Ancient Paths Are Ripped Up :: By Ron Ferguson

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see, AND ASK FOR THE ANCIENT PATHS WHERE THE GOOD WAY IS, AND WALK IN IT, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:17 “I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet.’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ Jeremiah 6:18 “Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Jeremiah 6:19 “Hear, O earth. Behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their plans because they have not listened to My words, and as for My law, they have rejected it also.”

(a). VERSE 16

Here we have an important verse in 16, for its universal truth applies to all ages. Through Jeremiah, the nation was told to stand in the ways, that is, where the paths meet, and there observe, and then he had to ask for the ancient paths (“old paths” AV), literally “the eternal paths” which were declared to be where the good way is, and then he had to walk in that way.

This is according to the word of God, so it is most valuable for us. There were many paths being mapped out by the people, all criss-crossing and confused, but among these paths were the good ones, the ancient paths, the ones designed by God. The early Christians were known as “the people of the way,” and they followed the way given to them by the Lord Jesus Christ and by Scripture. That is the ancient way because it was initiated by God, and His way is righteousness. Scripture speaks of a way that seems right unto man, but the ways thereof are the ways of death. That is man’s self-religion, his own way of attaining God, like Nimrod building in arrogance and disobedience.

There are the ways of man and the ways of God, and they are so different because one leads to eternal death and the other to eternal life. The ancient paths were the ones charted by God for the good of human beings and declared through His holy patriarchs of old and through His Law of old. These righteous men of the past walked in those ways as they followed God, and we don’t have to guess how to do that because the instructions are clearly given by God Himself. We only need ears and/or eyes. But Judah chose to forge new paths inspired by human wisdom and sin. Those paths lead to death, and Judah sadly encountered that.

The early Christian writings of The Didache and The Epistle of Barnabas feature The Two Ways: the way of life and the way of death. Psalm 1 is built on the two ways: the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly. There is God’s way, and there is Satan’s way. “This is the way. Walk ye in it.” The way of God is clearly defined in scripture that has laid the ancient landmarks for us, placed there by God, and any man who dares remove them will answer to God one day in the lake of fire. If anyone dismisses God or tampers with God’s righteousness, he and she will be accountable.

Once deviation occurs from the declared path given by God, then man has cut his own path in the wasteland. Today, we live in a world with an unbelievable number of paths, ones forged by individuals, but worst of all, those legislated by Governments and by any in authority. As a result, God’s ancient paths on marriage, gender roles, homosexuality, punishment, righteousness, creation/evolution in the school curriculum, and so many more have been either reversed or expunged.

(Americans, take note also – this applies to you, or it will soon). It is alarming the way successive Governments in Australia since 1975 have been overthrowing the edicts along the ancient paths as they bulldoze them out, and is it little wonder now that the nation is lost and is in all sorts of economic, moral, and terrorist problems. Gentleness and discussion are replaced by belligerency and treacherous arrogance. What is declared to us through the Bible has been mapped through the collective wisdom and experience of the righteous men of the past with God’s instruction, but modern man glibly dismisses all that for his own modernity.

Even the ancient paths of culture and history have been slaughtered. Artistic talent and artistic discipline up to the end of the 19th century produced works of absolute majesty in line with appeal and skill, so grand it was as if the hand of God had painted the works. Whether it was a biblical portrayal or a portrait or landscape, the works appealed to goodness and a sense of harmonious balance. But in modern art, so called, anything goes, even to the most disjointed and confronting rubbish, and it is declared art.

People like Andy Warhol produce a whole canvas of repetitive baked bean cans, and it is considered a masterpiece. Others who are abstract in their brains because of the maze of modern paths they tread (along with altering drugs) produce such weird abstract paintings. Others like Jason Pollock can throw paint at a canvas while drunk, and that is considered art, and woe betide you if you criticize it.

I was in the Australian National Art Gallery in Canberra, and on one wall were two very, very large framed “paintings” or “works of art,” maybe 4 meters by 4 meters (13 feet square). Both were painted white all over, and one had a straight vertical strip of a color traversing it. The other was the same, but a differently colored strip. It must have cost the taxpayers a lot for that, and they call that nonsense art. Indeed, we have lost our ancient ways.

The ugly is promoted over the appealing; the discordant is promoted over the harmonious; the darkness is promoted over the light; and the occult is promoted over the godly. That is our world at the end of the Church age.

Music used to be a relaxing and harmonious craft but has become a discordant, grating cacophony in many cases, with lyrics in the rock and heavy metal area being perverted, satanic, and a way to promote drugs, sex, and homosexuality. Classical music was trampled by those walking the new paths, and we have even a form called “minimalism” like the drivel vomited out by their chief exponent, Philip Glass, in the United States.

Literature also has been affected with sensational, perverted, blaspheming, foul-mouthed trash pumped out by writers and publishing houses chasing the quick dollar, and some of these degenerate books have become part of the High School literature curriculum. Rarely do you see a modern, well-constructed and crafted novel based on decency and skillful writing like the classics of the past. And those great classics of yesteryear, along with much of the great English literature, have been discarded.

The second half of verse 16 is where the Lord says that the ancient paths are the good way. When the Bible does this, it means that all other ways are bad. There are not many ways to God; there is only ONE. The Lord taught that, too, with the broad way and the narrow way, and the narrow way will always be the unpopular way. The broad way is broad because it has a multitude of paths, ones people make for themselves to appease their own fallen appetites. But the narrow way has only one path, the ancient one, and it is that one God tells Judah to seek and to travel on.

If they walk in that ancient path, they are promised rest for their souls. They had no rest and were in turmoil; but they loved their turmoil, for it meant deception, and they were practicing all sorts of evil that they would not relinquish. So, they paid no attention to God’s promise of rest for their souls. Would they listen, though? Would they listen to the gospel and the way of righteousness in The White House? Would they listen to the same in The Lodge (residence of the Australian Prime Minister) (especially as there they hate Israel)?

What Judah was promised in Jeremiah’s messages by Jehovah was exactly what the Lord promised to Israel when He was with them – Matthew 11:29-30 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy and My load is light.”

The Lord Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He is the ancient Way, the Path in which to walk. The way for Judah is Jehovah’s way, and the way for Israel is the LORD’s way, and the way for us is just the same. It is all exactly the same way, the way to rest and peace, but Judah defiantly said, “We will not walk in that way,” and chose to continue in their own ways, paths that led to destruction not long after.

I never cease to be amazed at the attitude of people in the Tribulation that will come. Just imagine for a moment that you and a companion are hiking in the bush/countryside, but you have to go along a narrow path that treks on the edge of a cliff. As you proceed, parts of the path start to crumble under your feet. You go a bit further, and small portions of it begin to fall away and drop about 1500 meters downward (about 4800 feet). What do you do? My guess is that, assessing the situation, you are going to retreat, return, go backward. Using the word correctly, I could say, “You are going to repent,” a word that means you will change your direction.

Biblical repentance is changing your direction, turning from sin and to the Lord. In the Tribulation, when one sees the dramatic things that are happening, what would you expect the people would do?

At the end of chapter 6, there will be a great earthquake, the sun turning black like sackcloth hair, the moon becoming like blood, the stars falling to earth, the sky will split apart, and all the mountains and islands will move out of their places. All that is in the beginning of the Tribulation, not the increasing, immense judgments that will follow. What would you think the people would do? Cry to God? Repent? Well, the answer is NO. They desperately try to hide, but they do not repent.

Revelation 6:15 “The kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.”

This state continues even through fire, hail and blood being cast to earth, and 200 million of the most horrible demons being released on earth. How would that affect the people’s repentance? Do they all come to the Lord? Here is the answer:

Revelation 9:20-21 “THE REST OF MANKIND WHO WERE NOT KILLED BY THESE PLAGUES, DID NOT REPENT OF THE WORKS OF THEIR HANDS, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood which can neither see nor hear nor walk, and they did not repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their immorality, nor of their thefts.”

The expression in Psalm 125:5 is “those who turn aside to their crooked ways,” which indicates a deliberate choice. When Jeremiah was setting out the charges against Judah, he spoke with the inspired severity of the Lord, for Judah had pursued the vile sin of idolatry and was corrupt through and through. One thing said to them was this – Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus says the LORD, Stand by the ways and see, and ask for the ANCIENT PATHS where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls, but they said, ‘WE WILL NOT WALK IN IT.'”

The nation had turned aside to crooked ways but they did it deliberately. All men will be held guilty who have sinned because their choice was to turn aside. All sinners will be led away with the doers of iniquity and will end in the lake of fire.

There is an expression in the Jeremiah verse that is very important in our current wicked times – “ancient paths.” The ancient paths are those mapped out by God when he said, “Walk in them,” and they are paths of stability and certainty because they are God’s paths for His creation. Our nations have bulldozed out the ancient paths that were set for us by more decent legislators and leaders in the past. Every moral statute of God has now been trashed – marriage, creation, birth, sexuality. The ancient paths have been obliterated, and wicked men have replaced them with crooked paths. We live in a civilization waiting for judgment, and it is very fast approaching.

Proverbs puts it another way – Proverbs 22:28 “DO NOT MOVE THE ANCIENT BOUNDARY WHICH YOUR FATHERS HAVE SET.” Those boundaries were set by God through their fathers. It was such a criminal offense in ancient Israel to remove the boundary pegs or relocate them. God affirmed that – Deuteronomy 19:14 “You shall not move your neighbour’s boundary mark which the ancestors have set in your inheritance which you shall inherit in the land that the LORD your God gives you to possess.”

Today, “criminal men and women” have removed the boundary marks/pegs that God set as the standard for behavior and righteous living. The filth of homosexuality is being rammed down our necks, especially in Australia. Children’s sexuality is being destroyed. Marriage has been perverted. Unborn lives are being murdered. What will God do about it? Well, just for the present, very little because the storehouses of God’s wrath are almost filled and very soon will overflow. Then the Rapture will happen, after which the storehouses of wrath will be emptied. That will be in the Tribulation.

The rulers of Judah did it, the same turning to crooked ways, and this is what Hosea said – Hosea 5:10 “The princes of Judah have become like those who move a boundary. On them I will pour out My wrath like water.”

Yes, wrath is coming, but after it, just like after the wrath of the flood, the Messiah sets up His kingdom in the Millennium in the new age, and righteousness will reign. Then the ancient paths will be fixed, and man will not be tampering with them to destroy them. The boundary markers will be justice and peace, and men will not remove the markers.

Come, Lord Jesus!