I’m reading in Jeremiah these days. It’s really hard to read Jeremiah devotionally. There’s all kinds of stuff about how Israel has ignored God and how God is going to allow terrible things to happen to them. The lesson is pretty much the same – “Obey God because He knows best”.
Today, I came across Jeremiah 6:16-20
This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,(AH)
ask where the good way(AI) is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest(AJ) for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 I appointed watchmen(AK) over you and said,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’(AL)
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’(AM)
18 Therefore hear, you nations;
you who are witnesses,
observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth:(AN)
I am bringing disaster(AO) on this people,
the fruit of their schemes,(AP)
because they have not listened to my words(AQ)
and have rejected my law.(AR)
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba(AS)
or sweet calamus(AT) from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;(AU)
your sacrifices(AV) do not please me.”(AW)
I really like verse 16 “Stand at the crossroad 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.” That really speaks to me. God seems to be saying that we don’t need to be looking for some new-fangled way to “be religious” or “do church” or “follow God”. He’s told us how to do it a long time ago. We can look for the ancient ways and follow what those in the past have done and we will find rest.
Verses 17 to 20 are important because they show just how stubborn and stupid we humans can be. God tells us how we can find rest – and Judah rejects it. They continue to sacrifice to God, but be disobedient. It’s like they continue the outward activity of church and other pious works, but yet are unjust and unloving.
God wants us to have rest for our souls. Following Him is the easy way – He wants obedience rather than sacrifice. Yet, we won’t do it. But, I really want to. I want to follow those ancient paths – of prayer, of love, of following Jesus.