Recently, Rick and I were driving along an interstate highway in eastern Illinois and needed a break. We stopped at the next wayside rest area. When we walked around the sidewalks through the grassy area, we noticed a sign pointing to a short trail. Since we had the time and needed to stretch our legs, we decided to take it.
The path went near a pond, wound through the prairie with blooming thistle and Queen Anne’s Lace wildflowers. We entered a grove of trees, which gave relief to us from the sunny, late summer day.
A brown trail marker pointed the way through the woods. At the end of the trail were some old graves, marked from the 1800s, of pioneers crossing the Illinois prairie.
We learned a bit of history, enjoyed the short hike, and headed back to the car; however, this brown sign was the most memorable.
Which way do we go?
It looked like the people should follow the arrow, but were heading in a different direction.
I laughed at the sign, wondering how it also reflects seeking God’s direction. When we have to make decisions, we seek God and pray. Sometimes we ask for a sign from above, as an indicator of the way to go.
But if we saw a definite sign, would we follow it? Or would we be like the depiction on this trail sign, and head the opposite way?
Which path is the best way?
Jeremiah 6:16 we read,
“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.
In Hebrew, the phrase “ask for the ancient path” has depth of meaning. The normal understanding is choosing between two paths when making a hard decision. “The ancient path” has dual meanings. One is the common understanding of antiquity, of recalling heritage, remembering what the forerunners of faith would do.
Another meaning has a future implication, having an eternal dimension, In other words, choose the path that is tried and true from antiquity that also secures a future with all eternity. Remembering the wisdom from the past continues to guide us into the future. Recalling how God worked in past situations also guides us and gives hope for the future.
From everlasting to everlasting, God is faithful.
Ask where the good way is, which is the way to bring God glory. It is also the way of obedience. Will God be honored by the decision? Whatever we do to show God’s glory to others is the best way. Colossians 3:23 offers directions for living.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”
The verse in Jeremiah concludes with a promise:
“walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Step by step, by following the way of wisdom from the Word of God, our trust grows deeper in the Lord.
The way may not be easy, but you will have strength from the Lord.
Sometimes a posted sign helps, but only if we choose to follow the direction.
When the Lord points the way, it is best to obey and follow where He leads.
Are your directions correct?