“The Lord said to his people: “You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path. Ask where the old, reliable paths are. Ask where the path is that leads to blessing and follow it. If you do, you will find rest for your souls.” But they said, “We will not follow it!”” Jeremiah 6:16 NET
The last blog post I shared was about God doing new and fresh things for and in us. One commentary I read said that we must remember that God is always creatively doing new things. After all he is The Creator God.
But in this passage of Jeremiah we are reminded that we at times stand at unique crossroads with God. Where he tells us that we have a choice to make if we want to experience his renewal and blessings. Generally as humans we can be pretty stubborn and not even recognize God's involvement in our pain and suffering.
Many stand at crossroads that they aren't even aware of. But eventually we all have no choice but to stop and look with God because our life is a mess. We can be in exile and not even know it because we don't inspect the condition of our own hearts.
Usually something starts stirring up within us that causes us to finally stop and take notice. This is usually when God shows us our own spiritual condition.
Returning to God in all the ways we have wandered is the best place to start. Repentance is where we must start. It should be a daily act of surrender for us as disciples anyway, but when we get too busy to sit at his feet, then we must recognize just how far we've departed from his presence and life.
God is relational. He's not like the other deities people worship. He's the living God who desires fellowship with us, his creation.
We're in a crazy time in history. It has left many anxious, fearful and confused. I'm one of them. The anxiety that I feel on a daily basis is something I've never experienced before.
I've had to take stock in all the ways I've wandered from my Lord.
This is also an historical month, for returning to God. This was the time period that Moses came off the mountain for the second time after Israel had committed the sin of worshiping the golden bull. The Israelites had been stubbornly refusing God then with Moses, and also during the time in the scripture above in Jeremiah, when they went into exile for 70 years.
The ones who stayed faithful during the time of exile in Babylon, stayed faithful because they positioned themselves by the rivers. That was important for them and their customs of ritually washing their hands and praying to the Lord their God. This is a time where we too are in exile; don't think so? I ask you to look around at the state of our world-but especially the church. We too need to make sure that we are walking the ancient paths with God or we too can get swept up into idolatry.
There were some Israelites who went to live in Babylon and left God. They forsook the ancient way of fellowship with him and ended up on idolatry.
We must not follow their example.
I believe we always experience renewal, rest and restoration when we return to God from all of the ways we have wondered from Him. Rarely do we even recognize the ways we wander. And it isn't until our bodies start telling us that we figure it out. Our souls and bodies are connected and fashioned in such a way where they work together. If you're tired, exhausted even, anxious fearful etc. Maybe there are ways that you too have wandered in your heart from God. Maybe there are ways where you too are worshiping the gods of this world. This came to my attention following a time of exhaustion recently. I had wandered away from what was the most important thing and that was intimacy with my God. I was too busy serving people, ministering and doing all the things that are important in my life but not more important than my God.
I needed to return to Him. But it required me slowing down and making certain disciplines priority in my life again.
When God comes to do some thing new in our lives, it's not new to mankind, but it's possibly something fresh for us now. Life-giving for us now. I had to return to the ancient paths with God. The paths of prayer, solitude and silence. The path of life where my priority was Jesus-not ministry. The renewal I needed, the renewal you need, will come only as we return to the Lord our God. He is our rest. He is our peace and joy. He is our everything. We experience this newness as we slow down in him.
I've learned that we all wander from God on a daily basis. So pay attention to your body, mind, and emotions right now. If you're physically ill or your soul is a mess emotionally with anxious thoughts or anxiety in general, please hear me dear ones.
Return to the Lord your God and allow him to restore you, soul and body.
I want to end today by asking you a question. What are you meditating on? This may give you the insight you need as you take stock at this crossroads. What is your heart and soul meditating on?
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalms 19:14 NLT
We tend to focus on the words of our mouths and that is an important thing to focus on. But it's the meditation of our hearts that needs more attention right now.
Is God your meditation?
If this is the case for you too, I encourage you to slow down this week and return your gaze and focus on the one who gives you breath and life, Jesus Christ. Slow down to the speed of his voice and the rhythm of his heart. Slow down to the impressions he may be sending your way or the wind he blows across your face.
Slow down my friends and experience the newness of life that only comes from Him.
With much love,