If you know much about me you’ll know I’ve never been one to “park and lock it” on many spots unless there is truly good reason. Most of my life has been about taking risks in creativity and stepping out of boxes that seem to have no real biblical basis for a serious disciple/follower of Jesus.
In short, change doesn’t scare me.
On the other hand there are indeed those things which matter and I am thoroughly convinced will matter in eternity. These are not about to shift due to personal desire, cultural or subcultural changes, styles, fads nor due to anything else.
Some of these for which I stake my life and which never shift are: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever, and the love, grace and will of God (and that last one can get real difficult at times in this fallen, sinful, self-worshipping world of humans) which doesn’t change because He says “I am the Lord and I change not.”
So several things have been kicking around what’s left of my brain cells the past week or so, those being “ancient paths” and the fact in the earliest years of our marriage my wife Wendi said “You were born old!”. HA! Yep. And then I thought about the phrase “ol’ skool”.
Unless our grey matter ceases to function in terms of thought, assessment and making value judgments, as long as we live on this earth we’re students. We’re effectively ALWAYS “in school” and for the believer “in HIM [Jesus] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
I often quote “At present I have in part” and “Presently we have in part” (both in the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13) meaning nobody has all the mysteries about God and the universe down folks!
All this to say I found myself connecting solid information from older people (from my youth until this very moment) along with God’s -eternal- Word (The Bible) together in “the school of the Spirit”, day-to-day lessons the Counsellor, the Teacher, the Spirit of TRUTH (as Jesus calls Him) brings our way. That is, IF we’re paying attention, IF we’re listening.
So in this context, old school is not only an old way of thinking and/or doing things, but some things just don’t change and in fact they will change -us- if we’re willing to grow and mature. Of course, some just quit. Some bail on the humility and willingness to learn. I don’t want to be one of ’em.
So two key texts kept popping up in my head this past week. These:
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 will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ -Jeremiah 6.16
Isaiah 58.11 “And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. (12.) “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
It’s important to understand Jeremiah was the weeping prophet whom God had called to call out a backslidden, self-seeking Israel. Like old Israel, you and I at times “will not walk” in His ways regardless…
It’s equally important to know the context of the Isaiah passage is about God’s view and call for fasting and prayer, the kind that moves us to caring for widows, orphans and foreigners with justice.
It’s not “thoughts and prayers” full stop w/o action.
It’s about self-denial and servanthood, humility and God-seeking even to the point of taking time out for Sabbath, that is, focus on our relationship to Him and indeed, rest. Ancient for sure -and in the rear-view mirror of most Western “civilization” including that of most professing Christians.
Prior to verse 12 (above) comes this:
(9) Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, (10) and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (11) The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Does this sound like you, me, our church, our relationship to the Lord, to those around us?
What could be brighter than “noonday”?! How clear are God’s words to us here?
This sort of spiritual and practical relationship to God and those around us in need doesn’t just happen. It’s ancient. Too ancient and often quite removed from current practice in many of our lives. But it doesn’t have to be!
God have mercy on us -and through us!
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn