Dear Church Family
I am writing from the church this morning and it is a blessing to be here. The spring flowers are blossoming and a few of the Calla lilies have opened their beautiful white horn-shaped flowers to catch the sun and the rain.
It is difficult, at times, to find new ways to accomplish old and tried things. We often imagine that we are the first to have to adjust or to be innovative in changing circumstances, but that is hardly true, of course. Every generation has had to do so in its own way.
The hardest part of this reality is not losing the heart of what is good and true in the process. Whether it is war, famine, economic trials or political upheavals, the Body of Christ has been challenged again and again with the task of being able to serve God acceptably in Christ Jesus, under difficult circumstances—sometimes, horrific circumstances.
The prophet Jeremiah was ministering in a time of great distress for the truth and persecution for true believers. In the midst of that, he said,
Jeremiah 6:16 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.’
The Lord was telling His people, like travelers on a journey, to pause and consider the way. As we well know, the most crowded, the most popular, or the easiest way is not always the best way.
He is calling on His people to pray for and to find the old path that takes you in the good way. It is easy to see that as an excuse to simply maintain old traditions and antiquated habits, but that is not what He is calling for here.
Earlier He had called on them to consider their ways and to examine what they were doing, which in their case involved a rejection of the Word of God, and therefore, of truth and righteousness. By doing so, they were on a path of judgment and self-destruction and they were running down that path with reckless abandonment.
Essentially, what is being called for here is a moment of serious inspection to be sure that the road we are on is the good one, that in the end will bring rest to the soul. The path may lead over streams and rivers, and getting over them may require some biblically guided ingenuity.
It may be blocked by steep hills or imposing mountains that require spiritual strength and exercise, the path may be swept by vicious storms, but the path itself, the old way, runs just like it always has through all the changing terrain or circumstances, and it is good for God’s people to pause at every “Y” in the road, at every obstacle and every alluring side path, and consider, which is the old path of my God and Savior that leads to the good way, that will bring peace to my soul?
You will find, says Matthew Henry, that……the way of godliness and righteousness has always been the way which God has owned and blessed and in which men have prospered. Ask for the old paths, the paths prescribed by the law of God, the written word, that true standard of antiquity.
We tread the path thy people trod,
Alternate sunshine, bitter tears;
Go Thou before, and with thy rod
Divide the Jordan of our fears.