Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
You may have heard the saying, “The past is supposed to be a guidepost, not a hitching post.” It’s easy to become tied to memories of “the good old days” instead of using our experiences to find direction for the road ahead. We are all susceptible to the paralyzing effects of nostalgia—a longing for what used to be. Jeremiah was a priest from a small town near Jerusalem when God called him to be “a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5). He was given the very difficult job of pronouncing God’s judgment primarily on the people of Judah, who had turned away from the Lord. Jeremiah made it clear that he was delivering God’s message, not his own (Jer. 7:1-2). The Lord said, “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it’” (Jer. 6:16). God urged His people to look back so they could move ahead. The purpose of considering the ancient paths was to find “the good way” marked by God’s faithfulness, His forgiveness, and His forward call. God can teach us from our past that the best road is the one we walk with Him.