The Old Paths – Intro Lesson

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“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

It wasn’t the long trips down a busy interstate that got me excited about going on a family vacation to a nearby KOA campground when I was a little girl. It was knowing that once we got there, we would be outside pitching a tent, fishing in my dad’s flat bottom boat, and walking down some small well-worn trails – either to the showers or the club house, or to go chat with a neighboring camper.  And there was always a path that led right up to the boat dock.

I can remember looking down at my feet and seeing rocks and pebbles paving the way, with grass and ground cover growing on both sides. There was always something about those naturally made tiny paths that made me realize…I wasn’t in the city any more. I was in a special place that allowed me and my family to enjoy two things – God’s nature and a slower pace.

tiny path

But something always happens when we find ourselves journeying down a worn old path. Something that can’t really be ignored because of it’s ‘call‘ on our pace – An old path offers us something we actually need, but we fail to sometimes heed. You see, a good old path offers us the absence of chaos.

Chaos is never on the old paths.

Where do we find chaos? It’s always found where there is hurry and rush, greed and lust. When we hurry from here to there, when we rush from one thing to another, when what we choose is motivated by the greed for more or the lust of what we want but don’t have…there we will always find chaos.

We find chaos when life becomes so crowded with the noise of worldly ambitions along highways for the higher life of man-made success and prosperity. Even the ever so suburban  streets of competing with the Jones’s can merge us right onto the highways of hectic living.

There are so many paths in life. So many different paths of religion, of choice, of what is right or what is wrong. There are so many paths of beliefs and convictions for folks to take these days that causes this one critical question to need an answer –

Which path is truth and which isn’t?

Like in this photo below, all paths lead to somewhere, but where are the going? What is their destination? What tends to happen is that so many paths of life are being taken by people who are either searching for significance or scrambling for success? They want to leave their mark in life, find their purpose, and live out their dreams. They want success in work, career, marriage, and parenting. And so the hunt for the right path that will lead them to all the above is their course.

I get emails daily  –  literally daily   –  or see messages pop up on FB or other social channels that says: “how to get more contacts” “How to Grow Your Email Base” “5 Decisions To Strengthen Your Influence” “How to Get His Attention and Keep It” “What Your Son Needs From You” “Cooperating With CoWorkers” … on and on there is this constant streaming of “how to’s” in so many areas of life that point people (you and me) to A PATH that is guaranteed to make an impact, a good and solid impact, on our life.


Paths are everywhere.

So many paths are in the world today all going in a thousand directions and the people who are on them …. are too!

When we abandon the old paths, we will one day find ourselves living among the hectic highways of life.

hwy 2

A highway does offer direction and course, but it also offers speed and the constant demand of our strictest attention to everything around us. When I merge onto a highway, I naturally grip my wheel a little tighter, make sure all mirrors are at a good setting for that particular road, turn the radio down or off, give my seat belt a little tug and then…I drive with all senses locked! I may be driving, but I’m definitely not cruising. Because driving at high speeds among other busy highways and expressways is not a place to kick back and enjoy the ride. It’s a place to sit up and engineer the roads.  But like in this photo, there are people going here, there and everywhere … all at the same time.  It’s busy. It’s productive. And it’s literally getting folks from one point to another.

hwy 3

And this lifestyle is one that tends to bleed on into the night for some people.

hwy 4

Hurrying here, rushing to there, burning the midnight oil to make it gets done! And if you are a wife and/or a mom reading this, a “highway kind of life” can easily look like this:

Make sure that I — write that blog, post that photo, (but first make double sure I edit it), get those orders in, sell, buy, sell some more, read to my kids, play with them (and enjoy it!), fix dinner, keep goin’, clean and pick up the house, work my career, serve in my church, dream big, and then dream bigger, and then dream even bigger, and by all means ‘make it happen’, don’t be lazy, compete because competition is healthy, keep goin’, have a calendar full of productivity, be real, be friendly, make time for God, exercise, reply to emails, eat healthy, update all social medias, help at school (in every way I’m asked), stay current to the latest technology and use it!, don’t fall behind, make time for my husband, (and enjoy it!), keep goin’, don’t drop a ball, wear a hundred hats, be there for others, stay in the know and live in the now, put in unlimited hours of work each day, and then … etc. etc. etc.

Ladies, what I just described is not in any way what Jeremiah 6:16 refers to as “the old/ancient paths.” That is a way of survival that has us on the highways of hectic living! It’s a most common path these days, (disguised so well behind ‘this is normal for me’ living) however, … … And it is time that someone blows the whistle!

Because of where I’ve been with the Lord this past year – I’M BLOWIN’!!!

It is time to understand down into the bones and marrow of our day-to-day reality what God meant when He said,

“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

The first instruction He gives in getting us off this highway and onto the old path is this –


Crossroads 2 paths with banner

You see, we all have this crossroad before us. This place where we must choose. There is a path we can take that will lead to one destiny and there is this other path that leads to another destiny. And that is the whole point of the paths – it is always about where they lead “to.”

But we must first take the time to stand at this crossroad. This place of decision. This place of direction.

As a country pastor once said, “A path is the direction that determines your destiny.” It’s not living with just good intentions, good dreams, good ideas or even good prayers and beliefs. It’s living with solid and biblical choices in the areas {paths} of family, financial living, marriage, parenting, dating, career, etc. Like I was saying earlier,….in our generation, there are so many paths. So many ways we can go. So many beliefs we can choose and act on.

When areas of our life are on what God calls, “the ancient (old) path,” then we are on the good path. The really good and godly path. Where we want to end up is determined by the path we choose. Not the path we just really desire.

Rip and I loaded up the car one morning with all our beach gear and we were headed to St. George Island. We were so ready to go on a vacation to a private island and just “be.” Just the two of us. We desired it big time!! We dreamed about all the fun and R&R we would have, and we prepared by putting our money into our wallet to help pay for it all. We were ready to go!  But what if we got in the car and instead of heading south through Alabama from TN, we put our car on the interstate heading due North, toward Kentucky? We could drive all that way wanting the beach, craving the idea of sand between our toes and even talking about it the whole way because it’s what we dreamed of! But no matter what, as long as we were on the wrong path, we simply would. never. make it. to those soft fluffy towels in the condo! We would be on the wrong path, and that wrong path would not get us to our destination.

If we are on the wrong paths for our marriage, for our home life, in the way of handling finances, in parenting, in how we serve in ministry, how we work our businesses … we will never get to the destination that is right and good for us.

Decision determines direction, and direction determines destiny. 

This is why God first says, “stand.”  We need to slow down long enough, stop going and moving and one of the best decisions we can make is to do what God says to do first – stand. Standing is a position that allows us to be ready to move, … but not yet.  Standing is literally being still. Not walking. Not moving one iota. It’s simple. It’s standing at a still.

He is telling us – “Be in ready position to move, but move AFTER you have made the good decision.” The good decision is one that is based from Scripture. It is when our path is being lit up by the Word of God. He knows that His Word lights our path, so when we stand at the Crossroad, we need to be still and move when the peace of His Word lights the next step.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path,” Psalm 119:105.


And the wonderful truth in all this is — the old path, which God calls the good path, is for every single one of us. Single man. Single woman. Young married. Senior. For children, grandparents, single parents, siblings, and the family as a whole. We all belong and are beckoned to the good path.

path collage

There is something about knowing you are on the right path, the old path of God’s perfect ways for our life, that literally creates a peace that can’t be conjured up.  He said that if we would do just that – slow down and give thought and prayer to our course of life – (the ways we are living), that just standing in that position of silent and contemplative submission is one that sets us on a brand new path!

I don’t know about you, but this past year I’ve been able to search and pray through “the old path” that God has wanted for me, for Rip and for our family. It’s a path that is not well traveled. It is quite narrow, but it sure does offer a pace of living that is just what God promised – peaceful.

So heres’ what I’d love to ask you to do with me before we really plunge into this bible study. Take some time to do something so practical and I hope doesn’t sound too silly to you. But go grab your tennis shoes, lace them up and … go for a walk on a trail or any well worn path. If you live on acreage, walk through the trees. If you live close to a nature trail, take your spouse or a friend with you and go enjoy the walk. Find a place that will allow you to get “off the ride” and get “on the path” and just … walk. Breathe in the sights and sounds of God’ nature. Enjoy the whispers of quiet and embrace the worship of God that He is offering you. Pay attention to the fact that you really don’t have to pay attention, but instead your attention is arrested by His presence.

Simply, go enjoy a walk on a path.

Then, when you get home — take a journal or notebook and write down what you experienced. What was it about the walk on the path that meant the most to you. What is it about this one blog post that is resonating with you? Have you been on quite a highway lately, and ready to get off? Are you wanting one destiny but are on a path that you clearly know is not the path that will get you there?  Spend time really “standing at the crossroads” and really do a Christian practice that is SO important, but few every really take the time to do – and that practice is this –


Take time to think. 

To simply give thought to what it is this whole desire of walking on the old path is speaking to you. I have to tell you, when I read Jeremiah 6:16, there was something in me that just slowed down and I thought…

“Oh, Lord, as I stand here at this crossroad, help me choose the old path. I long to walk with You all the days of my life on the old good path Your Word has made possible for me. It’s not the pace of the world to walk on such a path, but it is Your pace of peace and that is enough for me.”

I want to smell Your roses,

And drink in Your streams;

I want to hear the rustling of Your branches,

and then … fall to my knees.




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lisa rippy

No Comments

  1. Kathi Ridge on April 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Perfect timing! Thank you!

  2. Shelly Kaffenbarger on April 19, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Beautiful verse and thoughts, thank you.

    • Lisa Rippy on April 25, 2017 at 9:03 am

      So thankful you’re here Shelly! Praying for you as you walk with God on the old paths. (smile)

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