"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, `We will not walk in it.' Jeremiah6:16
Some of you will probably cheekily suggest that I am showing my age here, but I think today's topic is well worth considering and I think there are fine-balances and plenty of baby-and-bathwater issues around this subject!
A wise person once told me: "Tradition is a stream we walk beside and not a stagnant pool. Sometimes the stream is shaped by the countryside and sometimes the stream shapes the countryside."
I see a lot of unhealthy revisionism going on today where it is a case of "out with the old and in with the new" simply because people think that "new is better."
Jeremiah had to challenge the people to go back to the ancient paths. Why? Not because they were ancient, but because they were *good*. There are old ways that are not good and we should learn from the mistakes of others.
Isaac Newton said "we have come this far because we have stood on the shoulders of giants." Unfortunately today we are so determined to "do it _our_ way" that we don't want to stand on the shoulders of the wisdom others have already gained in the school of hard knocks.
Proverbs 22:28 offers a similar sentiment: "Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers."
Here are some ancient good paths that are sadly neglected today:
- Loving but firm discipline of children by parents
- Teaching our children to wait and work for what they want instead of just giving them what they want.
- The value of reading
- The importance of marriage, and waiting for marriage
- The importance of living simply and within one's means
- Respect for privacy for loud in-your-face sensuality in our tv shows, newspaper headlines and tabloids.
Most importantly we seem to have forgotten the centrality of the "old old story of Jesus and His love." We seem to have forgotten the value of regular church attendance, Bible reading, prayer and service.
As a nation we are at a cross-road - may it be that we will look for the good ancient paths.