One of my favorite scriptures is 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.” NIV
I just found this scripture about a year ago and I was absolutely amazed. In a world where we’re always trying to find the “new path,” the newest gadget, the newest technology, the newest psychology, the newest medical breakthrough, is it even possible for us to give the “ancient path” a second glance? I could tell from this scripture that God would have us look for it and get on it, but are we willing? Am I willing?
I wake up every morning determined to live for the Lord, but throughout the day I am pulled in by our very busy, modern world. I am encouraged to look my best at any cost, develop my skills so I can succeed, strive for the top (because there’s no glory in the middle ground), and achieve the most (because that’s what it’s all about). I’m challenged to do whatever it takes to keep my body from aging and to keep my mind sharp and current. I’m pulled this way and that by the ideologies and concepts I hear touted on talk shows, in magazines, in books, and on the radio.
It’s hard to know exactly which path to take at any given moment, but, let’s face it, for most of us the old paths are the least desirable. After all, could the ancient paths possibly include drive-thru conveniences, internet capabilities, headphones for great stereo sound, or microwave speed? Old is out and new is growing older by the moment. We’ve got to keep our eyes on the future or we’ll get left behind, right?
Wrong. Jeremiah warned the people back in the old days to stick to the ancient paths. That, he claimed, was the way to find rest for their souls, something that remains quite elusive for most folks today. I don’t know how old ancient paths would have been for them, but ancient for us is something you buy at an antique store and display on a curio cabinet. We rarely actually use the ancient. So choosing an ancient path is quite a paradigm shift.
Is the ancient wisdom of the Word of God outdated and irrelevant? Is it antiquated to the point that we should just display it on our coffee table, but turn to other more modern sources for instruction on daily living? No. If you’ve explored the ancient paths of God’s Word at all, you know that it’s the way to life, abundance, freedom, joy, and peace. James says we come to Jesus by the Word of God. And Jesus said we come to God through Him and only Him. The Word of God is necessary for salvation.
Not only that, but the Bible is alive. It supernaturally breathes life into the lives of those who approach it with willing hearts and open minds. It transforms lives, gives hope, defines truth, and lights the way.
Sure, in comparison to the supersonic highways traveled by celebrities, the enlightened gurus, and the powerful people of our world, the ancient path of God’s Word may seem a little rustic and outdated. It certainly seems filled with faulty directions like “pray for your enemies” and “the last shall be first” and “turn the other cheek” and “serve one another.” But strangely enough these directions have proven to be trustworthy in one redeemed life after another for centuries.
Does staying on the ancient path mean I have to give up all the new conveniences of our modern world? Absolutely not. But it does mean that I stay with the wisdom of the ancient texts. I let God’s Word rule in my every decision, every goal, every pursuit, every circumstance, and even my every emotion. It means that at times, in fact many times, I’m going to feel like I’m on a very different path from most of the world, and I’ll have to come to terms with that and let it be.
I didn’t quite give you the whole verse of Jeremiah 6:16. You see the verse actually ends with, “But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.'” Sad, isn’t it. Jeremiah’s audience chose not to walk in the ancient paths of God’s commands and directives. They chose a different way, one that was not good or healthy. Ultimately, they paid the price.
I hope you’ll join me today on the ancient path. I’ll be the one making lots of stops to get my bearings and take a drink of water. Maybe we could help each other find our way. Oh, and I’ll be glad to share my water with you too!