The Scriptorium

Seek the Old Paths

And the old truth. Jeremiah 6.1-30

Judgment: Jeremiah 4-6 (6)

Pray Psalm 132.13-18.
For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
There I will make the horn of David grow;
I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.”

Sing Psalm 132.13-18.
(Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
God dwells among us, and He will forever, to meet our needs and clothe us with His grace.
He has to us sent Jesus Christ, our Savior, and made us His eternal resting-place.
His foes are banished from His presence ever, but we shall reign with Him before His face.

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 6.1-30.

Prepare.
1. What did Jeremiah prophesy concerning Jerusalem? Why?

2. What should the people of Judah and Jerusalem have done?

Meditate.
Jeremiah’s third message to the people of Jerusalem and Judah ends with an explosive tirade – a “jeremiad.” Jeremiah’s emotion overflows as the Word from God comes to him. The coming destruction will be so complete, that the people would be better off fleeing for their lives (v. 1). New shepherds are arriving to take the flock of God where they do not want to go (v. 2); through violent war they will capture the people of Israel (vv. 3-8).

But who cares? Who listens to Jeremiah? Not a soul, because they have no ears to hear the Word of God, and no delight in it (vv. 9, 10). And this make Jeremiah furious (v. 11), so that he unloads with passion and terrifying portent against the people of Jerusalem (vv. 11, 12). He attacks them for being so covetous of lies and “peace” that they will not hear anything contrary to that (vv. 13-15). The result will be their downfall (v. 15).

Jeremiah cries out for someone, anyone to listen and look for the old paths, marked out in the Law of God (v. 16). He tried to get the watchmen to sound the alarm, but they would not listen (v. 17). So Jeremiah cried out to the nations and the earth to hear God’s judgment: His people have not listened to His Word; they have scorned His Law; and they have lusted for sweet things from afar – all the while continuing to offer sacrifices and offerings to God! (vv. 18-20) What hypocrisy! What tragedy!

So God would bring a people from the north to exert His judgment against His people (vv. 21-30).  They will be violent, cruel, and unsparing in destroying the “daughter of Zion.” The people of Judah and Jerusalem are stubborn, rebellious, hard of heart, and corrupt; and God is kindling a consuming fire to melt them down.

A day of anguish, suffering, loss, and despair is coming. And yet, Jeremiah says, it is the anguish “as of a woman in labor” (v. 24). So once again, the glimmer of hope intrudes into the most passionate denunciation of God’s people yet. It is undoubtedly this hope that kept the prophet going, when all around the people were indifferent to his preaching, and as they would soon enough show their hot displeasure against him.

Reflect.
1. What happened to cause the people of Judah to be unwilling to hear the Word of God?

2. Why was God just in bringing judgment against His people?

3. Why is it important that believers in every generation should be careful to walk the “old paths”?

“Stand beside the ways of the Lord, and ask for the eternal pathways. Find the one way, and walk it.” Notice that it says, “Stand beside the pathways of the Lord, and ask for the eternal paths of the Lord. Find the one way, and then walk it.” Through many ways, we find the one way. The same thought occurs in the gospel.”  Jerome (347-420), Homilies on the Psalms 42 (Ps. 127)

Lord, keep me in the old paths of Your Word as I go forth today to…

Pray Psalm 132.1-12.

Ask God to let His Word dwell in your richly, so that you worship and serve Him in everything you do.

Sing Psalm 132.1-12.
Psalm 132.1-12 (Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)

Remember, Lord, we pray, in David’s favor, the hardships he endured, the oath he swore,
The vow he made to Jacob’s mighty Savior: “I shall not enter through my palace door;
I shall not sleep, nor slumber my eyes favor, until I make a dwelling for the Lord!”

The word throughout the chosen nation spread, to Ephrata, and in the fields of Jaar:
“Now let us go,” the faithful people said, “and worship where our Savior’s dwellings are!
Around His footstool let our worship spread; come, gather to Him, all from near and far!”

Arise, O Lord, come to Your resting place; Your holy presence meet with us in might.
Clothe us with righteousness in Jesus’ grace, and we will shout to Your divine delight!
For David’s sake, turn not away Your face, but look upon us in Your holy light.

Remember, Lord, the oath You swore to David; do not turn back, do not deny Your Word:
“One of your sons, with your throne I will favor, and He shall keep My cov’nant evermore,
and walk within My testimonies ever, thus He shall ever rule as Israel’s Lord.”

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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