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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Brown Thrasher (photo by Doris High)
Brown Thrasher
(Photo by Doris High)

"The Tyranny Of The New" (Part 3)
Asking For The Ancient Paths

Message summary: God called the kingdom of Judah to "ask for the ancient paths". That's a good word for every generation including ours!

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“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’” (Jeremiah 6:16). “Avoid evil and walk straight ahead. Don’t go one step off the right way” (Proverbs 4:27).

In life, as we obey the Bible we have a clearly marked path, what the writer of Hebrews calls “the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). If we pay close attention to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit’s guiding, the Apostle’s Doctrine, and "the pattern of sound teaching" (see 2 Timothy 1:13) laid out for us we have a clearly marked path. All along we will encounter many crossroads that may look appealing but we must stay on the clearly marked path.

In our main text today we again examine a powerful word from the Lord in Jeremiah 6:16. Yesterday's message focused on the phrase, "This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look'". The Lord called the kingdom of Judah and He calls us to “Stand at the crossroads and look".

Today let us consider two requests the Lord wants His people to ask, "Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. There are many crossroads in life and we must make an ongoing decision to stay on the ancient paths, seeking where the good way is, and determining to steadfastly walk in it. It is in these paths that we find rest for our souls.

Jeremiah’s ministry was to the Kingdom of Judah in the years just prior to the Babylonian Exile. His ministry essentially urged the people to repent of their sins and turn back to God. 

God called the kingdom of Judah to "ask for the ancient paths". Today the last thing most people are interested in is "ancient paths". Other versions use helpful variants, "old paths" (KJV), "the old, reliable paths" (NET), "the old, godly way" (NLT). Our culture is obsessed with the lure of the new. For so many the ancient paths have no appeal at all and are generally scoffed at. “Out with the old, in with the new” is the mantra for many.

The Precept online commentary makes this point,

“The modern evangelical church in the new millennium is in grave danger of stepping off the ancient paths (Jeremiah 6:16, Isaiah 35:8) especially as it seeks to 'emerge' from the tried and true old paths. Things have not changed much because man’s heart is still as deceitful as ever. “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9).

“Ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” The meaning here is spiritual and a call to obedience as found in God’s holy Word, which is the good way. By walking in it one will truly find rest for the soul. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

But many then and so many, many today emphatically declare "We will not walk in it". The “ancient paths” are maligned from so many sources. But we need to stay on the “ancient paths".  We must commit our lives to being obedient servants to Jesus Christ our Lord, to the entire infallible, authoritative Bible, and to the great example set for us by scores of dedicated, sold-out believers throughout the ages of the Bible and the Church.

Our earnest outlook should be, “I stand at the crossroads and look; I ask for the ancient paths where the good way is, and by God’s grace I choose to walk in it and accept Your promise that I will find rest for my soul.”

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Heavenly Father, as I stand at the crossroads of decision where I am pulled in many directions, I direct my attention to the well-worn path marked out by faithful followers of God throughout the centuries – the faithful ones who remained true to Your ancient law whose hearts did not betray the One True God. With godly determination I earnestly desire to follow in the steps of the Master that leads me to find rest for my soul on earth and secures a heavenly home where my soul will no longer grow weary or disheartened. By Your grace I move forward in the ancient path laid out for me through Christ our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Ancient Words"  Video  Michael W. Smith

I Had Fun Watching a Brown Thrasher  (photo selection by our friend Doris High who has posted her photos online for many years)

Finally today:

Backyard Bible Club (around 1983)
Early in our marriage Brooksyne taught children’s backyard Bible studies in St Marys, PA, the community where we lived in northern Pennsylvania, using a small Bible booklet of 31 Proverbs including today's 2nd text, one for each day of the month from the Good News Bible. She put the verses to music and here we are some 40 years later and the tune came right back to me as I prepared today’s message! "Avoid evil and walk straight ahead. Don’t go one step off the right way" (Proverbs 4:27). We still hear from a number of those children, now middle-aged adults of course, who still recall these verses due to the catchy tunes and animated motions Brooksyne used to reinforce them. In the photo she is seated on the other side of the flannelgraph board. Who remembers the flannelgraph as a visual teaching aid?  Especially the Betty Lukens Flannel kits that Brooksyne used for many years. Video

Brush hog
Yesterday this brush hog mowed the weeds between the road and farm field in front of our house. Seeing a brush hog at work reminds me of when I would brush hog (a colorful term) on Brooksyne's family's property in Arkansas. Typically these mowers attach to the back of a farm tractor using the three-point hitch and are driven via the power take-off (PTO). It has blades that are not rigidly attached to the drive like a lawnmower blade, but are on hinges so if the blade hits a rock or stump, it bounces backward and inward, and then centrifugal force makes it go outwards again. For many years Brooksyne's dad, Brooklyn Sherrell, brush hogged for family, neighbors, friends, and his own property, apart from his full-time truck driving for Auto Convoy.

Goat on pig's back
You never know what you will see on the Old Windmill Farm. Yesterday Ester accompanied an older friend, Nancy, and went a second time to see "David" at the Sight and Sound Theater. Since the Old Windmill Farm is only two miles from S&S they stopped afterwards and Ester captured this baby goat going for a piggy back ride on camera. From the looks of things the drooping oversized pig's belly is the reason for its swayback posture rather than the playful goat.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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