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Choose the Old Path

Stephen Warwaruk | The Voice of Zion February 2022 --


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. – Jeremiah 6:16


On our way to spring services in Saskatoon several years ago, we had to go a bit out of our way to drop off a package. After that was taken care of, I decided to take a shortcut I hadn’t traveled rather than backtrack to our normal route. As we drove along, the road became muddy and we got stuck. By the time we walked to the nearest farm to get help and then got pulled out, it was too late and we missed the services. Rather than take that unfamiliar path, I should have gone back to the path that I knew would lead us to our destination.


It is the same on our journey to heaven: we want to follow the paths that will get us safely to our destination. These are those “old paths” to which Jeremiah refers in our text. The path to heaven isn’t new; it is one taken by the believers that went before us. If we choose a new path, we don’t know where that path will lead, nor do we know what dangers to our life of faith lie along that path.


In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14). The way to heaven isn’t easy to find and follow. The path is narrow. How do we find and stay on this path? God calls us and reveals the path to heaven.


If I had had a map for that trip to spring services, I could have followed it and found our way, though the route was unfamiliar. In God’s kingdom, the map is God’s Word: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).


The Bible tells us about the path that believers took on their journey to heaven. The writer to the Hebrews gives several examples of these former saints in that letter’s 11th chapter. They traveled by faith, trusting in God’s promises of a Savior. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded by them, and embraced them, and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Heb. 11:13).


The farmer who pulled us out told us that the road continued to get worse and there was no way we would have made it through. If I had stopped for directions as the road got muddier, I would have learned this and been shown a safe route. It is like this also on our journey to heaven. We have precious believing escorts to whom we can turn for direction. Jesus instructs, “He that hath an ear, Let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:7).


It is important to discuss matters of living faith with other believers. That way we can learn whether our understanding of spiritual matters is the same as theirs and whether our faith is in unity with the instructions in the Bible and teaching in God’s congregation.


In some matters, we may not understand or agree with the instruction in God’s kingdom. It is good to discuss these matters and pray that God would open them to us. However, whether God gives understanding or not, we want to hear and be obedient to that instruction. It is dangerous to our life of faith to do otherwise. This is the instruction that Samuel tells Saul after Saul disobeyed God’s instruction to destroy the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15:22,23). God rejected Saul for his disobedience.


God’s Word is alive today through the Holy Spirit in the believers and in His congregation. The Holy Spirit opens God’s Word and reveals the old paths to us.

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