Week of Monday, January 25 ­– Saturday, January 30
Ancient Paths – Man as an Instructor

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” — Jeremiah 6:16

Men are not known for asking for directions. And we struggle to admit that we may be lost. When asked if he ever got lost out in the wilderness, renowned woodsman Daniel Boone famously replied, “I can’t say I was ever lost, but I was once bewildered for about three days.” That sounds like most guys I know. Even if unsure of the right direction, our tendency is to push on, charging ahead instead of asking for help. That doesn’t usually have devastating consequences when you’re on a road trip and take a wrong turn, but when we refuse direction from God, it’s a train wreck waiting to happen.

During the time of this particular Scripture, God’s people were headed in the wrong direction, further into sin and closer to certain judgment. Yet a patient and longsuffering God was still sending prophets like Jeremiah to point them in the right direction, back to the well-worn, time-honored, trustworthy paths to all that is good and true. It’s as if they were completely lost, speeding further and further away, and Jeremiah was standing by the right road, urging the people, “Stop! Turn around! Go this way!”  

Yet God was also pleading with the people to remember their own history in this reference to the “ancient paths.” Instilling a sense of history is part of our role as the Instructor. We need to help those in our charge remember. Remember God. Remember His word. Remember His ways. Remember who you are. Stay on the ancient paths.

God’s call over and over through prophets like Jeremiah was to remember. Throughout Israel’s history, God had put down spiritual markers along the way so they would remember who He is, what He had done for them, and who they were as His people. At Passover, they were to remember how God delivered them from slavery in Egypt (Ex. 12:14). After passing through the Jordan river on dry land, they were to set up stones of remembrance so they wouldn’t forget how God had miraculously made a way for them (Josh. 4). From generation to generation, they were to recall and repeat God’s faithfulness (Deut. 6:6-7).

Remembering God and remembering His faithfulness was in their DNA, but in Jeremiah’s day, they had forgotten to remember. Jeremiah faithfully communicated all the signs, all the directions, and all the opportunities for a course correction. Yet Israel had refused to go the right way and had abandoned the ancient paths, and the consequences were devastating.

As Instructors, we are charged with pointing our kids, grandkids, and those in our charge to the ancient paths in God’s word. And when they veer off that path, we need to help them course correct. Further, it is our role to help them remember. In the face of sin, remember God’s forgiveness. In the face of need, remember His provision. In the face of hardship, remember His faithfulness. Help them remember where the good way is and help them walk in it so that they can find rest for their souls.

  • What is your current direction? Are you on the “ancient path” yourself? Are you helping those in your charge to stay on that path?
  • What have you forgotten about who God is that you need to remember? About what He has done in your life? About who He says you are?
  • Take some time to reflect on and remember who God is and what He has done in your life and in your family. Thank Him for these spiritual markers He has placed in your life. Take some time to write them down. Be intentional about finding opportunities to use these to instruct your family about the faithfulness of God.