Let me know what you think about this excerpt Craig has a mandate to prepare the Bride for her bridegroom why are so many born anew spirit filled christians not walking in the fullness of joy i found alot of myself in this excerpt has this been any one elses life experience
The Ancient Paths Chapter 1
© Craig Hill
One day while reading through my Bible, my attention was drawn to the following peculiar scripture as being important:
Thus says the Lord, Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, `We will not walk in it.
As I began meditating on this verse, I wondered what the Lord meant by the ancient paths. Here we are directed to ask for the ancient paths. The first thing I did in my investigation of the passage was to look up the Hebrew word for ancient to discover its meanings. I found that the Hebrew word is OLAM. Some of the meanings of this Hebrew word are: old, concealed, hidden, perpetual, eternal, timeless, from eternity.1
When I read the words from eternity, something inside me jumped, and I remembered reading in the Bible how everything on the earth is patterned after things in heaven. The things on the earth are really just types and shadows of the things in heaven. God's ways are heavenly, eternal, timeless. Before God created man or the earth, His ways were established, and He walked in them. When God created Adam and Eve, He made them in His own image and established within them His ways: supernatural, timeless, from eternity. These were ways of thinking, ways of speaking, ways of behaving and relating to one another. Since man chose sin, he has departed farther and farther from these ways. Today we dont even recognize what these ways are any more, so we couldn't return to them if we wanted to do so.
Nevertheless, God instructs us through the prophet Jeremiah to see and ask for the ancient paths again. He tells us that they are the good way. The Hebrew word for GOOD used in this passage is the word TOV. Some of the meanings of this word are: pleasant, agreeable, happy, well-off, prosperous, great, excellent, cheerful, merry, distinguished.2 Such characteristics are the result of walking in the ancient paths of God. This scripture passage further says that when you walk in these paths, you will find rest for your soul. So many people today have very little rest or peace on the inside. Life is a constant struggle, and there is a continual torment on the inside of many. God never intended for us to have to live this way. Such a state is not walking in the ancient paths.
When God created man and placed him on the earth, He made him in His own image and programmed him with His own ways. Since that time, man has departed farther and farther from the original ways of God. Even after sin entered the world, man still lived 900 years. By the time of Noah the life span of man had already decreased to around 600 years, while in Moses' day men lived only 120 years. Today the average life span is about only 80 years. The farther away from the original ways of God man has departed, the shorter his life span has become, and the more complicated he has made his own life.
SUPERNATURAL POWER JUMP
As I continued to meditate upon this passage of scripture from Jeremiah, the Lord reminded me of a physical principle which I had once studied in a college physics class. Everyone knows that the high tension power lines that stretch across our country carry high voltage electricity. Electrical power from these lines can be accessed by physically connecting a conductive wire to these lines. However, few people know that electrical power can be induced in a conductor wire that is simply stretched parallel to an active electric line without the conductor wire's touching the line or being physically connected to it in any way. By simply being stretched parallel to a set of electric lines, a copper wire may conduct electric power right through the air with no physical connection whatsoever. On the other hand, a copper wire stretched perpendicular to electric lines will not conduct any power at all. Electrical power line workers have been electrocuted when not understanding this vital principle.
Even as electrical power jumps across free air to a parallel conductor wire, so Gods supernatural power and life can jump from Him to you when your ways are lined up parallel to His ways. The only problem is that we dont know what Gods ways are so that we might line up our lives parallel with them.
God originally established His ways in culture so that they would be imparted naturally from one generation to the next. In my study of several different cultures of the world, I have concluded that God has established a significant deposit of His eternal ways within virtually every culture of the world. When Gods ways are estab-lished within any given culture, there is no need for a specific intellectual knowledge of these ways. However, when Gods ways are systematically eliminated from a given culture over a few generations, then the people within that culture perish for lack of such knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
In our North American culture, over the last several generations, people have decided that we don't have to think, behave, or do things that way any more, so that now we honestly dont know what that way is. Consequently, the Lord admonishes us: When we once again find Gods ancient ways and begin to line up our lives and families accordingly, we will begin to experience a supernatural jump of Gods life and power into our lives.
For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, `Peace, peace, but there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; they did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be cast down, says the Lord. Thus says the Lord, Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, `We will not walk in it.
These verses, immediately preceding verse 16 of Jeremiah 6, give us some further insight into our present experience of life here in North America. Because we have not walked in God's ancient paths, many areas of our society, as well as personal and family life, seem almost overwhelming on a daily basis. Consequently, important spiritual, emotional, financial, family, and health needs seem to go unmet day after day. As a result, as verse 13 tells us, we become very self-focused and greedy after gain. When his/her needs go unmet, a person tends to become selfish and greedy. It is impossible to tell a drowning man not to be so greedy for air, or a starving man not to steal for food. As verse 13 tells us, greed and deceit are bound to operate when crucial needs go unmet.
Verse 14 states that we are not helping people when we, the church, attempt to bring healing to the brokenness of people in a superficial way. Perhaps we have thought we were helping people through speaking peace, peace, thus attempting to remove their guilt and pain without dealing with the root causes of their problems.
People in the 1990s are interested in instant solutions to problems. I have often thought that a drive-through church would probably be very popular. I could see people pulling up to the drive-through window on Sunday morning and ordering: one order of McHealing, three McSalvations, two McDeliverances and one McSermon to go, please. We are an impatient society which, by and large, is unwilling to deal with root causes of problems; we want only instant pain alleviation. As a result, many times we go through life daily making choices aimed at just eliminating the painful consequences of our last foolish choice. We rarely look far enough ahead to see the longer-term consequences of the choices we make.
SHORT-TERM FIXES ARE ALWAYS THE SEED OF LONG-TERM DESTRUCTION
Suppose a teenage girl who has been deeply wounded and alienated from her father enters into rebellion and cuts off relationship with him. She has now stepped outside the circle of spiritual protection which God designed in the family for her safety. Having been deeply wounded and hurt by her father, the young girl now goes out in search of love. Suppose she meets a young man who says that he loves her. Because of the hurt and need in her life, she allows herself to become sexually involved with him, resulting in an unwanted pregnancy. Unfortunately, her second, foolish, short-term choice of sexual satisfaction has resulted in a longer term consequence. Pressured by an unwanted pregnancy, this young woman makes a third, foolish, short-term choice by deciding to abort her baby. This action results in the long-term consequence of untold guilt and shame at having taken a life. The torment and hurt of this situation then result in a new quest for comfort and love. Another romantic relationship is entered, and again an unwanted pregnancy occurs. However, still carrying the tormenting guilt and hurt from the previous abortion, the young woman chooses this time to have her baby. She begins to pressure the father to marry her, and eventually he does.
Each choice that this young woman makes is designed to attempt only to remove the pressure of the consequence of the last short-sighted choice. After only a little time of being married, the young woman discovers that the man she has married is full of anger and very abusive. As a result, after a year she chooses to divorce her husband. Still carrying tremendous hurt and pain from the rejection from her father, the abortion, the second unwanted pregnancy, the abuse of her husband, and now the divorce, she once again sets out on a quest for love and comfort. You can probably play out the rest of the scenario yourself in a string of broken relationships and devastatingly painful events.
Verse 15 of Jeremiah chapter 6 tells us that when we make short-sighted choices attempting to bring peace without dealing with the roots of the former wrong choices, we harden our own hearts and are not even convicted of any wrongdoing. Jeremiah says that when men do this, they dont even know how to blush. This hardening of heart then becomes the very cause for their downfall and destruction. This is why Jeremiah in verse 16 urges us to seek after and ask for the ancient paths where the good way is.
MERCEDES VS. MACHETE
But they will say, `It's hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore thus says the Lord, `Ask now among the nations, who ever heard the like of this? The virgin of Israel has done a most appalling thing. Does the snow of Lebanon forsake the rock of the open country? Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away? For My people have forgotten Me. They burn incense to worthless gods and they have stumbled from their ways, from the ancient paths to walk in bypaths, not on a highway, Jeremiah 18:12-15.
In this passage, Jeremiah is again urging us to return to the ways of God. He states that forgetting God is as foolhardy as turning away from the only source of fresh water in a desert land. In verse 15 the prophet tells us that when we don't walk in Gods ancient paths, we are walking in bypaths. When I first read this passage, I could picture a man attempting to cut his way through a thick jungle with a machete in order to get from point A to point B. The distance was quite vast, and it looked as though it might take the man most of his life to progress to the goal.
On the other hand, verse 15 says that the ancient paths are like a super expressway. I could picture another man also moving from point A to point B. However, rather than hacking his way through a jungle with a machete, he was riding in a Mercedes Benz on a super highway. The second man in the Mercedes was able to reach in one day the same goal that it took the first man with the machete all his lifetime to reach. If we will just stand in the way, see and ask for the ancient paths, and begin to walk in them again, I believe that we will find ourselves riding on a highway instead of slowly cutting a path through the jungle in many areas of our lives and society. Daniel 11:32 tells us: But the people who know their God will be strong and do exploits.
Most of us have not had any time to do any exploits, because we are caught up in a survival mode. When we have to spend most of our time cutting through underbrush and fending off wild beasts, we have no time to do anything other than just survive.
When thinking of evangelism and expanding the Kingdom of God, I had always heard that each generation is responsible to evangelize its own generation. As I pondered this one day, I began to wonder who is responsible to evangelize my children and grandchildren. Of course, I concluded that this also is my responsibility. However, over the last couple of generations we have had to evangelize in each generation the children of the previous generation of Christians. We have had to set up coffee houses and street ministries to win back to the Lord the children of Christians. Why? We have thought that if we just take our kids to church, pray for them, teach them the Bible, or even put them in a Christian school, then they will grow up to serve the Lord. However, experience has proven to us that although all these things are valuable, in and of themselves, they do not adequately set the course for life.
What then is necessary to set a course in the lives of Christian young people which results in their serving Jesus Christ all the days of their lives? I believe that the answer to this question has to do with an impartation of two key qualities from the Lord at crucial times in life. In every culture God established His ancient ways of instilling these key qualities at important times in the lives of children. However, in our culture here in North America, we have forsaken and forgotten Gods ancient ways and, as a result, have failed to receive in our own lives or to impart to our children these two key qualities.
Walking in Gods ancient ways results in generational evangelism. Each generation is responsible not only to evangelize its own generation, but really to evangelize at least two generations ahead. If we again rediscover Gods ancient paths and begin to walk in them, we will virtually ensure that our children and grandchildren will serve Jesus Christ all the days of their lives.
Let us now move on to examine the two key qualities which God intended to impart and establish powerfully in each of our lives: IDENTITY AND DESTINY.