Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 31:15-32:25 / 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18 / Proverbs 25:1-10
The story of Hansel and Gretel is a well-known German fairy tale of good triumphing over evil. Hansel and Gretel are the young children of a poor woodcutter and an abusive stepmother. They learn of their parent's plot to abandon them in the woods (because of a famine) and Hansel takes matters into his own hands. As the family walks deep into the woods, Hansel lays a trail of white pebbles. After their parents abandon them, the children wait for the moon to rise and then they follow the white pebbles back home.
They return home safely, much to their stepmother’s horror but soon afterwards find themselves in the same predicament again. Unable to get outside for pebbles, Hansel takes a piece of bread and marks a path as they are again taken deep into the woods to be abandoned. This time their return plan fails as the children find the birds have eaten their bread crumbs, leaving them lost in the woods. After a wild encounter with an evil witch, they finally return home to their father and live happily ever after.
Israel was in a “Hansel and Gretel” situation as they found themself traveling down a road to captivity in Babylon. They were not innocent victims but had rebelled against God and were going to experience seventy years of discipline but also restoration. God promised them they would return and instructed them, “Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take.” (Jeremiah 31:21)
God wanted them to make sure and mark the road they were traveling because that same road would one day lead them back home. Just like Hansel and Gretel, the pathway back home can have many twists and turns. Israel would be deported for seventy years and much would change during that length of time. The road would not look the same and it was imperative they find their way back home.
The marking of the road was not a physical marking as much as a spiritual marking. Repentance and righteousness would lead them home. They would see the familiar markings of God’s faithfulness and promises. Much would change in those seventy years, including the hearts of the Israelites, but the unchangeable love, compassion and restoration of God would guide them home.
We as well need to be sure and mark the pathways of our lives. Some roads are fulfilling and enjoyable while others are difficult yet they are designed to perfect our faith. Whatever road you find yourself traveling…remember, you do not walk alone. God has a divine purpose so make sure you mark every twist and turn with a reminder of His faithfulness, purpose and presence. He promises to complete our journey and one day take us to our eternal home…that is a pathway worth taking!