The Ancient Paths

Elk hunt

Imagine with me seven young men, full of energy and excitement, packing their hunting gear and heading west to the rugged wilderness of southwestern Colorado, each with dreams of shooting “The Big One.” Three days into the hunt, four of the young hunters spotted a large herd in a deep canyon. After an hour of grueling climbing and crawling, they were able to get within shooting range and successfully take down two bulls.

However, after the adrenaline had waned, they were faced with reality. In the excitement of crawling deep into the canyon, they had not considered how to transport their game. Surrounded by rugged terrain, with roughly four hundred pounds of elk meat on the ground, reality set in quickly.

There were two options for transporting their game off the mountain: a proven path or an unproven path. They could climb out the way they had entered the canyon and return to a well-worn path, or follow the valley down the mountain. The proven path appeared hard while the unproven path appeared to be smooth sailing. Which one would you choose?

Jeremiah’s Call To Repentance

Jeremiah lived in a time when the Israelites had gotten off track and were worshiping false gods. Therefore, God called him to preach repentance while prophesying judgement because of their sin.

In chapter six, we see a fascinating account of his interaction with the people. He compares their wickedness to a fresh spring which is continually producing more wickedness. The evil in their hearts was deeply ingrained and their wickedness was bubbling up from within and polluting them (vs. 7). Their hearts were hard and they had no desire for the Word of God (vs. 10). In spite of Jeremiah’s knowledge that they would reject God’s message, he boldly proclaimed the Word of the Lord.

A Temporary Fix

In the same way, our country is rejecting the Word of God at a terrifying rate. Nevertheless, the call to preach the truth has not changed. In contrast to Jeremiah’s message of repentance and judgement, false prophets of his day were proclaiming peace and prosperity. These false prophets were feeding on the people’s natural cravings.

God has placed within mankind a desire for peace and rest. By playing on these desires, the false prophets were putting bandages on gaping wounds and declaring healing. Sound familiar? This manifests itself in many ways today, as people seek peace, rest, comfort, and identity in the world’s systems, e.g. prosperity gospel, psychiatry, drugs, alcohol, sex, sports, and possessions.

However, these are only temporary bandages concealing their immense spiritual poverty. Consequently, we should heed the words of Jeremiah. “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’” (Jer. 6.16, ESV).

A key to understanding this passage is to reflect on one of the great themes of the Old Testament. God continually commanded the children of Israel to remember what He had done for them in the past. Likewise, a people who forgets the past is prone to err in the future.

The influential communist Karl Marx, knew this all too well. Marx stated, “A people without a heritage are easily persuaded.” As Christians, we must remember our heritage if we are to remain faithful to Christ in the future.

Back To The Root

Radi-Call is a new blog featuring young Anabaptist authors. It was formed with the vision of providing an outlet for Anabaptist youth who are gifted in writing. Our mission is to call Anabaptist youth back to the Root of their faith, that Root being Jesus Christ.

In the 16th century Reformation, the Anabaptists were labeled the “Radical Reformers.” They desired to see the church of Jesus Christ strip away the false doctrine and ritualism that Catholicism had acquired through the centuries and return to its Root. In a country where Christ’s message of commitment and sacrifice is often traded for cheap grace, we as young believers must pursue holiness rather than settle for mediocrity.
Radi-Call desires to encourage young people to look for the ancient path.

Understanding and learning from the past will be essential if our generation is to withstand the onslaught of Satan’s attacks against the church. As we look over the course of history, we see God’s faithfulness to His people. He has been faithful in the past; He will be faithful in the future.

What does it look like to find the ancient path? Is it recapturing the suffering love of our early Anabaptist forefathers, the emphasis on Scripture by the Protestant Reformers, or the evangelistic fire of the early church? Although there is much to learn from these groups, we must see that the path only passes through them.

Ultimately the path leads to a person. His name is Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, the true Vine. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Tendency To Drift

Human nature naturally gravitates toward the easy path. However, Christians must wage war on this tendency. The path of true discipleship requires intentional direction. On the elk hunting trip, the hunters made a critical mistake which many people make in life–they chose the easy path. They chose the unproven path which led to a dead end: large waterfalls, boulder fields, and perilous cliffs. In the end, they spent a cold night on the mountain and hiked twelve grueling miles over two harrowing ridges. Had they chosen the path which appeared more difficult initially, but had been tested and proven, they would have saved their bodies a lot of pain.

I leave you with this question: do you know what path you are on? Where does the path of your heart lead? The consequences for choosing the wrong path on the mountain were small compared with choosing the wrong path in life. The ancient path leads through a cross.

Let us follow the example of our Savior in scorning the world, overlooking our present suffering, instead looking forward to the reward and joy that awaits us in eternity. Take the ancient path and find rest for your soul!

“Timothy” Timothy Miller currently lives near Sarasota Florida with his wife Sarah. Notable interests include hunting, woodworking, reading, sports, and traveling. Timothy is passionate about the Bible, truth, and understanding history. His supreme desire is the glorification of Jesus Christ through sacrificial service.

One thought on “The Ancient Paths

  1. I think God is working in the Anabaptist circles to bring about more Radical Reformers in this generation. Looking back at the roots of our Anabaptist heritage brings about a lot of understanding in why we do some of the things we do. Some things that started out in alignment with Scripture have slowly drifted to just following tradition– some of which is no longer in alignment with Scripture. If we can look back at history and find where we as Anabaptists have strayed, we can understand why we did and hopefully align back up with Scripture. We will not be able to make an impact on the world around us unless we have more to offer than just tradition. Radical obedience to Biblical commands –regardless of what the religious leaders of the day were saying– is what started our history and impacted the world around us. Who will rise up today and do that again?

    I appreciate what you are doing on this website! I think God will use it for His glory. Keep it up!

    Like

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