ASK FOR THE OLD PATHS
Jeremiah 6:16 (NKJV)
16 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 (NIV)
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.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
The days of Jeremiah’s ministry to the people of Israel were days of deep spiritual wickedness. The people had sinned against God to the point where He was ready to give them up into captivity. And, in fact, they did go into captivity in just a few short years. Yet, even while they perched on the edge of judgment, the Lord desires to see them turn back to Him.
In this verse, we are given the image of a traveler who come to a fork in the road. He has the opportunity to go anyway he desires, but God tells him to ask for the “old paths, where is the good way”. Instead of just traveling blindly on, this traveler is to stop an ask directions.
(Ill. Many are too filled with pride and arrogance to stop and ask, and as a result, they waste much valuable time seeking their way.)
Of course, this is all in a religious context. The Lord wants His people to travel the right path. He wants them on a path that will lead them in His direction. While this word of correction was spoken to the Jews many years ago, there is a lesson in this verse for the modern church this evening.
It is my opinion that the Lord would still have His people to ask for the old paths. Let’s take a moment this evening to consider three elements of this verse as we think on the thought “Ask For The Old Paths.”
I want you to know that there is a right path and there is a wrong path. We must be sure we are walking the one which God has ordained, the one that He can bless, the one that honors Him.
I. A REQUIREMENT
A. Ill. The command that God is issuing to His people is for them not to allow themselves to be lead astray by the false prophets and leaders of their day. They are to look back to men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and others who walked the path of obedience and holiness before the Lord and they are to seek that path for themselves.
B. God’s command is that they not just go anyway, but that they take the time to find the right path, that old, well-worn path that represents the best way.
(Ill. The problem Israel faced is a problem people have faced down through the ages. During World War II, during the Battle of the Bulge, there was a group of German soldiers who dressed themselves in the uniforms of the Allies. These German soldiers used American military vehicles and went through the German countryside changing the road signs. When the American troops came to the various crossroads, they were often fooled and lead off in the wrong direction. This deception by the Germans almost gave them the victory in this very decisive battle from the second world war.)
C. Just like those German soldiers caused confusion and death by changing a few signs, so many in our day are leading millions off into Hell because they are changing some of the road signs of the faith. Allow me to share a few of the road signs that are being changed in our day.
1. Salvation Through The Blood – Heb. 9:22
2. Belief In The Scriptures – 2 Tim. 3:16; Psa. 119:89. (Ill. 66 books, 1,189 chapters, 41,173 verses; 774,746 words; 3,566,480 letters in the Bible. It is every ounce the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of God.)
3. Love For The Church – Heb. 10:25
4. The Reality Of Heaven And Hell – John 14:1-3; Psa. 9:17.
5. The Value Of The Human Soul – Mark 8:36-37.
6. The Soon Return Of Jesus – Rev. 20:12; I Thes 4:13-18.
7. The Holiness Of God – Ill. We try to bring God down to man’s level. He is holy – Isa. 6:3; 1 Pet. 1:16.
(Ill. Regardless of which signs the world changes, it does not change the road! The Word of God is still settled in Heaven. We still know the “old paths”. There is no question about what way is the right way. And, God’s requirement has not changed: ask for the old path and walk therein!)
II. A REWARD
A. God’s promise to those who walk in His paths is that they will find rest for our souls. That is, in His paths, we can be assured of three great truths.
1. One, we can be sure that we will arrive at the proper destination! When we take the Lord’s highway, we can be sure that it will end in His Presence!
2. Two, we can travel in safety knowing that the Lord is guarding our way. Not only will we end up where we want to be, but we will get there in the safest, most peaceful manner possible.
3. We can know that while we are on the Lord’s path, the deepest needs of our soul will be met! There will be fellowship with Him and joy in His presence at the end of the way!
B. However, those who fail to ask for the old paths will find themselves walking in the ways of destruction and misery. When we turn our backs on the way God has chosen as the right way we will find that the way is difficult, there is no peace or safety and the destination is ever in question. There is a reward for those who will walk in the Lord’s pathway!
III. A REFUSAL
A. This text tells us that some decided that they would not walk in the Lord’s will and in the Lord’s path. The results of their choice is chastisement and destruction, v. 17-30. There is a high price to pay for refusing to walk in the Lord’s will!
B. We are living in a day when many are refusing to walk in the old paths. Either the old way is too narrow, or they feel that God just doesn’t know that what He is talking about. Yet, no matter what the world does, let us, the people of the Lord, stand tall in the old way. Let us be unashamed of who we are. Let us hold our heads high and walk in the way God has ordained without apology and without backing down. Let us be everything the Lord commanded us to be in His Word, 1 Cor. 15:58.
The old way isn’t the popular way! It is being abandoned daily by people who have decided that new is better. They are leaving the Bible, the old songs of the faith, old fashioned worship, praising the Lord, and preaching. Seeker services are replacing old time worship of the Lord. Yet, God has not changed, Heb. 13:8. I can find no room to change myself.
I think I’ll ask for the old paths and walk in them. How about you? The enemies are changing the signs, but the Lord will know the way. Let’s ask Him and He will lead!
Praise the Lord!
Thank You Jesus!