Once upon a time, I had a job I drove to instead of waking up in the middle of. Back in those days, when I thought I understood what it was like to be tired, my automobile would at times operate under it’s own power. I would climb in, turn it on, and somehow, I magically got to work. In fact, more than once, I got in, turned the key and magically ended up at work when I intended to be at the grocery store or a friend’s house.
The prophet Jeremiah says “Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highways, the road you take” (31:21).
So often, we put our spiritual walk on auto pilot. We got to church, listen to sermons and take notes. We teach our kids to memorize their AWANA verses (Wednesday at 4pm). We speak church lingo, and we support mission work. But we have put the relationship on auto pilot.
God warns us to pay attention as we go with Him, otherwise we might veer off in a dangerous direction.
To put this verse in context, we must consider Israel. They had wandered far from the path God had planned for them. He compares their behavior to that of prostitutes. And not just any run of the mill prostitutes, but ones who were once married and chose to walk away.
At one time or another, in one way or another we have all violated our covenant relationship with God. We bow down at alters of achievement, perfection, self-loathing, and our own will. We violate our promise to serve Him only every time we put someone or something in the place He should occupy.
We don’t do it intentionally--most of the time. It just happens. We set our lives on cruise control and miss the exit.
The road may be taking us toward temptation. If we are distracted, we will miss the “exit” promised us in 1 Corinthians 10:13.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.
And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Set up road signs, He instructs. Be intentional. Once we make a wrong turn and get back on track, we need to carefully find and mark to the detour point so we can avoid the same mistake.
I go to a meeting once a moth that’s in a rather obscure location. I’ve been there a handful of times, but I get turned around every. single. time. A couple months back, I took a friend of mine, confidant I could find it. No such luck. I dragged her up and down side streets, through U turns and 36-point turn arounds. We finally got there, but the next month, guess what happened? Yup. Same thing. We didn’t carefully observe which of the many avenues we tried was the right one. The last time, we made not though. We shared it out loud. The second left off the freeway, then an immediate hard right. We said it out loud to each other. We know the way now.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways SUBMIT TO HIM and He will make your paths straight.”
In the translation I memorized a million years ago, the phrasing was a bit different. “In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” The truth is still as profound, but I must have skimmed this verse every time I have read it in the NIV since, because never once have I noticed the phrase, “submit to him.” Pride should not keep us on the wrong road. In humility, we can hear his instructions.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is our map. Or to put it in modern terms, our Garmin. When we go off course, He is there to recalculate it for us.
“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the
highways, the road you take.” Jeremiah 31:21.
Look up. Look around. Are you on the right road? Do you even know?