Thus said the LORD, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein…
Stand ye in the ways, etc.
I. THIS IS WHERE VERY MANY ARE. The young especially. Paths stretch out on either hand, some of them inviting, some repelling. But for the young, and for many others beside who have not yet fully chosen their path, the present is a time when a decided choice must be made. If the matter were to be settled according to the inviting or other aspect of the beginning of the ways, the one we should choose would soon be fixed upon. But we have to take into consideration the progress of the way, and, above all, the end of the way. Here the text gives -
II. GOOD COUNSELS FOR ALL WHO HAVE COME TO THIS MEETING OF THE WAYS. We are bidden:
1. Pause a while. "Stand ye in the ways." Oh, if we could but secure this thoughtful pause! if we could but induce those we are now contemplating to "ponder" a while the paths before them! if it were but realized that the way we take is a matter for consideration, add that only a fool would rush heedlessly on!
2. Investigate. As one at the meeting of the ways, but not certain which was the right one for him, would look along each way in turn, and "see" which appeared to be the most likely to bring him to his desired destination. Therefore we are bidden, not only "stand," but "see."
3. Inquire. Other travelers come along - men who are familiar with the district, who have traversed one or other of these roads themselves. Then let us avail ourselves of their knowledge and experience, and "ask" as to these ways.
4. And let your mind be made up as to the character of the way you desire to walk in. Let there be no mere vague, listless looking over all the paths without much concern which of them you take; but we are bidden, "Ask for the old paths... the good way"
"The way the holy prophets went,
The way that leads from banishment,
The King's highway of holiness." All the "old" paths are not also "good ways;" far from it. But there is an old, am! therefore well-known, well-trodden, and hence unmistakable way, which also is the good way. One purpose of the lives of God's faithful people is that, by the observation in the record of them, men may be led to ask for the paths in which these walked, feeling sure the way they took must be a good, the good way. Happy they who have been led to resolve they will find out the secret of such men's lives and make it their own. These will ask, not for any way, but for the old paths, the good way.
III. GREAT ENCOURAGEMENTS TO FOLLOW THIS COUNSEL.
1. It is implied that if such guidance be asked it will be given. For, if that guidance were not given, how could any walk in these paths? That it is open to them to do so proves that the guidance asked has been given. And so it ever will be.
2. It is promised that, if we walk in the old and good way, we shall find "rest" to our souls. After all, this is everything. If a man has inward rest and peace, heaven for him has begun below. What matters it what we have if this rest be not? What matters what we have not if this rest be ours? And it is a true rest - not a mere lethargy of the soul or sleep of conscience, but that "rest which remaineth for the people of God," the rest of faith, the rest promised by the Lord Jesus when he said," Come unto me,... and I will," etc.
IV. CHRIST HIMSELF IS THAT WAY - THE OLD, THE GOOD WAY. Let the will be utterly surrendered to him; let our faith daily look to him; then "he shall be made to us of God, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." This is what he meant when he said, "I am the Way."
"This is the way I long had sought,
And mourned because I found it not;
Till late I heard my Savior say,
'Come hither, soul, I am the Way.'" And so we shall find rest to our souls. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.