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Devotional - Standing At The Crossroads In Life

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. 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!’ I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’ But you replied, ‘No! We won’t pay attention!’ – Jeremiah 6: 16-17

    Life is a series of decisions we must make. Some are seemingly inconsequential and may only have repercussions that are barely felt. Others are intermediate and we can feel the results more severely. Then there are the major life decisions we all face on this earth. Crossroads decisions which can alter the course of our lives. Decisions such as switching jobs and careers. Moving to a different state or country. Deciding on marriage. If we are cognizant of our lives and our decisions then the crossroads appear to us on the horizon. I believe there are many who live their lives not understanding why they make decisions as they do but then there are those that see the crossroads coming. Crossroads is defined as a place where roads intersect and where crucial decisions must be made. Sometimes there are two choices to decide between and other times there are multiple options, further confusing the decision making process.

    In seeking God for some insight into the crossroads decisions we all must face I was led to the key verses above from the Prophet Jeremiah. The context for these verses is that Judah was rapidly falling away from the Lord and Jeremiah was prophesying to them in order to try and get them to turn back to God. Eventually, Judah would make all the wrong decisions and God would send the Babylonian Empire in to take them captive for 70 years. At their crossroads they failed because they did not listen to God when He was trying to direct their paths. What can we learn from these key verses today for ourselves, when we are facing the crossroads of life?

    This is what the Lord says beloved – stop at the crossroads and look around! I believe this speaks to the non-stop pace at which we live our lives sometimes. Sometimes the Lord has to step in and slow us down. Any decision worth making is worth making deliberatively. There is nothing worse than feeling like you rushed a decision that has not worked out.

    It isn't good to have zeal without knowledge; nor being hasty with one's feet and missing the way – Proverbs 19: 2 (WEB)

    How many times have we had the proper zeal and enthusiasm for something but were missing the crucial knowledge we needed to make an informed decision? What I especially like from the key verses is the fact that God says two things are crucial. First we must stop. Stop the silly worldly notion that we do not have time to properly consider. Stop the blindly rushing nature our lives can sometimes become. I hear people all the time say that they grew distant from friends because they just didn’t have the time. That is just an excuse. We make the time for what we want in our lives. I hear the lament that people feel sometimes they are just too busy to properly read the Bible on their own or have an active prayer life. Once again – just nonsensical excuses we make to allow ourselves to feel better about something. Maybe we can get by with a rushed decision such as what to wear for the day but crossroads decisions deserve more respect than that. Wrong decisions at the crossroads can have generational consequences. Judah did not listen and ended up in captivity for a generation. When the nation of Israel first approached the Promised Land they sent out 12 spies to scour the land. They saw a land flowing with milk and honey as God had promised but they also saw giants were living in the land. Joshua and Caleb understood that if God had promised the land then it did not matter if there were giants there. The other ten however swayed the people to murmur against Moses and God had finally had enough with the rebellious nation. He was going to destroy them completely but Moses intervened for them. There were still consequences that lasted for an entire generation from this poorly made crossroads decision:

    Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice. They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it. But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land. Now turn around, and don’t go on toward the land where the Amalekites and Canaanites live. Tomorrow you must set out for the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea.” – Numbers 14: 20-25 (NLT)

    The entire disbelieving generation would die in the wilderness; never to see the Promised Land. We must stop at the crossroads and the second thing is we must look around. I think this is a crucial point that we need to consider. Far too often we make our own decisions before we even get to the crossroads and then seek “the will of God” or “confirmation.” It doesn’t work that way. The Bible says our hearts are wickedly deceitful above all things. Once we have “made up our mind” we will see confirmations everywhere! I once knew a couple that decided to move to another state and in their seeking confirmations suddenly noticed all these license plates on the highway from that state and took it as confirmation! God does not work that way! We have to stop and look around. We have to assess the situation. We have to assess the crossroads beloved. We have to consider the various options that stand before us. We tend to yield in this life as opposed to coming to a full stop. We tend to pay lip service to other options in favor of what we think we want. But the truth we need to embrace today is that there is only one person that knows what would happen down each and every road we might take and that is God. This leads us to the next point from the key verses.

    Ask for the old Godly way and walk in it. Who do we ask? We ask God of course! This is emphasizing the absolute necessity for prayer beloved. Every major decision should be bathed in prayer. True prayerful consideration should lead to a revelation of the will of God. Judah did not consider the will of God and continued down the wrong path until God had to step in and do what was right in His eyes. Remember, eventually God will become more drastic in His attempts to get our attention. What I find interesting here is God didn’t just say to ask for the Godly way but rather, the old Godly way. I think sometimes we become enamored with the latest and newest thing. We see this playing out in the modern church with the heretical theories of church growth. The old ways of God have never failed beloved. The Gospel has never failed. It does not need to be made more relevant. It does not need to be dressed up. It does not need to become hip to culture. It is completely sufficient all on its own. Take the old Godly ways and the key verses say that we will find rest for our souls.

    Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4: 6-7 (NLT)

    These popular verses show the oppositional relationship between prayer and worry. The crossroads can be very intimidating as the major life decisions stand before us. God is saying to counteract that intimidation we need the transcendent peace of God and the only way to have that is to submit everything that might worry us into prayer. As we lean not to our understanding but instead acknowledge the Lord; He will make our paths clear before us. Let’s face it beloved – the crossroads is scary because we don’t want to make the wrong decisions.

    There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. – Proverbs 14: 12 (NKJV)

    The way we have chosen seems right to us. We have used our carnal rationales. We have used our worldly analysis. But without Godly insight we are driving our lives blindly off a cliff hoping the landing is soft. Stop at the crossroads. Look around and consider the options. Prayerfully submit the decision to God. And then…

    Resist the flesh. That is what the key verses teach us next. Judah was warned to get back on the narrow road and they screamed – no that’s not the road we want! I remember a few years ago I was faced with the most difficult decision of my walk and I screamed several times that it was not the road I wanted. It was a lonelier road. It was a road marked with uncertainty and struggles. To be honest I am still walking that road but I have been assured over and over by God that it is the right road and in the end that is all that will matter. We need to be more honest with ourselves. In our flesh our hearts desires run contrary to God. We like to dress ourselves up and play church but we are not super-spiritual. Not in our flesh.

    And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. – Galatians 5: 24-25 (NKJV)

    Walking in the Spirit is when we are actively seeking God in everything. In every decision, understanding that He sees all time and is constantly working everything out for our good. NOT that He is working all things out the way we want them! Working all things out for our good. I have seen many people insist on staying in bad relationships because of the worldly definitions of love; despite God making it clear they are not meant to be together. Forcing our will over God’s in this realm can have lifetime consequences. I have seen people decide to move without God’s direction and fall away from the faith for years. Thankfully they came back but that one decision ended up being a five year detour. I have seen people completely not understand that the answer of “no” from God is just as much a blessing as yes. You can argue it is a bigger blessing because it keeps us from a mistake! If you really wanted a promotion at work and prayed and ultimately were denied that promotion, we must understand that God is in fact protecting us. We cannot see it in the temporal what God knows in the Spiritual. God sees for example that the promotion causes an increase in stress, which damages your marriage and pulls you away from church. Maybe your faith suffers and your marriage suffers as a result. Remember – God sees all time! The way we want to take may seem right to us but God knows which way IS right for us.

    Continuing on in the key verses, God reminds us that He has posted watchmen over us. Within the context, Judah had true prophets from God such as Jeremiah. They were sounding the alarm! They were warning Judah but to no avail because at the end of the day Judah said – No! We won’t pay attention! In our lives God has also posted watchmen. If we are in a good Bible believing church then we have pastoral oversight. We also may have seasoned Christians who we can discuss crossroads decisions with. People who will agree to seek God in prayer for this decision – not just offer their own slice of carnality. When Solomon passed away the kingdom passed to his son Rehoboam. But Jeroboam led the ten northern tribes and offered to Rehoboam their allegiance to him as king if he would just agree to lighten to burden placed upon them by King Solomon. Rehoboam sought the advice of two groups of people as he was facing a crossroads decision. The elders advised him to take the deal and unite the twelve tribes of Israel. The second group however were the close friends of Rehoboam, whom he had grown up with. They advised an arrogant and threatening response. Rehoboam decided to trust his friends instead of the elders and the result of this poor crossroads decision had everlasting consequences as the nation was forever split into the 10 northern tribes, called Israel and the two remaining tribes know as Judah. How often do we do the same things when facing the crossroads? We ask the wrong people. People who are no further along than we are in life. Or even worse, people who do not even share the same beliefs that we do! What advice do you think you will receive from your unbelieving co-worker who is twice divorced about the problems in your marriage? We need to seek out the elders beloved. People who have faced the crossroads we now face. People who are right with God and can offer prayer and wise counsel.

    Lastly, we see that God promises to sound an alarm if we begin skipping down the wrong path. The Bible says that God will always provide a way out for us. Even though we might make the wrong decision, it does not mean that sometimes we cannot go back to the crossroads and change it. But only if we are willing to listen to the alarm! In the key verses we see that Judah said – No! We will not listen! That may seem incredulous to us but how many Christians today do the exact same thing? Sitting in apostate churches even though the alarms have been going off for some time now. Sitting under bullying leadership, based on unscriptural and carnal designs. Or even within our own walks. Staying in bad relationships besides everything not going right in our lives. We are just entirely too spiritually ignorant for these last days. Spirits of suicide in our churches. Spirits of illness and disease in our families. And we stand by and sing kumbya because we cannot connect the spiritual dots. Not everything negative has a spiritual component to it some of the things do!. But only if we are willing to pay attention when the alarm is being sounded. We cannot like Judah before us simply ignore it because we do so at our own peril. God eventually will simply step in but we can ease our trials if we would just learn to listen for the alarms and obey their prompting, whatever the cost.

    The crossroads will stand before us ominously. Many paths but only one that is righteous. Only one that God wants us to take. We must stop beloved and consider the crossroads. We cannot blindly rush through them and expect to magically pick the right way to go. We must submit it into prayer because only God knows what the right path is. We must submit anything that might worry us into prayer to rest in God’s peace. Our flesh will rise up as it always does and demand what it wants but we must resist it and follow after what the Lord wants. We cannot shout back to God that we will not listen because the alarms will go off if we venture down the wrong road. It frightens me when I think about all of the Christians on the broad path that leads to destruction. It frightens me because I am sure that God is sounding alarm bells and they just keep skipping down the road as if nothing is wrong until the come to Jesus on the last day and say…Lord Lord. Whatever crossroads you find yourself at today – stop, consider, pray, resist. God has the roadmap; throw away your defective GPS today.

    Reverend Anthony Wade – April 8, 2013

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