Sunday, October 29, 2023

Sayings in Jeremiah (2) Seek The Old Paths

 By Ron Thomas

    There are some sayings in Jeremiah that are better known than others. One we mention today will be one of those sayings. In Jeremiah 6:16 we read,
·       KJV: 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.
·       NET: The LORD said to his people: "You are standing at the crossroads. So, consider your path. Ask where the old, reliable paths are. Ask where the path is that leads to blessing and follow it. If you do, you will find rest for your souls." But they said, "We will not follow it!"
·       Brenton: Thus, saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths of the Lord; and see what is the good way, and walk in it, and ye shall find purification for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in them (English translation of the Septuagint, or Greek Old Testament).
Context: Jeremiah was the Lord’s prophet who had placed on him a burden so heavy that it’s a wonder he held up under it, and he only did so because of his loyalty to the Lord. His burden was “simply” to preach the Lord’s word to a people who did not want to hear it, as can be seen/read at the end of this verse. The Lord called on His prophet to go where the people were and say to them what they did not want to hear. Knowing this, Jeremiah heard the Lord’s will, and he went. He went to a stubborn people, and he called on them to seek the “old paths.” What are the “old paths” that Jeremiah spoke of? This is a reference to the same thing Isaiah said when he preached to stubborn people. “To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them” (8:20, ASV).
    The Lord appealed to them to hear His word and be saved from the coming destruction. Sadly, they chose a different path.
    There is an application for us in this: Some Christians seek to be more like the religious world around, just like they were in Jeremiah’s day. Those loyal to the Lord, however, will not tread upon a path that has a destination full of uncertainty. To seek the old paths is to stay with the Lord. Don’t go to the right and see how exclusive you (we) can be, and don’t go to the left and see how inclusive you (we) can be. The religious world will do what they can to dictate to you (us) what should be, but only the Lord has authority in these matters. There are many solid folks in this world who genuinely want to follow the Lord’s will, and they try to the best of their ability; be there to help and encourage them but stay with the old paths as you do. As the passage says, those who do will find rest for their souls.

- Ron Thomas preaches for the Church of Christ at Rio Grande in Bidwell, OH. He may be contacted at

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