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.” Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV).
How do we do what’s right and good when tolerance, complacency, permissiveness, selfishness, moral decline, and pleasure-seeking abound? How do we discover the right route for our souls when even believers are lazy and content, congregate around preachers who tell them what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3), or worse, close their ears completely and refuse to hear (Jeremiah 6:10)?
The story of the prophet Jeremiah is similar to our story. Many of the sins that brought God’s judgement on the Israelites are the sins that afflict society today. And the divine solution, prophetically declared by Jeremiah, is for us to take the “ancient paths” (Jeremiah 6:16).
So how do we walk in the way that is good and right? How do we restore/renew our relationship with God? And how do we find peace when the world is crumbling around us? This is what the Lord says:
- Look. We must see our reality for what it is. When we’re at a crossroads a choice must be made. If we continue along the road that we’ve been on, we may be headed for disaster, but if we “ask where the good way is, and walk in it, (we) will find rest for (our) souls” Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV).
- Listen. We must pay attention to the prophets and preachers who are sounding the alarm. We must listen as individuals, as nations, and as the whole earth. Failure to listen will end in our ruin.
- Learn. Sacrifices and religious rituals mean naught to God. Nothing short of wholesale repentance will suffice. Superficial external shows of penitence are repugnant to God. We must change from the inside out. We must turn back to God with broken hearts (Joel 2:13).
There’s hope for the future – but we must decide what we want the future to be. If we take the ancient paths, we’ll live in peace. If we play games with God and show contempt for His Word, the end result will be catastrophe.