as the truth and the way we can follow to restoration. Yet all the while the serpent draws us into his will with half-truths and deceitful promises, and our sinful nature convinces us to believe him.
That, dear one, is why salvation must come through faith in Jesus.
Who will you trust to be the author of your steps, beloved? Will you trust Jesus, who offers the path to abundant life (John 10:10), or will you continue to follow the path lit by your sinful flesh and bound to the will of the prince of darkness (2 Timothy 2:26)?
It seems an easy question. Of course God’s is the better path! And many claim that they will follow Jesus on the path to life. But when faced with the reality of living out that choice, their resolve fades. The familiar voice of the enemy continues to call and they find themselves making the same destructive choices Adam made.
Consider the whole of 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.” But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
Where do you stand today, dear one? What choice lies before you that holds the power of life and death? Sometimes, it’s an obvious answer. Other times, it’s not so clear. But whatever your circumstance, God has your answer, and within it lies rest for your soul.
Jeremiah 6:16 offers the key to discovering God’s will at your crossroads. It lists four commands: stand, look, ask, walk.
- Stand – The verb stand evokes two thoughts. First, standing involves stillness; it is a stationary action. Consider Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Before we move in any direction, we must be still, pausing to acknowledge the One who IS God.
Yet standing is also an action. One who stands isn’t idle or complacent, but ready to move when the time is right. Are you ready to take your stand?
- Look – The second action offered in this verse is look. Hebrews 12:2 commands, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith . . .” As we pause at our crossroads we must look to the Son. He waits to lead us on the path to life.
- Ask – Thirdly, we must ask for direction. God will never withhold Himself from a seeking heart. He desires to reveal His will, and He sent His Son to make a way for each of us to live out His purpose.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives . . .” Matthew 7:7-8
- Walk – Lastly, once we have heard from on high, we must choose to walk down the path He has revealed. James 1:22 reminds us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Our ability to hear means nothing if we aren’t willing to also obey.
If you will take these four steps in obedience to God’s Word, He offers a glorious result: “you will find rest for your soul.” Four acts of obedience leading to one act of discovery, a discovery that is well worth the cost.
Your daily choices will profoundly impact not only our own life, but also the lives of your children and others who follow you. Like Adam, you will watch them reap from the seeds you sow. Let’s be deliberate about sowing seeds of life!
Before you take another step, stand still, look to Jesus, ask His direction, and then follow where He leads. His, after all, is the path to glory.