9/26 Jeremiah 6:16

16 Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'"

There is a cycle that occurs in nations that have the revealed Word of God. They begin by breaking away from tyranny, crying out to God for help. He delivers them and they seek to do His will in gratitude for their deliverance. When they live according to His will, He blesses them physically and spiritually. As time passes they begin to focus on the material blessings and forget their beginnings. They begin to lose sincerity and vitality in their worship. The next step is to just go through the routines of worship while living for riches.

That is when God must remove the riches and the blessings to bring them back. Sometimes He does this through an enemy nation, and other times He uses adverse weather conditions. The voice of the prophets reminds the people how far they have fallen. The depth of their falling away determines how long it takes to turn them back to God.

This helps pattern helps us understand what is meant by "the ancient paths." When the children of God came into the land under Joshua's leadership, they wholeheartedly served the Lord, obeyed His commands, and were blessed. Their souls could once again be at rest if they would only listen and return. Such a return had happened many times in the past.

In Jeremiah's day they heard his prophetic warning. The enemy was at the gates, but they refused to return to those ancient paths. They were unwilling to leave their idols and return to the Lord. They left God no choice but to send them into captivity (Jeremiah 12:17).

Consider: God will always warn us when we stray, but we must be willing to return to Him. Returning to Jesus is the only place to find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).