Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The Path of Life
Read | Jeremiah 10:23-24
Life is like an untraveled trail with complex twists and turns. Appealing activities can be detours that lead to the quicksand of sin. And engaging philosophies may form side paths that end up in a mire of muddled thinking. Even the best route isn’t all sun-dappled meadows and quiet riverside lanes. We may at times have to journey over hard terrain or shadowed valleys. The only way to be sure we’re walking right is to follow one who knows the way perfectly.
God is the perfect, full-service Guide. No one can go wrong by keeping to the pathways He selects. Consider that He lovingly and intentionally created you for this time and this place. The Lord watches over your steps because He desires to see your purpose fulfilled and His plan come to fruition through you (Prov. 3:5-6). Therefore, He promises to counsel those who follow Him (Ps. 25:12). When God warns His children away from a tempting sidetrack, it is because He foresees the dangers that lurk on that road.
There’s a correlation between ignoring God’s guidance and ending up in trouble: the one who stumbles off course has trusted his own “sense of direction”—his emotions, desires, or personal version of morality. He’s been pursuing what feels good or looks right instead of seeking the Lord’s will.
God has mapped out the path before you. He is aware of every obstacle and miry pit, and He knows exactly which sidetracks will tempt you. What’s more, He has committed to walk beside you as a Guide and Comforter so that you never face the twists and turns of this life alone.
Idols and the True God
1 Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the LORD:
“ Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. 4 They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers So that it will not topple. 5 They are upright, like a palm tree, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, For they cannot do evil, Nor can they do any good.” 6 Inasmuch as there is none like You, O LORD (You are great, and Your name is great in might), 7 Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? For this is Your rightful due. For among all the wise men of the nations, And in all their kingdoms, There is none like You. 8 But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine. 9 Silver is beaten into plates; It is brought from Tarshish, And gold from Uphaz, The work of the craftsman And of the hands of the metalsmith; Blue and purple are their clothing; They are all the work of skillful men. 10 But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.
11 Thus you shall say to them: “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.” 12 He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. 13 When He utters His voice, There is a multitude of waters in the heavens:
“ And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, He brings the wind out of His treasuries.” 14 Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge; Every metalsmith is put to shame by an image; For his molded image is falsehood, And there is no breath in them. 15 They are futile, a work of errors; In the time of their punishment they shall perish. 16 The Portion of Jacob is not like them, For He is the Maker of all things, And Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; The LORD of hosts is His name.
The Coming Captivity of Judah
17 Gather up your wares from the land, O inhabitant of the fortress!
18 For thus says the LORD:
“ Behold, I will throw out at this time The inhabitants of the land, And will distress them, That they may find it so.” 19 Woe is me for my hurt! My wound is severe. But I say, “Truly this is an infirmity, And I must bear it.” 20 My tent is plundered, And all my cords are broken; My children have gone from me, And they are no more. There is no one to pitch my tent anymore, Or set up my curtains. 21 For the shepherds have become dull-hearted, And have not sought the LORD; Therefore they shall not prosper, And all their flocks shall be scattered. 22 Behold, the noise of the report has come, And a great commotion out of the north country, To make the cities of Judah desolate, a den of jackals. 23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. 24 O LORD, correct me, but with justice; Not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing. 25 Pour out Your fury on the Gentiles, who do not know You, And on the families who do not call on Your name; For they have eaten up Jacob, Devoured him and consumed him, And made his dwelling place desolate.