Set up Waymarks
James Smith, 1860
Life, in God's word, is frequently compared to a journey, and the experience of the believer to that of a traveler. Israel's journey from Egypt to Canaan, and the journey of the Jews from Babylon to Mount Zion, alike set forth our journey from earth to Heaven. In the prospect of the return from captivity, Jeremiah gave the people many important instructions, and valuable directions. Among others he said, "Set up waymarks." Jeremiah 31:21
There were no good public roads, no guide-posts, and therefore those who went first, taking guides with them, were to mark out the roads for the benefit of others. Something like this we should also do. Here is,
AN IMITATION. A journey from Babylon the land of captivity, the enemy's country, to them an iron furnace. Such is the world to us. A measure of freedom we enjoy — but while in this vile body, with the law in the members; and while in this world, with so many evils around you — we shall never know what perfect freedom is.
It is an enemy's country.
Satan is its God.
Sin is its element.
Enmity to God is its characteristic.
Opposition to God is shown by it.
It is an iron furnace.
Here we are being tried.
Here we are being purified. Like metal in the
smelting furnace, where it is separated from the dross, and made fit for
use; so are we in this world, and therefore we must expect . . .
and many troubles.
It is a journey to mount Zion, the city of God, the
home of the saints, and the land of liberty and plenty. Such will Heaven
be to us. It is a city which God has built, in which . . .
the glory of his wisdom,
the vastness of his wealth, and
the wonders of his grace
— are fully displayed.
To this city, the eye of the Patriarch was directed; for this the prophets longed, and to this the glorious army of martyrs was conveyed. Its walls are jasper, its foundation all manner of precious stones, its gates pearl, and the presence of God and the Lamb are the light of it.
Well may it be called the home of the saints. There all the family will be gathered. There all our desires will be satisfied. There all our prayers will be answered.
It is our Father's house, and our holy, happy home. It is a land of plenty, we shall know no lack, nor will our desires remain ungratified.
It is the land of liberty, there will be . . .
no toil there,
no crosses or burdens to carry there,
no foes within nor without to face there,
no yoke to wear,
no conflicts to endure there.
O glorious city of our God! Was mount Zion said to be beautiful for situation? Was it called the joy of the whole earth? What will the heavenly Jerusalem be? O that these eyes may see it, and see it soon! O that this heart may enjoy it, and enjoy it forever!
THE DIRECTION. "Set up waymarks." Collect materials and use them, mark out the road for the good of others. Make observations as you pass along the road, as to its nature, requirements, and peculiarities.
Use memorandums, note down from time to time, your answers to prayer, deliverances from danger, and contests with foes.
Fix particular times to review the past,
register the state of things at present, and
draw profitable conclusions from the Lord's dealings with you. Set up your Ebenezers, your stones of help, where the Lord has appeared for you, made your way plain before you, and manifested his loving-kindness to you.
Let your waymarks be numerous, set them up at
let them be visible, that others may see and be benefitted by them;
let them be intelligible, that all may understand them; and
let them be often reviewed, that you may derive much benefit from them.
THE REASONS. "Set up waymarks" — or the road is
bewildering. It is bewildering to you, and will be to others who come
after. The season of captivity had been long, and the most aged were
liable to forget. Temptations will be brought to bear upon all, and the
strongest may need helps. The way must be reviewed, and by the
help of the waymarks we may do it with comparative ease. Besides which,
they will . . .
bear witness to God's faithfulness,
be a lasting record of our deliverances,
show the fallacy of our fears,
prove the falsehood of foes, especially Satan,
assist others by marking out the road for them,
and warning where there is danger to them.
Thus we shall not only serve our generation — but be
of use to them that come after us . . .
cheering many a drooping heart,
comforting many a sorrowful spirit, and
encouraging many a lagging discouraged pilgrim.
O that some who went before us, had set up a few more waymarks at some turnings in the road. What a benefit, what a blessing, it might have been to us!
Blessed be God, that we have come safely thus fur, and now for the benefit of those around us, those who may come utter us — let us "set up waymarks."
Lost sinner, set up a waymark and note thereon how far you are from Heaven — and how near you are to Hell. You have been wandering farther and farther from Heaven every year of your life, and you have been traveling toward Hell as fast as you well could. You never were so far from Heaven as at this moment — nor were you ever so near to Hell. In what a solemn position then are you placed. Do make some memorandum then this day, and try and estimate your distance from the city of God — and your nearness to the regions of despair.
Backslider, set up a waymark, and indicate thereby how far you have wandered from God and godliness. Write thereon so far from God — and so far have I to return with weeping and with supplication. For every step you have taken from God — must be retraced, and retraced with a broken heart, if not with a weeping eye. Many a heavy sigh, many a deep groan — will be uttered before you regain your former confidence and comfort. Many a soul-piercing pang will be felt before you regain your former peace.
Christian, set up a waymark, and inscribe
thereon: so far from Babylon — so much nearer to your eternal home!
Cheer up Christian, every day you are so much nearer to your eternal
home! Never was the end of the journey so near as now; never were there
so many troubles behind you, and so few before you as now. It is all
up hill until we reach the celestial city, you will therefore find
it more or less difficult unto the end. But,
when you arrive at home,
when you enter into the holy city,
when you see Jesus,
when you enjoy the presence of God
— all will be well, and well forever!
Five minutes with Jesus — and what shall we think of all our earthly temptations, toils, trials, and troubles then? One hour in Heaven, with the certainty of being forever holy, and forever happy — what will all our earthly afflictions be then?
Then, then, shall we understand the apostle when he says, "I consider that the sufferings of this present life are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be conferred on us!" Romans 8:18
Blessed be God, that through his grace we ever left Babylon!
Blessed be God, that we are so far on our way to Zion!
Blessed be God, that every waymark adds to our assurance of arriving in safety at our heavenly home!