We continue in the book of Ruth, where you notice that the consequences of Elimelech’s poor decision spilled over to his wife and his sons, who suffered greatly because they were in Moab instead of in Bethlehem, the Promised Land. When we decide to go out on our own and “do our own thing,” the consequences will spill over to others. You may be living with consequences of decisions made by others that spilled over to your life and caused you harm.

So, what can you do to make sure that the destiny decisions you make in the future are good ones, part of God’s plan for your life? Here are some suggestions:

Make good daily decisions.

Don’t overlook the importance of what we might call “small choices, minor decisions.” Those choices we consider small add up, and they impact our lives more than we would think.

For example, we choose each day whether we will spend quality time in God’s Word, in prayer, and in spiritual disciplines, like memorizing Scripture. If you make the wrong choice to skip that time one day, it may not have any serious short-term consequences. But if you keep making that small wrong choice day after day, it will soon add up to a choice with significant negative consequences in your life.

Your everyday life is made up of little choices:

  • Do I buy those shoes, even though they are not in my budget?
  • Do I skip church today because I’m a little tired?
  • Do I take time to call a friend who is hurting?
  • Do I share my faith with a co-worker when I have an opportunity?
  • Do I eat that chocolate cheesecake which I don’t need?

Now, one day of poor choices may not take you down the wrong road, but repeated days of poor everyday choices will affect your health, your finances, your spiritual growth—you name it. Making good decisions at these daily crossroads of life requires discipline. In Proverbs 5 we see the lament of a person who refused discipline.

At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!” (Proverbs 5:11-12).

Your everyday decisions that may look small one at a time can add up to be quite momentous.

Choose carefully the people who influence your life.

Proverbs 13:20: Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

You may choose to allow a relationship to begin in your life, which you know will not be good for you, but you think it’s no big deal and you can handle it. However, that small choice opens the door for that relationship to develop and it could eventually drag you down and cause you lots of heartache.

Take time to “stand at the crossroads and look.”
When you’re facing a destiny decision, remember this passage from Jeremiah 6:16:

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Every time you’re faced with a choice, if you could see the end from the beginning, you would make much better choices. Often the reason we miss the right way is because we don’t stand at the crossroads and look.

Instead, we go with our emotions, with our feelings, with our gut, with our momentary desires. How many Christians have stood at that marriage crossroads and made a choice to marry a person who was not God’s choice? They didn’t ask what this marriage would be like down the road.

I was talking recently with a young woman who married a Muslim man, even though she is a Christian. He is a good man, but she knows it was not the right choice. I asked her why she made that choice, and she said, “I was blinded by being in love.” She didn’t stand at that crossroad and look for the ancient path, the good way.

You must stand at the crossroads and look and ask God for an eternal perspective—what will this look like in eternity? That will prevent you from making some of those poor choices that you would later regret.

Ask for the “Ancient Paths.”

Jeremiah says we are to ask for the ancient paths. Ancient paths? You mean, do it the old-fashioned way? You mean, do what my mother says I should do? You mean, make choices that aren’t cool? In our modern world, ancient paths are not highly respected or desired. Outdated and narrow would be the words many would use to describe these ancient paths. Why would you want to choose ancient paths?

Because the ancient paths are God’s paths. He is the eternal God, the Ancient of Days he is called, and his paths are from ancient. They don’t change because they don’t need to change. They are true and good for all time. They are the paths that have proven to be the good paths.

So, ask for the ancient paths. I mean, literally pray, “God, show me the ancient path as I face this crossroads. Show me your way.”

Proverbs 6:20 -22: My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.

Isaiah 30:21: 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.”

Seek godly advice.

Sometimes you need to ask for directions from godly counselors. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Don’t be too proud to ask for guidance from godly people who might have a better perspective than yours.

Jeremiah’s exhortation to us is to seek the ancient path and the good way, and then walk in it. Just do it. Obey. I’m often saddened when I talk with people who are at some crossroad in their lives, and they seem to want to know what the good way is. But then I discover that they only want to know the good way if it is easy, or if it suits them, or if it is the way they want to go.

Return to the Place of Blessing

Getting back to our story of Elimelech, after he and his two sons died there in Moab, Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth returned to the ancient paths—back to the Promised Land. Ruth made a destiny decision—she chose a new time and a new place for herself, but her choice was not one of desperation or frustration. She chose to go with Naomi out of obedience to what she knew to be the right thing for a daughter-in-law to do.

She stood at the crossroads and chose the ancient path, as difficult as it must have looked. Many would have said it was a foolish choice. But she determined to follow the God of Naomi, and to remain true to her mother-in-law. She could never have dreamed, in her wildest imagination, what would result from her choice.

She had to go and live in a foreign land; she had to glean the fields for food. This was not the life Ruth had planned for herself as a young girl, but God took her to a new place and gave her a new identity. Even though Elimelech made a poor decision to take his family to Moab, God used even that poor choice to bring good to Ruth—and to her son, Obed, the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David. She became the great-grandmother of King David.

So, the lessons we learn from this are to truly seek God’s guidance for all our decisions, and most importantly, for destiny decisions. But even if you are now living with the consequences of some poor or wrong destiny decisions you have made—or perhaps others have made which have affected you—God is so great and so gracious that he is able to bring you back to the place of blessing and give you a new time and a new place to serve him and find joy and contentment. You can never mess up so badly that God can’t redeem your life. God’s grace is much deeper than your sins and mine, and that is the really good news today.