We have seen them before, old signposts.
Maybe it was in a movie
Or a trek across the countryside.
Their purpose was quite simple, to show the way when you reached a crossroad.
This is what the Lord says:
“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.”
I like the sound of that… but I find it a curious thing to ask. Why ask for the ancient paths? Maybe this connects to Psalm 23 where “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”.
Think about a person you know and greatly admire. Maybe they have the kind of marriage you want, maybe they are an incredible musician. And you say to yourself, “I want to be like that.” How are you going to accomplish that? Do you try and go it alone to learn it? What about someone who you look up to for their faith? Why not ask and look to them as a model for your own life? We live in a culture that likes to do it our own, but why recreate the wheel?
Take another look at the photo of the sheep and shepherd from Israel.
Notice the paths are not created by the existing sheep. The paths were already there, they are following the same paths that they have followed for hundreds of years. Why? Because it takes them where there is sustenance, where there is life. The paths of righteousness aren’t anything different.
Hundreds of thousands of believers have walked the paths before us. They devoted daily to spiritual practices like prayer, Bible reading, Bible study, worship and adoration of God, and fasting all because they loved God. The very things that would draw us into a closer relationship with God, deepening our spiritual foundations, are the same things that have been drawn believers to God for centuries.
“Ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls”
Ever wonder why someone who is solid in their faith can seem so at peace even when life gets painful and messy? Watch them closely and see how closely they walk with God. Ask them what things they do on a daily basis that strengthens their faith to such an extent that they handle difficult things with so much grace.
I might be wrong, but I don’t think it’s rocket science. If a spiritual mentor of mine memorizes massive amounts of the Bible and I desire to be like that as well, I am going to ask him how he does it. What is his routine? If I want to gain a solid overview of the whole Bible then I will ask someone who has a really good understanding of the Bible what they do and how they learn it.
Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. I don’t believe he made it difficult. So far, the daily Bible reading plan has been a fantastic thing for me. Even when I may not understand why or what something means, being able to read and have that connection with God through the biblical text helps me to start my day right. (Here is a link to download the Bible Reading Plan)
And I can sure tell the days I start it wrong. Follow the paths of those who have gone before.