There always seems to be push to abandon the old ways and rush forward to embrace that which is new and exciting. Things that have been around for a while lose their appeal, especially for folks who are obsessed with pleasure. And that's our society today, isn't it?
It's also the case that the old ways - the "traditional" institutions, you might say - have been around long enough for us to discover all the flaws. The up-and-coming system of thought or institution still looks perfect to us, or at least better than the old.
From fashion styles to social movements, from diet plans to philosophies, short-sighted people obsessed with the here and now choose the excitement of what's coming over the wisdom and experience of the past.
In 2 Chronicles 11, we see a major transition taking place in the kingdom of Israel from what we call the "United Kingdom" (of Saul, David and Solomon) to the "Divided Kingdom" (Israel in the north and Judah in the south). When it was time to appoint Solomon's son, Rehoboam, to be king, the people warned Rehoboam that if he didn't agree to make certain changes, they weren't going to support him as their king. When he failed to comply, they said, "What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to your tents, O Israel! Now see to your own house, O David!" (2 Chron. 10:16). Granted, Rehoboam handled the whole situation poorly, but the people were quick to abandon their loyalty to the Davidic line - the royal line God promised to bless - in favor of something new and "more promising." They went on to make Jeroboam their king.
But here's what I find fascinating.
When this transition took place - and when it became clear that Jeroboam was not going to be a godly king - "those from all the tribes of Israel, such as set their heart to seek the Lord God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers" (2 Chron. 11:16). This included the Levites and priests as well as an untold number of people who were committed to truth.
I'm not suggesting that we should cling stubbornly to traditions, nor am I saying that new ideas never have a place at the table. What I am suggesting is that, like the Hebrews in this text who migrated to Jerusalem, we shouldn't be so quick to embrace what is new simply because it looks and sounds better. Rather, we should be willing to take a firm stand upon truth, even when it is couched in a system that seems outdated and drab.
I'd rather cling to the proven truth of old, even if there are traditions and people surrounding it that are flawed (i.e. Rehoboam) than hastily embrace the glitz and glam of the present (i.e. Jeroboam) that not only lacks truth, but will eventually develop the same warts and blemishes that I might find so repulsive with the "old" now.
We have to develop foresight and maturity like this or we will be like "children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:14).
I can't help but agree with the prophet Jeremiah who once said, "Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it" (Jer. 6:16).