Ask for the Old Paths


Our society is an interesting one, a perplexing one, a…gasp…hypocritical one.  What do I mean?  Well, I’m glad you asked!

On the one hand, we love the old.  Just take a look at current fashion, home decor, music…vintage is all the rage.  I’m a guitar nerd, and a vintage (pre-1950 in my book) Martin Guitar would pretty much cause me to dance the happy dance for quite a few days.  Retro is in.  Thrift stores are booming, and not just because it’s cheap.  It’s cool to go old-school.

Mid-Century modern is making a comeback in furniture and design.  If you’re a Fixer Upper fan, you know “ship lap” is all the rage, whether it’s the real thing (preferable) or faux (from your favorite home center).

We left behind the big shoulder pads and double breasted suits of the 90s to return to the 1950s with the clean lines and close fit of the classic suit.  Fedoras and newsboy caps are back in style in headwear, for those lucky enough to have a head shape conducive to such things.

Americana music is huge right now, hearkening back to the pre-synth and drum machine sounds of a by-gone era.

So we love the retro in what we wear, how we decorate, and our music.  But when it comes to what we think, what we believe, we tend to eschew the old in favor of the new.  Like a pre-teen child, we seem to have a dogged sense that we know better than everyone who has gone before us.

And the saddest part of this mentality to me is not that society at large thinks this way (that’s to be expected), but rather that the church thinks this way.  In fact, much of the social “reforms” of modern Western society are making inroads in the church.

This is not good.

Now, I’m no Luddite.  I’m not talking about the use (or lack) of technology here.  I’m talking about core beliefs, core values, truth.  When we start looking like society in our beliefs and values, we have a major problem.  We are the ecclesia,  the “called out” ones.  We are to be holy, separate, different, in the world but not of it!  

God told Jeremiah the prophet:

“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…” (Jer. 6:16, NKJV)

Ask for the old paths.  The way the travelers of old moved along life’s highway.  The old paths were old because they were trusted, established, safe.  Go off into the wilderness, off the path, at your own peril.

But today, many of us are just like the people in Jeremiah’s day.  The verse above ends with: “But they said ‘we will not walk in it.’ ”  

What have you said?  Society is rapidly coming to odds with the truths of Scripture.  Why?  Because we think the “new” paths are better.  We know better.  We are a society of teenagers railing against our parents, thinking they’re old fashioned and we “gotta be free to be me.”  I used to think that way about my parents…until I grew up and realized just how smart they were.

How about you?  You gonna grow up and realize that God’s ways are better, that God’s ways are righteous, that  God’s ways are safe.  Are you going to seek out the old paths and follow them?

Or are you going to set out in the wilderness, like a bull-headed teenager, convinced that you know better?

The choices are before us daily.  Choose wisely.  Ask for the old paths.


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