"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 6:16
We are living in a day when modern technology has come up with "new and better ways" to keep up with the times. This is true in the religious world as well as the business world. Sometimes these new ways may be better, but sometimes they are not.
Jeremiah challenged Judah to find the old paths and walk "therein." They were also promised rest for their souls if they would do so. Judah did not choose the old paths but "new and better ways" according to their thinking and they ended up in captivity instead of rest.
This Old Testament scripture applies to us spiritually. We are living in a day when churches have found "new and better ways" to get the work of God done. Books are written by the hundreds that have a new angle or twist to get God's work done. But the question is, "Is God's work really being done?" God's word says, "ask for the old paths."
What are the "old paths"? Our first impression is that the "old paths" are the places our fathers and grandfather walked. This may be true in some instances, but the "old paths" go beyond their days. The word "paths" of the O.T. is the same as "the way" of the New Testament. In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." The word "old" means time past, eternity, perpetual, or always. In Jer. 6:16 the word "old" goes back even further than the beginning of the world. In Jer. 18:15 "old paths" are called "ancient paths." In Dan. 7:9 Jesus is called the "Ancient of days."
We see the path Jesus took as it was decided in the council halls of God in eternity past that He would leave His father's side and enter this world through a virgin's womb. John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:14a, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Gal. 4:4, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law." He lived a sinless life and died on the cross for our sins. I Peter 2:22‑24, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." He was resurrected and carried His own blood and sprinkled it on the mercy seat in heaven for our atonement, to satisfy a Holy God. Heb. 10:12, "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God." This is the "old path."
Our text says "paths", a plural word. What are the "old paths?" "Old paths" refers to wherever and however God works in your life to bring you to Himself to be saved and then to fulfill your purpose by directing others in the old paths so that they, too, will be saved. John 1:4, "In him was life; . . ." I John 5:12, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
What do we need to do concerning the old paths? First find them. Jer. 6:16 says, "see and ask." To find the "old paths" we need to go back to history. I'm not talking about secular history, because all we learn from secular history is that we don't learn from history. I'm talking about His Story, the Word of God. Job 8:8, "For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers." Deut. 32:7, "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee." Find the paths that the patriarchs traveled before you, speaking of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Then we need to search. This involves more than just seeing, looking or consulting. Acts 17:11 says that the Bereans "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Search means to inquire, examine and involves a sifting process to get at the truth by investigation, as of a judge. Before one searches, God has to work in that person's life.
Next we need to consider the path we are examining whether it be good or evil, right or wrong. Pro. 16:25, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Mat. 7:13‑14 warns us to, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
After we find the "old paths" we need to stand in them. Gal. 5:1, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Eph. 6:13, "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
Then we need to walk in them. This means to practice what you have found to be true. James 1:22, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." Gal. 5:16, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
If you find the "old paths," stand in them, and walk therein, you have the Lord's promise of rest, not only now, but throughout all eternity, because the word rest speaks of a place of rest in context. Thank the Lord there is rest if we walk in the "old paths" because they lead to Christ. John 14:1‑3, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Wherever He is there is peace and joy and rest and quietness and assurance forever.
May we find the old paths, stand in them and then walk in them. There is no better way than God's way which is the "old paths."
THE PERSUADER - April-May, 1992