Summary: This message of Jeremiah is given in the context of strong accusations and warnings because of the unfaithfulness of the people of God.
Jeremiah 6:16… "This is what the LORD says: ’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.’ But you said, `We will not walk in it.’"
This message of Jeremiah is given in the context of strong accusations and warnings because of the unfaithfulness of the people of God.
1:16 - "I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshipping what their hands have made."
2:13 - "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water."
3:14 - "’Return, faithless people,’ declares the LORD, ’for I am your husband. I will choose you--one from a town and two from a clan--and bring you to Zion.’"
4:22 - "My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good."
5:30,31 - "A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?"
It is in this context of calling a wayward people back to God that Jeremiah confronts Jerusalem. Is that the type of people who are hearing the message of Jeremiah today? Are we the intended audience?
Chances are, for the most part, we represent people who have already returned to God, and we don’t need to hear a scathing, message intended for backsliders.
However, in this verse is some excellent advice regardless of where we may be in our relationship with the Lord. There are decisions being made every day - we frequently find ourselves at a "crossroad", and need guidance and wisdom in making godly decisions.
Notice with me that the verse can easily be divided into three parts:
1. Stand and Look;
2. Ask and Walk;
3. Rest or Refuse.
I. Stand - Look
In a moment of decision, it’s important to stop and give careful consideration.
ILL… RR Crossings… There aren’t many left, but RR crossings on our country roads say it well, "Stop, Look, Listen".
The problem we constantly face is that we have become a culture of haste.
Joke … decision time for a gorilla… Maybe you’ve heard about the gorilla in a zoo holding a Bible in one hand & a book about evolution in the other. He was looking confused, so someone asked, “What are you doing?” The gorilla answered, “Well, I’m trying to decide if I’m my brother’s keeper or my keeper’s brother.”
Just prior to the turn of the century, this commentary was printed in the "New York Times":
ILL… "The 20th century is being called the ’hundred-year madness’. It started with horses and hours. It ends with Maseratis and microseconds, with cars speeding across highways, airplanes streaking across skies, microprocessors burning across desktops and magnificent metal birds called Discovery, Endeavor and Columbia circling the earth. This century’s mad dash of innovation has produced all of these things -- and the most frantic human era ever.
"We phone. We fax. We page. We e-mail. We stuff day planners. We race from one end of life to the other, rarely glancing over our shoulders. Technology, mass media and a desire to do more, do it better and do it yesterday have turned us into a world that hurries.
"Stop and smell the roses? No more. Instead, better wake up and smell the coffee. What an exhilarating, exhausting world we’ve created - a world of seven-day diets and 24-hour news channels and one-hour photo processing and 30-minute pizza delivery and 10-minute facials and two-minute warnings and Minute Rice.
"Fast food. Fast computers. Fast cars in fast lanes. Nestle Quik and Quik Marts and quick-cut commercials. A superhero faster than a speeding bullet and a bullet train faster than a speeding car. VCRs with five fast-forward settings. Sound bites and the rat race and instant coffee and microwave popcorn and radio stations that make a breathless promise: `You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world.’
"Get rich quick. Get fast-tracked. Get your 15 minutes of fame. Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse. Run on empty. Just do it.
"People do recognize this kind of hurry in their lives. They talk of fixing it, but they do not have the time.
A survey conducted for Hilton hotels found 71 percent of Americans think time is moving too quickly, but only half of them would slow down if they could. And even fewer -- 43 percent -- don’t think thinning their packed schedules would make them happier."