Read Jeremiah 6:16-19
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. (NLT)
Each of us faces times of decisions in life. It is as if we are at a crossroads. God gives us freedom to choose which way we will take. He won’t take us by the scruff of the neck and drag us down what he knows is the right path. He gives us the freedom to take the wrong path and to suffer the consequences.
Note from this text that this is not a matter of people being confused or puzzled, of groping in the dark seeking to obey God but not sure of what that obedience might mean. It is a wilful rejection of what they know to be the right path. It is not weakness, it is wickedness.
At times we stumble as we make mistakes in discerning the way of God. At other times, we dismiss God and go our own way. His ways seem out-of-date or unpopular. Too hard, too likely to deprive of us our immediate wishes. And yet choosing to defy him may lead us into more difficulty. Disobedience has consequences.
This is not because God is a vengeful deity who just can’t wait to punish us. He is rich in mercy and wants the best for us. Rather, he made us to function best when we are in relationship with him, not when we turn our backs on him. As with anything else, if we ignore our maker’s instructions there are bound to be problems.