Making the right turn
By The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: Proverbs 3:5-6
Devotional text: Isaiah 30:20-21
Last week, we spoke about going on Sunday drives, using maps and how the Bible speaks to us as a road map for our lives.
We read in Genesis 5:21-24 the verses regarding Enoch, an ancestor of Adam, who walked with God for 300 years. Then, we went onto Matthew 7:13-14, where Jesus spoke to the crowd at his Sermon on the Mount about the road to heaven. Jesus told the people the road to heaven is narrow and the road to destruction is wide with various wrong turns we can make.
Today, we continue with this analogy, reading the scripture that continues today to be a road map for life. We will specifically look at the Old Testament this week, with verses from Proverbs and Isaiah.
Written for the most part by King Solomon, who was the son of King David and Bathsheba, Solomon was the one who asked God for wisdom. Throughout his life, he collected wise sayings in order to teach the people of Israel how to follow the right path of God.
Often, his proverbs provided the right path with its rewards, followed by the wrong path that would lead to destruction. Let’s look at a sampling of the wisdom he received from God.
Speaking about the importance of wisdom, we read in Proverbs (Prov.) 2:20-22, “thus you will walk in the ways of good men (people) and keep to the paths of righteousness. For the upright will live on the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.”
So what should we do? Prov. 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Continuing with Prov. 16:25, we are given the answer to the question “What is wrong with my own understanding, my plans, my goals?” Solomon answers, “There is a way that seems right to a man (person), but in the end it leads to death.”
Solomon is speaking here about our intentions. Are the plans we make leading toward a bigger ego, building up wealth for our own desires, as we try to be better than others? Are we following God’s plan for our lives? Have we prayed about finding the best path, one that leads to a good and contented life or have we chosen a life of ruin?
As we choose to turn to God, trusting him with our life, it is never too late to begin again. God welcomes all who decide to choose the road to salvation at any time in their lives.
Turning ahead to Prov. 20:24, we find this: “A man’s (person’s) steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?”
Sometimes, the plans we make for ourselves do not turn out as expected. What we thought would be a good path can lead to unexpected results. Sometimes, we become shocked, surprised, overwhelmed, when things turn out far different from what we had hoped for.
There are some things in life that we may never understand. However, if we allow our road in life to be directed by God, it doesn’t matter if we understand everything. What is important is knowing that we can trust God to direct us. With God walking by our side, we can trust that everything will come together for good.
Now, let us look at the writings of the prophet Isaiah, as we continue to learn more about following God’s ways.
In Isaiah 30:19-20, we find God speaking to the people of Jerusalem concerning how he would always walk with them, help them, guide them and teach them.
From Isaiah 30:20-21 we read, “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’.”
These are the words of God, as he walks with us, teaching us his way. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit, nudging us today, telling us the right way to go. However, it is up to each of us to decide if we will follow those godly nudgings or not. We do have free will to make choices for ourselves. The question is, do we trust in God to show us the best path to take, or do we ignore God, thinking our way is better?
God has a plan for us that will lead to “a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Isaiah 35:8 says it this way: “And a highway will be there; and it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in the way; wicked fools will not go about on it.”
In John 14:6, we discover that Jesus is the way, as Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father accept through me.”
Jesus knows the way to holiness and shows the way to those who believe in him. Jesus shows us the truth of God’s ways leading us on life’s journey. As we follow his ways, taking his words to heart, even when trouble comes, we can count on him walking beside us, helping and guiding us through the storm.
Next week, my friends, we will continue with the Bible as our road map looking at New Testament scriptures.