“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16
We need the old paths of which the LORD here speaks. The “new” paths are the inventions of men, the paths of sin and the imaginary cures for the thousand ills which rob men of “rest for their souls.” The old paths are those which lead into the sanctuary of God, and which lead to the mercy-seat. They are the paths which have been consecrated by the LORD so that we may draw near to Him with a true faith.
For these old paths there is no substitute. There is only one way which leads to the Father. It is the way in which the Son reveals the Father to us, and the Mysteries of the kingdom of God. In this way the LORD leads us and concerning it he instructs us. The LORD does not give us education in the Bible. Fact is, the Bible knows neither the term nor the concept. Those who would lead us from the “old paths” are they who would bring the concept and usage of “educators” into the church. These are they who say to the LORD: we will not walk in the old way! That is the speech of the unbeliever in the church, who will not place his neck under the light burden and easy yoke of Christ. For Christ himself picks up this word of Jeremiah in Matthew 11:25-30, where among other things He says, “Come unto me all ye that are wary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” He calls the weary and heavy laden to the old and tried paths, to the only rest, refreshment and revival of the soul. Here alone the conscience is liberated from the awful sense of guilt and shame, and cleansed form dead works to serve the living God. And for this there is no substitute.
Have you noticed, my youthful readers, that Jesus is here not educating but that he is teaching, discipling us? Here we have pure instruction, building according to the architecture and pattern of the Lord. Here is the weakness which is stronger than men, and the foolishness which is wiser than men. It is the mystery of God which must be and is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. We see this by faith, and faith is the gift of God!
How shall they hear without a preacher?
Faith cometh by hearing (the thing heard in the preaching) and the hearing by the Word of God. And this bringing of the Word is not education, but it is instruction. For all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for the man of God who is instructed by it. It is profitable for doctrine (teaching) for reproof (chastisement) correction (setting our feet on the marked-out way of God) in righteousness, that the man of God by thoroughly furnished unto every good work.
Take a good look at your Catechism Work Book. It is all built-in knowledge. That is what the term “instruction” means! The term instruction is derived from the Latin: instructus, from in+struere. This means to build in. Thus we begin with the books for the little ones already. We fill their mouths with knowledge; we train, drill the little children, and dedicate this knowledge to them, and dedicate them to the Lord, teaching and instructing them in the “aforesaid doctrine” to the utmost of our ability. Thus we continue and not only instruct, build the parts of Scripture knowledge and truth into their little minds, but as they grow we also teach them constructively! Here we deal with the interrelation and meaning of the facts of history, and the relationship of the truths of the Gospel. Constructions we make when we build. We do not simply teach a jumble of facts, but trace out the meaning of the Spirit in these facts, and thus we construct. This is an element which an “educator” in our modern times, in school and church despises. We must, so they say, let the child do his own thinking, draw his own conclusions. And young people sometimes are duped by these would-be teachers in school and church, especially on the high school and college level. But the Lord Jesus does not so teach, nor does the Bible thus treat any of the children in the church. They need constructive teaching concerning all the truths of Scripture.
All constructive teaching is of the essence. When this is undermined and contradicted then we do not get a new “construction” of the Biblical teaching, but we get heresy. Heresy is a departure from some doctrine, cardinal doctrine taught by the church, and it affects like a cancer the entire body of truth. Therefore we need instruction, constructive instruction and teaching, lest we get destruction. This is the negative work of Satan. He does not desire positive instruction, and in such a constructive way that the whole Bible speaks together. He does not want the church to teach and believe the whole counsel of God.
Instruction-Construction is the order of the day.
That is asking after the old and tried ways, where we find rest for our souls. There is no substitute. Let no one deceive himself. God is not mocked! Those who say “we will not walk therein” come to ruin. They must needs listen to the educators, who would lead out of us what is in us natively. That is the lie of the motto: self-expression. The end of this is the hippie cults and skid-row! The end of the wicked is death. They never find rest for their souls, these “flower-children,” misfits in society, vagabonds in rags, with their sad chants and songs, grasping at heathen cults like drowning weaklings which have neither anchor nor compass, not even a small bark!
Do take this Word of the Lord seriously. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, ere the evil days come in which you shall say I have not pleasure therein.
For the text written above this little message to you is not man’s, it is not Jeremiah’s work. It is “thus saith the LORD!”
Hear Him heed Him!
And ye shall find rest for your souls.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 30 No. 7 November 1970