(Jeremiah 6:16), “ Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”
Jeremiah was a prophet of God to the kingdom of Judah during the days of spiritual apostasy when the people of Judah had gone into deep spiritual wickedness. The people of Judah has so sinned against God that God was ready to give them up into captivity. And, in fact, they did go into captivity in just a few short years. Yet, even when they perched on the edge of judgment, the Lord desired to see them turn from their sin back to Him.
We see the Lord’s great desire for the kingdom of Judah to turn from their sin and back to Him in the above passage of scripture when God pleads with them to regard the old paths. The image God uses here in pleading with Judah is the image of a traveler who is traveling and comes to a fork or intersection in the road and doesn’t know which way to go. At this intersection, the traveler has a choice to make. He can take the new ways, the recently built wide and easy roads to travel in which many people are traveling on, or he can take the old paths that are least traveled. So the traveler ask several people where the old paths are and no one seems to be able to tell him, because they are all set on following the new way. Finally, he finds an old elderly gentleman and asks him, and the older man points him to a narrow well-worn trail, hidden in the bushes. The older man then says, “That is the good way” and then he goes on to say, “Almost everyone else travels the new way, but the old paths are the good way that will lead to peace and rest.”
The old paths are the eternal paths which God has marked Himself and not paths that have been recently made. It the old paths that the saints of old have travelled down through the ages; the path of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Jesus, the apostles, Paul, and all those great saints of the past. It is the path that every saint that pleased God walked down.
I believe that while this word of correction was spoken to the kingdom of Judah many years ago, there is a lesson in this verse for modern church and the saint of God today. Because I believe that it is still the perfect will of God for His people to travel the old paths.
What are the old paths that God wants His people to travel? I ran across the following written by an old retired preacher from Tennessee that reflects the old paths we need get back to.
I like the “Old Paths”, when Moms were at home. Dads were at work. Brothers went into the army. And sisters got married before having children!
The Old Paths where Moms could cook; Dads would work; and Children would behave…
The Old Paths where Husbands were loving; Wives were supportive; and children were polite.
The Old Paths where Crime did not pay; Hard work did; and people knew the difference.
The Old Paths when Women wore the jewelry; Men wore the pants; Harlots wore the paint and children wore the stripes.
The Old Paths are when Women looked like ladies; Men looked like gentlemen, and Children looked decent.
The Old Paths when People loved the truth and hated a lie; they would follow the Pastor and ignore the world; and they came to church to get IN and not to get OUT!
The Old Paths when Hymns sounded Godly; Sermons sounded helpful; Rejoicing sounded normal; and crying sounded sincere.
The Old Paths when Cursing was wicked; Drinking was evil; Divorce was unbelievable; the Flag was honored; America was beautiful, and God was welcomed.
The Old paths when we READ the Bible in public, prayed in school, and preached on the courthouse steps!
The Old Paths when Laws were based on the BIBLE; HOMES read the Bible, and churches taught the BIBLE!!
The Old Paths when Sex was a personal word. Homosexual was an unheard of word, And abortion was an illegal word.
The Old Paths when Preachers preached because they had a message; and Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY!
The Old Preachers preached from the Bible; Singers sang from the heart; and sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!
The Old Paths when Church was where you found Christians on the Lord’s Day, rather than in the garden, on the creek bank, on the golf course, or being entertained somewhere else.
The Old Paths when being a Preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God; being a Deacon meant you would serve the Lord; being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus; and being a Sinner meant someone was praying for you!
The Old Paths when a New Birth meant a new life; Salvation meant a changed life; Following Christ led to eternal life.
The Old Paths when preachers were more interested in NEW CONVERTS than new clothes and new cars!! Churches wanted to reach every creature with the GOSPEL more than new buildings and paved parking lots and prayed and wept over the lost in their community.
The Old Paths when God was worshipped. Christ was exalted, and the Holy Ghost was followed!
The Old Paths when the Bible was believed and not corrected; Sinners got Saved, Converts were CONVERTED and the Gospel was preached and not SHARED.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS WHEN: We would go witnessing with tears; prayed a lot, and talked little on the phone; spent more time with the Bible than the TV. We would weep about lost souls; enjoy going to CHURCH more than anything. We had testimony and song services. We would really try to do something for God; we would say AMEN to the truth, and got to the ALTAR to repent of sin. We would bring folks to Church; take the Pastor home for Sunday dinner; give tithes and offering gladly. We would seek the WILL OF GOD in everything and stand against sin anytime and anywhere!! THAT WAS THE OLD PATHS!!!
I still like the “Old Paths” best! God wants us to walk in the old paths that He might bless us. God wanted the children of Judah to walk in the old paths that He might bless them but they said, “We will not walk therein.” And God in judgment on their sinful rebellion sent them into captivity.
Will you walk in the old paths that God may bless you or will God have to bring judgment into your life because you refuse to?
Pastor Allen Jackson