God's Good Road

     Back in May Ginger and I took a little road trip. We went up to see son Tom and his wife Anne in Cleveland, Ohio and then down to Richmond, Virginia for my 50th high school reunion. As we all know it is always good to see your kids. I did notice that there were a lot of old people at that reunion! Ha!

     As I said this was a road trip. No airplanes were involved. It was, however, 1930 miles altogether, which is a pretty good exercise of the automobile. Now, I really enjoy being out on the road, but I’m not sure this is Ginger’s favorite way to spend a week (the “in the car” part), but she is a good sport. Being on the road like that gave me time and encouragement to think about the way the idea of a road is used in the Bible.

     God had the Bible writers use different words to convey His idea that we are traveling down the road of life. Jesus is the “Way” in John 14:6. There is a path of righteousness (Psalm 23:3) and it is spiritually perilous to leave it (2 Peter 2:20-22). We have a walk which is our life and God wants us to walk that walk in the light and not in darkness (1 John 1:5-10). Jesus appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus. That walk began in sadness for them but it ended in great joy (Luke 24:13-31).

     A well known use of the idea of a road in the Old Testament is Jeremiah 6:16. Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said,
“We will not walk in it.

Jeremiah had a very difficult and challenging job. He was to bring God’s Word to the rebellious people of Judah. He taught them that they had to “straighten up and fly right.” Penitence was their only hope. As we see from the passage they rejected Jeremiah’s plea.

     Bible students know that the nation of Judah was facing captivity. Jeremiah warned them many times and in many ways. They were stubborn and the result of their behavior was death for many of them, seventy years in Babylon for the rest of them and the utter and total destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. They had trusted in lying words about many things including that Temple which they thought would protect them as a pagan trusted his talisman. When Jeremiah challenged them they rejected his words in favor of the false prophets who spoke of peace when there was no peace. They were doomed because they refused to travel God’s good road.

     Jeremiah told them what they needed to do. We are not in the same circumstances today but the principle flowing from Jeremiah 6:16 can help us mightily when we have to choose which road of life to take. He said “Stand.” Sometimes we might choose a better road if we stood still for a moment and just thought. That’s the idea behind the word “see.” In other words, “take a look.” Don’t go charging headlong into trouble. He said “ask.” We can avoid many a bad decision by asking for help. It is better to get advice from those who’ve gone before us than to attempt to learn the way through danger alone.

     Once we know where the good old path is we are to “walk in it.” The result of all of this is “rest” for our souls. Just think about the end of a long road trip when you reach your destination. Maybe it’s a vacation or a family trip, but you get there. You made it! You can rest. So it is with the spiritual journey of our lives. If we follow God’s good road we will be able to rest. His road is tougher (Matthew 7:13-14) but the destination is worth the trip.