“He is ancient,” is a common saying. What do you mean by ancient? Anciently is old, very old; it’s older than old. It belongs in the past, in the distant past. What did Jeremiah mean when he told the people to ask for the ancient paths?
Babylon had invaded Israel and was moving toward Jerusalem. There was not much time left before the enemy would strike the city walls with battering rams. For more than two years the city had been under siege. The people were weak from hunger; they were desperate. It was God’s judgment on this idolatrous, rebellious nation. Even though they deserved it, God extended a hand of grace through His prophet Jeremiah. The people were at a crossroad and God gave them a choice of salvation.
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.” (Jeremiah 6:16 ESV)
The New Living Translation describes it as standing at the crossroad and to ask for the old, godly way.
The people weren’t interested and the judgment fell when Babylon conquered Jerusalem during the night. Judah was taken into exile for seventy years.
Is this Bible verse still relevant today? You don’t even have to look outside your window to conclude that the world needs Jesus. You and I need Jesus. Many believers need to come back into alignment with God.
What are the ancient paths? Does it mean going back to the Law of Moses, living under the law? Or is there more to it? How ancient is ancient? When Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for mankind, grace stepped in. Why go back to the Law if you have Jesus? The ancient paths go back to a distant past beyond the time of Moses. It goes back to the days of Noah and Abraham. Both were righteous and faithful to God’s promises. They obeyed God without understanding.
Noah built an ark on the ground far away from an ocean or lake in a time when no rain had fallen on earth. Yet, he believed God when God told him to build an ark to keep his family safe from the flood that will cover the earth. People laughed and ridiculed him. If they asked him what he was doing, he could probably not even explain about the rain and flood in terms that even he could understand. But he stayed faithful to God’s word. Abram left his country, his home, everything familiar to him because God asked him to. He didn’t understand but he obeyed. He didn’t question God or rebelled. He left Ur in a blind trust to God’s word. God changed his name to Abraham and made him the father of many nations.
The ancient paths go back to the garden of Eden when mankind had the perfect relationship with God. The ancient paths go back to the beginning when the world was created and before time was created. The ancient paths began with God. Isn’t it time to take the Hand of Grace and ask for the ancient paths, the godly ways? Isn’t it time to walk like Enoch walked in close fellowship with God (Genesis 5:24)?
The Bible tells you to walk in a good way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life (John 14:6). He is the Word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 ESV)
Jesus was there before the beginning, at the beginning and He is still here today. He gave you the Bible through the Holy Spirit to guide your footsteps on the narrow path. Lay down self so your hands are empty to take up your cross and follow Jesus.
And lastly, like watchmen on the wall God sent prophets and seers to warn the people of the impending danger (2 Kings 7:13). They didn’t listen to the warnings. There are watchmen on the walls today blowing the trumpets of God’s messages and warnings. Did you hear them? What are you doing about it? Isn’t it time?