Posted by: Jo | May 18, 2012

Guideposts and Guardrails

“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take.” (Jeremiah 31:21)

imageJust recently in Vancouver, we have had a spate of senseless killings of young men involved in the ugly world of drugs and gangs. When I read of yet again a young man losing his life in such a way, I want to cry out….Why did this young person travel down this road that leads to destruction? Was there no one to guide him? Have we as adults ignored what the Lord has asked us to do in his word? Are we neglecting to put up “guideposts” for our young people? Are we at the same time forgetting to heed the guideposts for our own walk of life? I mourn to think that hundreds of years ago Solomon warns his son and it is recorded for future generations, the folly of pursuing ill-gotten gain and yet the words go unread and unheeded and we are still losing those who wander down the wrong path.

“Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it” (Proverbs 1:19)

In Ancient Times travelers, who did not have the advantage of maps or GPS, had to transverse unknown territory and when they found a safe and easy path they would leave behind some form of direction for those who were to come along after them. This often took the form of cairns (piles of rocks) or roughhewn wooden sign posts which pointed the traveler in the right direction. Hence the term “guide posts” and the words of Jeremiah (31:21) still hold true for us as adults as we direct the young people in our lives to follow the safe and trusted road.

I read a sweet story of one such traveler that came across a swollen, raging river that with great difficulty he was at last able to cross. When he reached the other side another traveler was surprised to see him begin to gather and chop sturdy wood and saw that he was constructing a bridge. The surprised traveler asked him, “Why build a bridge now? You are safely over”. The man replied, “My son will be following along behind me. The bridge is for him”

Just as the father in my story was preparing the way for his son, so does our Heavenly Father go before us. David in his well-known Psalm 23 reminds us, image

“.. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3)

We can safely follow where he leads us. He has already built the bridges.

Since then our roads and highways have become much more sophisticated, but some of the basic needs to safe travel are still apparent. We still need those sign posts; SLOW DOWN ; SHARP CURVE ; STEEP INCLINE and perhaps one of best safety devices has been added; GUARDRAILS

Guardrails have saved many lives. Their purpose on the road is to warn of danger, but also to protect life and irreparable damage. A common place to see them is perhaps on a sharp curve around a cliff face. The idea is not to have the guardrail right at the edge of the cliff, but several feet away so the guardrail’s purpose is more for deflection and prevention. Having guardrails firmly fixed in our own lives and that of our young people, would prevent so much pain and sorrow. They can be seen as personal boundaries of behavior, boundaries that become second nature. Warning signals that go off when we move into areas of temptation; a light that flashes when what we are involved in has a dark side; a soft whisper, “this is not right”

imageGod’s word is the most powerful, indestructible guardrail of all time, offering all sorts of protection and when we follow his guideposts to his chosen path we and those young people in our lives will not be led down the road to destruction.

The Psalmist‘s knew this incredible truth and the importance of knowing God’s word.

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)

Related Podcast

We see them every day and barely notice them, but guardrails keep us on the road and protect the disaster on the other side. In this series we want to talk about guardrails we can setup inside our personal and spiritual lives to keeps us practically on the path to Jesus.


  1. Thank you for the thoughts. I especially like the thought of the Bible being a wonderful guardrail.


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