Jump Start # 2812
Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls,’ but they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
The other day I received a reprint of an old religious publication that was first printed in 1857. This was an added treasure to my collection of restoration history. The editor and preacher lived in Indiana and years ago one of his descendants gave me a framed picture of this old preacher. Now, I have some of his early writings. And, all of this takes us to our passage today. Ask for the ancient paths, not old publications, but God’s word.
There are some wonderful layers to notice in our verse today:
First, God’s way is ancient. There is no getting around that. I got home late last night. It was already dark. I was walking to the mailbox to get the mail and looked up at the moon, bright and governing the night, just as God said. And, I thought, that’s the same moon that Jesus saw. It’s the same moon that Abraham saw. It’s the same moon that Noah saw. It’s the same moon that the first man, Adam saw.
There has been as shift in thinking for many concerning worship and God’s way. For some, the pattern of the N.T. is outdated, tired and too traditional. Some have opted for what they call a “contemporary worship.” Others are looking for something fresh, new and exciting. But that mindset is never settled. It is always on the look for something different. It’s constantly unsettled. There is always something better out there. That’s the thought. For that mindset, worship, patterns, organization and even truth is fluid, changing and evolving. What’s being tested and tried today will be discarded tomorrow. The things that the young people recognize today will not be around when they are grown.
There is an ancient way, a tried and true path that the faithful have traveled on for generations. And, this old and worn means works. It works because it’s from God. It works because it’s been tried. God’s word has brought comfort to troubled times and troubled homes. It has offered comfort through the dark days of grieving. It has challenged and motivated hearts to walk closer to the Lord and to pick up the towel of a servant. It has taught, warned and shown itself to be true over and over, decade after decade.
Lives have been changed because of that ancient Gospel. People have walked away from sin because of the powerful preaching of that old, old message. Congregations have been built and a world of good has been accomplished by the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Second, God is pleading with His people to ask, seek and follow that ancient path. That’s what we need to be praying for today. Tell me the old, old story still works. We are quickly moving away from that Gospel message. A generation today does not see any difference between the uniqueness of God’s way and the artificial churches of today. People bounce around from one to another, as if they are trying different fast food places. One is as good as another, is all they see. But, they are not all the same. There stands one that is special, different and unique. It alone follows that ancient path of God. It draws a line in the sand with God. It will not change with the times to become more social, more community activated, and more consumer orientated. It stays with God. And, because it’s on an old, old path, it’s not out of touch. It’s not a museum of the old. It’s alive, active and relevant. The message fits modern man. The concerns touches us where we live. It’s a true hope for a messy time. Ask for the ancient ways. Seek that ancient path.
Third, there will be some, as in the days of Jeremiah, who have no intention of following that old path. They want to blaze new trails. They want to seek new things. But in doing so, they are walking away from the Lord. They are leaving the Lord. They are not on solid ground. They are headed in unknown territory. Danger is ahead of them and they are not aware of it. But for those on that ancient way, walked by years by the faithful of God, it leads to the Lord. And, if that’s where we want to be, why try another way? Why look for something different?
Fourth, time will reveal which way was the correct way, but by then it will be too late to make any adjustments or changes. Once a person takes one step away from the ancient ways of God, the next person takes a step away from that first person. Then comes a man who takes a step away from the second person, which is now three steps away. Before long, there are so many steps away that one cannot even see that old path any longer. It’s just one step, is what folks say. What’s the danger with that? The danger is seen in Scriptures. After Joshua there arose a generation that did not know the Lord. Idols came in and troubled followed. Eternity will reveal whether staying on the ancient path was the right way to go. I believe it is. I believe it is, not because I just think so, it’s what the Scriptures teach. Those that are tired of the old will see their children grow up and be tired of their ways. One step. Then two steps. Then three steps. Then that old, old path is no longer in sight.
Last summer when we were in Montana, we hiked some trails. Beautiful county. Bison grazing in the distance. But one stays on the path. If you don’t you are likely to get lost. If you don’t you’ll likely run into a bear. Paths are there for a reason. God’s paths are where He wants us to travel.
Old paths…but true paths.