Ancient Paths

My father loved nothing more than a new ‘short-cut.’  He hated driving on the interstates in Atlanta and avoided them like the plague.  As an office equipment salesman, he had a good sense of the layout of the city, but his love of a new ‘short-cut’ was proverbial in our family for ‘long dangerous route that ended up getting us lost.’  On vacations, my older sister would act as navigator so when my dad could not resist the urge to ‘take the road less traveled’ she could get us back to the ‘road more reliable.’

Like my father, society today is obsessed with finding the new path, the fast-track, the short-cut.  Our evolutionary mind-set has deceived us into thinking that we are very different men than those who came before.  After all, our problems are modern problems, not like the ancient concerns of our forefathers.   Surely modern problems demand modern solutions – new paths, not the worn and rutted path of those traveling ahead of us.

But this quest for novelty pervades our thinking beyond the realm of technology into our morality and spirituality.  We clamor for a new ethic, more flexible and adapted to the shifting mores of men.   Progressive political candidates habitually call for the Church to hitch its theology to the wandering star of public opinion, rather than remain tied to some outdated idea of transcendent and absolute truth.  But what if our problems are not new?  What if they are just more technologically advanced versions of the same old problem – the problem man has faced from the very beginning?  It is a grave danger to view our problems as modern problems in need of modern solutions.  As one theologian has noted, “what modern problems need are ancient solutions.”

The men of the prophet Jeremiah’s day faced social, spiritual, and national ruin.  Caught in the crossfire of colliding world powers, they looked to modern solutions — globalism, multi-culturalism, and nationalism, rather than return to the ancient paths found in God’s Word.  They were masters of compromise and political intrigue.  Pragmatism was their only core conviction.  ‘Go along to get along’ was their motto.  But to no avail.  Their departure from God’s Word led them further and further from the only path to peace.

Though the people left God behind, He did not leave them.  He sent His Word and His prophet, Jeremiah, warning them not to follow the empty traditions of their fathers or adopt the modern mantra, ‘coexist.’  Jeremiah charges them sternly.

 Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’  Jeremiah 6:16

Take note of their response – “we will not walk in it.”  Sound familiar?  How like us, whose pride scoffs at anything we did not devise.   “How foolish,” we say, “to look to at outdated ideas like faith and repentance.  How narrow-minded and unscientific to believe in the God of the Bible.”  We must look to ourselves.  Solve our own problems.  But the only solutions to uniquely modern problems are the ancient ones revealed by a God who stands above and beyond time.

Join us this Sunday, June 23, as we look at the words of Jeremiah and consider how this ancient preacher speaks to our modern concerns with amazing relevance and clarity.  We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock.  Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.