Read Jeremiah 6
Focus on verse 16
The older I get the more I understand and see the value of the ancient paths. These are not literal walking paths, rather they are the way we see and understand the world. We live in a progressive culture that puts forth a worldview that places more value on what is perceived to be new progressive ideas. I say “perceived to be” new ideas because they are really more like repackaged old ideas. In a sense one might say they are also ancient paths, only these paths lead to destruction. It is precisely because they lead to destruction that they need to be repackaged in order for people to follow them. These ideologies have different names, paganism, socialism, humanism, secularism, and the list is not exhaustive. They differ slightly in the route they take, but they all ultimately lead people to the same place. It is a lonely place, far from God in darkness and bondage where humanity is enslaved by the deceptive rule of a cruel taskmaster.
In today’s reading Jeremiah writes; “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (v. 16) This could just as well be a message to the church in contemporary North America. The Lord waits for us to heed His call to us to seek and find what Jesus called “the narrow road that leads to life”. Yet so many find themselves carried along on the wide smooth road that leads to destruction.
It is not an easy thing to fight one’s way against the flow of the crowd to keep from being swept along in the tide of people hurrying along to their own demise. It is not easy to fight one’s way back against the current toward the side of the road where the exit to the narrow road might be found. Once that narrow ancient path is found we soon discover that it can be a lonely road for few choose to travel by it. It is often steep and rocky, with dangerous slippery sections. At times it seems dark, but there are places of beauty along this path that one can never see from the wide road. There are peaceful rest areas that rejuvenate your soul. The best part about the narrow road is that, even when it seems as though we are alone, God’s presence never really leaves us.
So I stand by the roads, and look, and ask, for the ancient paths, where the good way is and I do my best to walk in it, and to invite any who dare to leave the perceived safety of the crowd walk it with me.