I got lost once when I was a teenager. It happened at a Boy Scout retreat. Several of us were out hiking when we saw a deer. We gave chase and were separated from each other. I can tell you that it is easy to get disoriented in the woods. (Especially when you are young and inexperienced.) I was lost in the woods for most of the day. By the time I made it back to camp, I was cold, tired, and hungry. I was also in trouble.
The memory of that “adventure” came back to me when I was meditating on a scripture from the book of Jeremiah. He is God’s man on the earth and is prophesying against Israel and Judah. Both Israel and Judah had lost their way. They have drifted from the ways of God and are caught up in the ways of the world. Yet, God does not give up on them.
Wherefore, I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children’s children will I plead. – Jeremiah 2:9 (KJV)
The context of Jeremiah 2:9 is God speaking to all the families of the house of Jacob. God recounts how he took them out of Egypt, saw them through the wilderness, and brought them into a plentiful country. The people, however, went their own way. Apply this verse to our present day situation. God is pleading with you to follow Him. He will plead with your children and your grandchildren. God wants to see the generations of your family following Him.
Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. – Jeremiah 3:14-15 (KJV)
The heart of God is that you would turn to Him. He will take whomever will turn to Him in faith, even if it is only one person in a city or two people in a family. God will bring these children to the Heavenly City one day. Think about what Israel and Judah had compared to Christians today. They had the law and we have Christ. Look at how much more God has blessed us! Yet, we so easily follow after the world. What is at stake? It is the future generations of our family.
Notice what God gives to those who turn from their backsliding ways to follow Him. He will give us pastors who teach according to God’s heart. Pastors who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. God will raise up men to feed His sheep. When the people do not turn and want to hold onto their backsliding ways, God tells us that they will find teachers of their own liking.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. – 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (KJV)
I am afraid that this is happening in many churches today. Many dangerous “isms” are finding their way into the church because this is what the people want. Ecumenicalism, post modernism, humanism, and feminism are combined with pop psychology and political correctness. Situational ethics and modern cultural beliefs are put ahead of the clear Word of God. When the church turns its’ back on the authority of the Bible, it turns away from God and follows the path of destruction, taking families and individuals along with it.
Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. – Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV)
Here we see God giving clear direction to His people to stop and look at where they are going. Then, they are to ask directions to the old paths. The old paths are also called the good way. These are the paths that we are to follow. Tragically, Israel and Judah did not listen to God, but rather, they chose the way that seemed good to them. Do not make this mistake yourself!
I think that it is important to note that it is the people who said “We will not walk therein.” God’s people told Him that they would not follow His ways. They did not believe that God’s laws were for their own good. They decided that they knew a better way to live and could follow after false gods of their own making. This is a mistake that is being made today, again and again, in churches all over the world. The church is supposed to be under the headship of Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. But sadly, many have become institutions of man and not God.
When my friends and I left the marked trail to chase a deer, we were separated and lost in a moment. While it took only minutes to leave the trail, it took hours to find our way back. Along the way, there was suffering and fear. What seemed right for a moment turned out to be wrong.
May the grace and truth of God’s Word reign in your lives.
God bless, Mike