Which Way Should We Go In 2005?
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Jeremiah 6:16-19 "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in
the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good
way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they
said, We will not walk therein. 17 Also I set watchmen over you,
saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will
not hearken. 18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O
congregation, what is among them. 19 Hear, O earth: behold,
I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their
thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law,
but rejected it."
I am increasingly convinced that America has lost her way! Many of our political leaders, judges are doing that which is right in their own eyes. Even many religious leaders are wandering in the wilderness. They are rejecting the old ways of worship and bring the ways of the world into the church. By their own authority they christen them Christian and call it contemporary worship and tragically most Christians don’t even know the difference. Further, American morals are at an all time low, fueled by Hollywood’s debauchery and Internet pornography. So, what should Christians do?
I have chosen the above passage from Jeremiah 6 for the text of this New Years message, because Judah of old was in a similar circumstance as America is today. Basically, the people of Judah have lost their way and were walking in the "new ways" of apostasy. They had ignored God’s Word and rejected God’s Law. God tells them to STOP and inquire about how to get back on the right way from which they had wandered.
In this message, we are going to look at the directions that were given to Judah. I believe these are good directions for us as well. It is my prayer that we will be smarter than Judah and follow the Lord’s directions.
How many of you have heard of Geoffrey Chaucer? He was a contemporary of John Wycliffe. Chaucer lived from 1343 to 1400. He is known as the father of English literature. Perhaps his most famous work is titled Canterbury Tales.
In the section called The Parson’s Tale we read these words, which are actually based on this section of Jeremiah as they would read, for the most part, in Wycliffe’s manuscript Bible…
While Chaucer was not a theologian like Wycliffe, it is obvious that he had read and understood the Middle-English Bible.
The phrase "ask for the old paths, where is the good way" is saying ask, make inquiries and find out which paths are the old, reliable paths which God blesses. But that brings up the question, who should be asked? For Judah, the answer would be Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. These men followed God and were blessed. Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:24). Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). Abraham was the friend of God (James 2:23). For us, we add to these examples people from the New Testament - John, Paul, Peter, James, etc. and Jesus Christ himself! We can find out what these old paths are by reading our Bibles and listening to solid preachers, called "watchmen" in verse 17. May we be smarter than those of Judah of old, who had no time to find out what the old paths were or did not care, even if they knew them.
One of the most frustrating things to a pastor is to work with people to profess to be Christians and yet, when troubles come they lapse into behaving like they are unsaved. The Apostle James reminds us, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17.
Believers are called to walk in "the good way." Now, having said that let me ask you a question. When you examine your priorities, where does the Lord and service to the Lord fall? Is He in the top 10? Colossians 1:18 says, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." How does your life show that Christ is preeminent (number 1)? Does it show in your Church attendance? Are you there in Sunday School, Sunday Evening Service and Wednesday night? Does the preeminence of Christ show in your giving, in your witness and your study of the Word? Does it show in your morality? Does it show in your talk? Does it show in your values? If not, it should. James reminds us, "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" James 2:20
Look at the tragic word of those who lived in Judah – "But they said, We will not walk therein...We will not hearken. 18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. 19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it."
May we be smarter than Judah and "hearken to the sound of the trumpet" and walk in "the good way."
There is sorrow and misery for those who rebel against the Lord. We read in Isaiah 57:20-21 "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." However, there is rest and peace enjoyed in following the ways of God. Psalm 1 bears this out. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Psalms 1:1-3
Turn to Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth [note: be ever on your lips and in your thoughts]; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
Following "the old paths, where is the good way" is rewarded by God.
If you will be blessed in 2005, you will, 1) ASK:
make inquiries and find out which paths are the old, reliable paths
which God blesses. 2) ACT – "walk therein…Hearken to the sound of
the trumpet." 3) AVOID ignoring God like Judah did. Then the
result will be God’s 4) APPROVAL – "ye shall find rest for your