Jeremiah 8:4-5 “You shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, Do men fall and not get up again? Does one turn away and not repent?’ Why then has this people Jerusalem, Turned away in continual apostasy? They hold fast to deceit, They refuse to return.’”
There are plenty of times in life when you will find yourself going the wrong direction. It may be you have made a bad decision and found yourself in a muddle. Maybe you over committed and feel overwhelmed. Or maybe you just misread the map and found yourself on a road you don’t recognize. Whatever the situation, the best option is repentance. Admit your mistake and redirect your course. Otherwise you could find yourself really far away from where you want to be.
Before we even got married Dad discovered my weak navigation skills. I have always had trouble deciphering between right and left. Before the days of Siri it was common for me to make a wrong turn or two and find myself far away from my planned destination.
One Saturday, early in our dating relationship, Dad and I planned to attend a friend’s wedding in Northern New Jersey. He jumped in the driver’s seat and handed me the handwritten map (that was his first mistake). About thirty minutes into the trip he asked if we were near our exit. I glanced at the map and determined we still had some more miles to go. A few minutes later he inquired again, but I reported we still were not there.
After a little more dialogue we found ourselves no closer to our desired exit. So Dad finally pulled over to look at the map himself. He quickly recognized our problem when he examined the drawing . . . and then turned it 180 degrees.
Yes, I admit it! I had been holding the map upside down. We were now miles past our desired destination, and the only thing to do was to retrace our route. I am glad to say that despite my blunder we finally made it to the church. But that was only because we determined the error and rerouted our course.
We all make mistakes, but it’s what we do with them that determines the final outcome. When we refuse to admit we’ve done wrong and continue in the same direction, things only get worse. But when we acknowledge our shortcomings, take responsibility, and turn the other direction, we will be better off for it.
Sadly, the people of Jerusalem during Jeremiah’s time held fast to their sinful ways. Although they heard God’s message repeatedly they chose not to repent of their wickedness. Instead they doggedly continued charting their own errant course. This road took them farther and farther away from the Lord and closer and closer to grave punishment. How much better things would have been if they had just turned around and repented!
My map skills have not improved much over the years. There have been many times when I had to admit sheepishly that I was lost or headed in the wrong direction. But I have learned the best option is to own up to my errors and turn around.
So don’t be like the people of Jerusalem who ignored all the warnings and continued full speed down the wrong road. If you find you have made an incorrect turn then admit your mistake. Readjust the map, make a U-turn, and head back the other way. God is gracious and responds to repentance. And He is always faithful to get you to the correct destination.
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