Read Jeremiah 6:16-19
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.’
17 I appointed watchmen over you and said,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
18 Therefore hear, you nations;
you who are witnesses,
observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth:
I am bringing disaster on this people,
the fruit of their schemes,
because they have not listened to my words
and have rejected my law. (NIV)
Woody Allen once said that humanity was at the crossroads: one way spelt disaster, the other way spelt catastrophe, so we must pray to choose wisely. Thankfully, our choice is not as morbid as that. Though we are at crossroads at various times of our life and our choices do matter.
When faced with life choices, we need first be sure that God plays no games with us. If we are intent on following him he will not idly stand back and watch us head down the wrong road. True, many times each road is equally acceptable to him: not all crossroads are matters of choosing good or bad. However, when such a choice is before us, God will direct our thinking and our choosing.
Choosing the right way in the case of the people of Israel meant following the ancient paths, the traditional teachings of the law and the prophets. So often we hanker after some new teaching or revelation when what we need to do is remember and reapply the old teaching. In an age where so much change leads to the conceit of believing the new is better, Christians are invited to consider the superiority of the old. Of course the ancient paths need to be sensitively applied to contemporary life. But their essential principles most likely still undergird our choices.
The people of Israel took what they thought to be relevant, enticing paths. They were deaf to the warnings of God. It didn’t work out well for them. Choosing the old ways, the possibly now unfashionable truths, may not seem glamorous or exciting. But who wants glamour and excitement when what is on offer from God is rest for our souls?