I’m used to being called “old.” Teenage daughters make sure of that.
But I had never been called “old-fashioned.” Until the other day.
I was extolling the benefits of marriage to a young unmarried gal at work. I shared how my husband and I had been blessed with three wonderful daughters and had recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I hoped it might serve as an inspiration, an example worth emulating.
Instead, I was dismissed as being “old-fashioned.”
I pondered her perspective.
To her generation, monogamy is monotonous. Marriage? An archaic institution, a mere piece of paper. Traditional family values have gone the way of land lines and snail mail.
I suddenly felt out of touch and out of style.
Then the Lord brought this verse to mind:
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. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.'” (Jeremiah 6:16, NIV)
Commentators on this verse agree that the image here is of travelers who have lost their way. They’re standing at a crossroads, where many paths converge. Which way should they go? The Scripture answers by encouraging weary wanderers to choose the “ancient” paths, the “good” way.
The Hebrew word for “ancient,” or “old” (in the NLT) is defined as: (of) long duration, everlasting, eternal. The word “good” can also be translated: beautiful, beneficial, best.*
Just because something is “old” doesn’t mean it has lost its relevance. God’s principles are timeless, eternal, intended for every generation. Choosing to follow His ways isn’t outdated or old-fashioned.
It is wise.
…look into the Scriptures, they are the best directory to us… (John Gill)
The benefit of sticking to God’s time-tested paths is also laid out for us in this verse: You will find rest for your souls.
I love the way Matthew Poole describes this “soul rest” in his commentary:
…you will find God to stand by you, and be a sanctuary to you. You will find things mend with you; it will be well with you…you will be satisfied and quiet; you will not doubt any longer which way to follow…”
Isn’t this the kind of well-being we’d all welcome? The type of satisfaction we should each seek, regardless of age?
I shared this verse with the young woman the following week. I am praying that she considers it.
Each of us, at various points in our lives, will encounter figurative forks in the road, those spiritual crossroads. Let God’s reliable Word be your guide. Trust that His plans for you are good. Walk in His paths and you will find true satisfaction and rest.
Call me old-fashioned. I don’t care.
His Word is timeless.
His heart is wise.
His ways are best.
Lord, You have been our refuge in every generation. (Psalm 90:1b, HCSB)
*Definitions are from The NAS Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.