Unturned

Intersections demand decisions.
That’s why whoever invented traffic circles should be put away somewhere. It is not simple—turn right? Turn left? Go straight? Turn around? And that’s the dilemma at the intersection of just two roads.

I lived near the nation’s Capitol where I-95 crossed the Capitol Beltway. Our town of Springfield, VA was called the Mixing Bowl because of the twisting, turning exits and entrances that were supposed to get you where you wanted to go. Turning long turns made you feel like you had accomplished something when you finally straightened out, but it might be a mistake. You could be headed straight—in the wrong direction!

The psalmist declares that though evil people have treated him cruelly, he has not deviated from the path he was walking—a life of obedience to the Law of God.

That is quite a claim. I don’t know many who could make it. Life seldom presents us with simple crossroads. We often face cloverleaves of confusion. Sometimes turning away from what we know is right looks like the right thing to do; it certainly can feel like the easier thing to do. Staying on the straight and narrow path takes clarity of thought, concentration and determination. The road signs may be confusing, even demanding. A turn may seem like the right choice.

When the road the Lord has chosen for us stretches clearly before us, there is no need to consider turning onto some other road. Of course the road He chooses will do some twisting and turning that we might not expect, but those kinds of turns are proper for we turn with the Lord, not against Him.

The Voice behind Us
The ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to give us direction. The Prophet Isaiah makes a strange statement about Divine guidance. When faced with an intersection we can hear a voice behind us saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” The words “behind you” could also be translated, “pursuing you.” In contemporary language that means the Lord “has your back.”

That’s good news! At such intersections, we can listen for the voice of the Lord and know exactly what to do. Turning away from God is never the right thing to do.

Intersections demand decisions. It is comforting to know that He is with us on this journey.

Scriptures:
Psalm 119: 49-51 NIV
Remember your word to your servant, because you have given me hope. This is my comfort in my trouble, that your promise gives me life. The proud have derided me cruelly, but I have not turned from your law.
1 Peter 3:10-12 NIV
“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
2 Timothy 4:3-5 NIV
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Galatians 1:6-9 NIV
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Deuteronomy 5:32-33 NIV
So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
Isaiah 30:21 NIV
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Prayers:
For Direction
Psalm 25:4-5 NLT
Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. (From The Book of Daily Worship)
For Guidance
(from the Book of Common Prayer)
O heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray thee so to guide and govern us by thy Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget thee, but may remember that we are ever walking in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Song:
Song God Leads Us Along
Words and Music: George A. Young

1. In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.

Refrain:
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

2. Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,
God leads His dear children along;
Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,
God leads His dear children along.

Refrain

3. Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose,
God leads His dear children along;
Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,
God leads His dear children along.

Refrain

4. Away from the mire, and away from the clay,
God leads His dear children along;
Away up in glory, eternity’s day,
God leads His dear children along.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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