‘’But you said, ‘We will not…’ ’’ (16b, 17b).
Just because something is old, that does not of necessity mean that it is bad or wrong or defunct! The ‘’ancient paths’’ that wend their way through the landscape of Scripture and take us into a Biblical lifestyle are ‘’good’’. It is also true to say that ‘’the good way’’ is good for you (Romans 8:6). Life and peace lie on the highway of holiness. But we can stubbornly resist what is good for us. This was a further call to repentance, but the opportunity was not taken. Every day (and many times in a day) we ‘’Stand at the crossroads…’’ There are choices to be made. It is one thing to know ‘’where the good way is’’. It is quite another to ‘’walk in it.’’ (Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Matthew 7:13, 14; Matthew 11:28, 29.)
The judgment that befell Jerusalem and Judah did not come without warning (17). God always gives plenty of warning before taking disciplinary measures. There was clarity of message from the ‘’watchmen’’ (i.e. the prophets), but it was met with stubborn refusal: ‘’…We will not…We will not…’’ (16b, 17b). ‘’But they said, ‘Nothing doing. We aren’t going that way.’ I even provided watchmen for them to warn them, to set off the alarm. But the people said, ‘It’s a false alarm. It doesn’t concern us.’ ‘’ The Message.
There can be no doubt that the big issue here is the rejection of God’s Word and ways (18, 19). When you push Him away, you ultimately bring disaster on yourself; you reap what you sow. They were going to become an object lesson to the whole earth of what happens when you insist on going your own way. As God speaks to you through His Word today, choose the path of obedience. Any other road will lead you where you will not want to be. You might enjoy the route; you will not like the destination! ‘’ ‘Pay attention, earth! Don’t miss these bulletins.’ I’m visiting catastrophe on these people, the end result of the games they’ve been playing with me. They’ve ignored everything I’ve said, had nothing but contempt for my teaching.’’ The Message.
This is one of many places in the prophetic books where God shows that outward forms of obedience alone do not please Him (20). He is looking for the sincere worship of our lives; heartfelt obedience to His Word. A veneer of religious activity will never please Him. ‘’Your burnt sacrifices in worship give me no pleasure, Your religious rituals mean nothing to me.’’ The Message. (See also 1 Samuel 15:20-23 and Isaiah 1:10-17
‘’Seek ‘’the old paths’’ of the Word. Do not try to repeat ‘’the good old days,’’ but go forward to do God’s will in your day.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.501
Prayer: Don’t let me have my own way, dear Lord. It will be bad for me and I will regret it. Save me from myself. Most of all, I want to always live to please you