Ask For The Old Paths — The Good Way…
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 words of Jesus find an echo in Jeremiah 6:16.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. ”
Are the old paths – the teachings of the Bible – important to us? If not, can we then still claim to be Christians?
I shudder at the thought that so many Christians go through life without a shred of knowledge pertaining to the matter of their salvation or to the nature of God, revealed in the Bible, whom they claim to love.
Does it matter to our salvation or can we even claim to be saved when we know nothing about such truths as: the immortality of the soul, the sinfulness of human nature; the work of Christ for us as our Savior; the work of the Holy Spirit in us, forgiveness of sins, justification, conversion, faith, repentance. If knowledge of those teachings doesn’t matter than why not throw the Bible away? It then has no value.
My heart aches for the church, a church where the majority of its members have no knowledge of the doctrines that should govern our life of faith. How can anybody glibly, if ever, recite the creed?
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord…”
How can we Sunday after Sunday repeat these words without a shred of knowledge as to what we affirm and claim to believe?
How can we find peace in the words of the Palmist when the One who speaks those words is an unknown to us?
“Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
We are strangers to God’s attributes; how can we possibly “Be still”, “relax”, “let go”? We don’t know the power of the One who says “Be still”!
The daily fare of many Christians are the “How to do books”. “Thirty days to become holy”; “Thirty-one days to know your Bible”. I hate these “How to do books”. For many people they have taken the place of the Bible. But it is of the Bible that Joshua 8:1 speaks;
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. ”
The Apostle Paul writes,
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
Imagine that to happen in 30 easy lessons. Well does Jeremiah express Jehovah’s lament;
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
But, “Nature abhors a vacuum” therefore the world fills the vacuum left by the church. It fills it with its own teachings, with its own philosophies, with its own religions; we are losing the battle for the hearts and souls of our people but cry foul and blame governments – the governments of our own creation.
Rather – those of us who still call themselves Christians, when walking by a structure of another religions in our cities, should beat their breast and confess, “I added a brick to this building; I added a bell to this temple. When reading about laws promulgate contrary to our faith, confess, “I helped, by indifference, to promulgate this law and that law.”
Shall we now not heed the voice of God?
“Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them.
Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?'”
The Book Our Mothers Read
John Greenleaf Whittier
We search the world for truth; we cull
The good, the pure, the beautiful,
From graven stone and written scroll.
And all old flower-fields of the soul;
And, weary seekers of the best,
We come back laden from the quest,
To find that all the sages said
Is in the Book our mothers read.
Let us return to the old paths – the good way – The Bible.