Consider the ancient pathways!
Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ – Jeremiah 6:16
I’m reminded of a call to consider the old paths. Rather than invent new ways, I believe God is calling us to look closely at the old ways, which He has established.
We lose our way when we step away from the path God asked us to travel. This is true in our personal lives as well as in church life. How often do we justify our waywardness by saying it’s just one small thing, or God would understand I need this.
Church life has been changed over the years, to make people feel comfortable, rather than equipped for battle. The early church knew the battle they faced every day, often risking their lives to give the gospel. When they met, it was to help equip them to fight on. We often speak about the four things they did in their meetings, found in the book of Acts.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. – Acts 2:42.
But this was not just their focus, it was their fuel for the fight. They were walking in the way Jesus showed them, which was out of sync with society and leadership of the day. The same should be true for us today.
The advice given in Jeremiah 6:16 is first to ‘Stand in the ways and see’. Literally, stop what you’re doing and consider. In our busy lives and desire to move at a fast pace, it may seem difficult, but we need to simply stop moving and open our eyes at times.
Then he says something which we find equally difficult, he says to ‘ask for the old paths’. Have you ever been out walking or driving with someone who will not ask for directions because they are so sure they know the way, as they get even more lost? Over the years, the church has lost its way, by thinking it knows the way. How often have we seen the latest fad or advice to bring people in? The new way could be the old way, which Jeremiah says is the good way, because it’s God’s way.
Though this way might seem difficult to walk, it leads to a state of rest for our soul. All too often we see people looking for things to fill their time or distract them, because they are not at rest. In times of unrest, it’s easy to make poor decisions, which end up causing even more distress and take us further away from our goal.
If you feel at a crossroad and uncertain of the way ahead, then simply stop, open your eyes, ask God to show you the way. Take action on what He shows you by walking the ancient paths. This will lead you to finding the rest for your soul which you so desperately need and only God can give.