Considering the Ancient Paths …

Rev. Steve Foss, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Sun Lakes

There are 10 common types of depressive disorders: major depression, dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder), manic-depression (aka bipolar disorder), postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, psychotic depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, atypical depression, situational depression, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Folks, there are a lot of depressed people out there! Bummer, dude …

Jeremiah is known by most theologians as “the weeping prophet.” Did he have an emotional problem? Was he chronically depressed? Was he simply a realist who refused to look at things optimistically? Perhaps it would be more definitive to describe Jeremiah’s emotional flooding as earnest intercession for his nation: land of his birth; with a city set on a hill; a people set apart for God: to be light in the darkness.

Yes, Jeremiah prophesied for 40 years to the children of Israel to turn from their practice of idolatry and return to lives of being separated for God’s purposes. Forty years of being ignored, marginalized, and mistreated.

At one point early on in his efforts to inspire revival, God breathed into the prophet these words:

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls’” (Jeremiah 6:16, NIV).

The “ancient ways” refers to those ways established in the Levitical law, the same law Jesus clarified in his sermon on the mount. The ancient paths provide clear markers for sanity in the social constructs of today: the home being the sacred center of society; spiritual community, reflecting intentional living toward holiness; business that is transacted with just weights and measures; education which reinforces the spiritual precepts of goodness and common sense; sexuality which fulfills God’s original plan for each man and woman on earth—to be made in His image, while being uniquely masculine or feminine genetically, not by some insanity of social construct; and wisdom which, in part, is gleaned from the study of the ancient texts.