Jeremiah 31:1-26; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; Psalms 87:1-3; Proverbs 20:19
OT: “Set up road markers for yourself; establish signposts! Keep the highway in mind, the way you have traveled. Return, Virgin Israel! Return to these cities of yours. How long will you turn here and there, faithless daughter? For the Lord creates something new in the land — a female will shelter a man. This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I restore their fortunes, they will once again speak this word in the land of Judah and in its cities: ‘May the Lord bless you, righteous settlement, holy mountain.’ Judah and all its cities will live in it together — also farmers and those who move with the flocks — for I satisfy the thirsty person and feed all those who are weak.”” (Jeremiah 31:21-25 CSB)
Jeremiah 31 is an encouraging chapter where God gave Jeremiah dreams and visions of a future day when God’s unfaithful and rebellious children return back to Him. In this section of chapter 31, God spoke to His backsliding and faithless daughter Israel. He painted a picture of Israel as a fickle young daughter who has run away from home and is wandering from place to place as she tries to find satisfaction. To His “runaway” daughter, God said, “remember the markers in the road and the landmarks along he way so that you don’t lose the way back home.”
Unfortunately, children raised in faith that then backslide away from faith is a common occurrence. Communities of faith are far from perfect, and there are plenty of scenarios that the enemy uses to discredit genuine faith experiences and lead people into cynicism and faithlessness. I grew up in the church. During my formative years, my dad was a pastor. Pastors’ kids often times experience both the best and the worst of church life and I was no different. There were plenty of things that I experienced and witnessed first-hand to make me cynical, jaded, and at times skeptical. However, there were also genuine encounters with God that I could not deny. It was those few and far-between genuine encounters with God that kept me from straying completely away from the faith – and it was those genuine encounters with God that wooed me back from a time of self-seeking and aimless wandering.
God said, “set up road markers and establish signposts.” The word translated here as ‘road markers’ refers to monuments that are placed to remember significant people or events. The word translated as ‘signposts’ refers to high places or landmarks. Throughout the Bible narrative, whenever God did something significant, he told His people to set up a monument so that they wouldn’t forget His faithfulness. Through our journey of faith, there can be and will be difficult, unpleasant and even evil things that will challenge our faith… but there will also be genuine encounters with God and godly people that will be etched into our memories. For those who have gone astray, it is those “road markers and signposts” that will keep you from getting lost and will lead you back home.
The past year and a half has been extremely challenging. There are undoubtedly many who in times past have left the faith, and are now longing for the peace and security of home with the Lord. If that is you, remember those road markers and signposts that are etched in your memories… those times when you truly experienced the love and mercy of God… those times when God proved Himself to be real… those times when God healed you and gave you peace when you were afraid. Go back to those monuments and high places in your life, and allow them to lead you home to embrace your Father and your Savior once again.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the road markers and signposts in my life that prevented me from getting lost and led me back to a vibrant life of faith in You. I thank You that I continue to have milestone moments and high places of faith that I can mark in my memories to prevent me from getting lost as I go forward in faith with You. May my life continue to be a testimony of Your goodness and faithfulness as I live in worshipful surrender to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.