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)