Tuesday, September 17, 2013

False hope

Jesus cleansing the temple
"Jesus Cleansing the Temple" - Artist unknown
(Jesus quotes Jeremiah 7:11 when He cleanses the temple - Matthew  21:13)

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 7:1-15

"Behold you trust in lying words that cannot profit." Jeremiah 7:8

In today's reading God tells Jeremiah to deliver an unpleasant message to the citizens of Jerusalem as they enter church ("the gate of the Lord's house" - Jeremiah 7:2). They apparently believed that they could live any way they liked and still be secure in Jerusalem because the temple was there. This belief, based on a 100-year-old prophecy of Isaiah, predicted that the Assyrian king Sennacherib would not take the city (Isaiah 37:6,7,29).*

Here God tells Jeremiah to set them straight. Unless they amend their ways, Jerusalem will fall like Shiloh—the original home of the ark and center of worship.

Amending their ways includes:
  • Dealing justly with the fatherless and widows.
  • Refraining from shedding innocent blood.
  • Ending their flirtations with idols.

I wonder how much double-think, like the Israelites indulged in here, has crept into our worship and practice.
  • Are we trusting in some religious routine, practice, or establishment to save us like these people were trusting in the presence of the temple (Jeremiah 7:4)?
  • Are we habitually offending God's will and standards by ignoring those things close to His heart (here providing justice for the poor and unfortunate) while bowing down to idols (Jeremiah 7:5,6)?
  • Do we separate our Sunday worship from our weekly lifestyle, doing things during the week that we'd be loath to acknowledge when we go to church on Sunday (Jeremiah 7:9,10)?

Perhaps we too need to seek out the "lying words" in which we've put our confidence and "amend (y)our ways and (y)our doings."

PRAYER: Dear God, I know the tendency of my heart to believe and live by the way of least resistance. Sometimes that means living by the 'truth' of the culture instead of the truth of Your Word. Help me to see areas of my life where I have put my trust in lying words and have false hope. Amen.

* Background information is from the commentary on Jeremiah by Roy Edmund Hayden, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 970.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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