“‘Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, “Peace, peace!” When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time I punish them, They shall be cast down,’ says the LORD. 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.’ Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’” (Jeremiah 6.13-17).
Jeremiah ministered to a rebellious people! Perhaps this is seen as an understatement by those who know his work and the times in which he prophesied. Note some of the statements in the selected text and you will get a flavor of just how rebellious the people were to the voice of God and to His prophets. The priests and the prophets spoke of peace; but, there was no real peace. They were soothsayers of the rankest sort! Truth had no place in their repertoire inasmuch as it tended to ruffle feathers rather than calm troubled souls. Further, Jeremiah affirmed that the people “…did not know how to blush!” Their consciences were entirely seared and were incapable of producing feelings of guilt – even when guilt was present! In the last few lines of the focus text, God had set watchmen over His people and those watchmen had said, “Listen to the trumpet!” However, the people responded, “We will not listen!”
God’s remedy for any sin problem is the same! God always says, “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.” The Old Paths are those paths that are tried and true; they have been trodden by those who have gone before, and the outcome was obvious to any and all who would truly seek to know. Innovations and creativity do not find God! They may be great plusses in other endeavors, but they are destined to fail when it comes to finding our way to God. The only pathway which leads to God is the pathway that has previously been found and trodden by weary pilgrims. This pathway is the way that ends in rest; it is the way that all honest seekers hope to find.
Centuries later Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11.28-30). When it comes to spiritual matters, shortcuts and new roads do not result in rest; in fact they are transgression. God has not hidden the way home; He has blazed that trail in an unmistakable manner! The secret way is the wrong way! The Proverbs writer said, “Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard.” (Proverbs 13.15). The new road is a road to digression and unfaithfulness regardless of one’s stated intentions. The journey to God is not a journey which each one is to design for himself; it is the same journey that others have found and determined to walk within.
Sincerity certainly counts in godliness, but it only a part of the battle. Truth is also a mandate! Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14.6). Once again, the new road is the wrong road! The ONLY road that leads to eternal life is the well trodden pathway marked out by God’s prophets and worn down by surefooted pilgrims! Ask for the Old Paths!
1. What evidence is there in the focus text that the people to whom Jeremiah preached were rebellious?
2. Who first determined the way to God? How did this person “find” the way? Was it a secret pathway, or was it a pathway openly declared to be “the way?”
3. Why would we say, “The new road is the wrong road?” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
4. Is sincerity alone enough to find God? Is it enough to find ANY desired destination?
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