Friday is for Heart Songs
The following is from Kairos Journal. Jeremiah’s point to Israel was that they would have been weeping tears of repentance rather than boasting about their supposed security. Join me in prayer after you read it.
4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say,
“This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” . . .
9 Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury,
burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known,
10 and then come and stand before me in this house,
which bears my Name,
and say “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things?
Jeremiah 7:4, 9-10 (NIV)
Religious devotion without moral obedience is worthless. It is hypocrisy. The Church can never expect God to bless and establish her as long as she is engulfed by her own sin.
The Lord commanded Jeremiah to preach this message at the gate of the temple, probably at one of Israel’s great national feasts. He addressed a people who had relied on outward devotion to temple worship while living corrupt and sinful lives. In the course of the sermon, Jeremiah mentioned their breaking almost every one of the Ten Commandments (v. 9).
They had twisted one of God’s promises, making their sinful confidence all the more evil. God had said He would protect Jerusalem from the king of Assyria (Isa. 37:35); they had turned the promise into a standing guarantee. They committed all the evil they desired and hid behind the temple walls, crying: “This is the temple of the Lord! We are safe!”
God was infuriated by their arrogant rebellion and called them to repentance. If they would change their ways, He would allow them to live. If they would not, all the judgments Jeremiah had prophesied would crush them.
In God’s eyes, sin had eclipsed the Israelites’ religious observance. They had even begun to worship false gods, rejecting their very identity as the people of God. How was Israel to be a light to the Gentiles, when she was worshipping the same gods and committing the same sins as those around her?
Christians today are rocked back on their heels. They have lost the ability to engage the culture, because they have nothing different to offer. Many churches, sometimes even consciously, are influenced by the world’s values. They go about their religious routine, all the while taking compromising lessons from the world and peddling the gospel and their programs with slick marketing techniques. Nothing sets them apart, yet they continue to believe they are indispensable merely because they vainly repeat that they are “the church of the Lord, the church of the Lord, the church of the Lord!”
Such churches must repent of surrendering their position as the light of the world. God has no obligation to preserve a congregation or denomination which defiles His Name. If they insist on cozying up to the world, they should not be surprised if they find themselves, like Israel, judged and scattered.
“Lord Jesus, make our churches beacons of light to a culture living in darkness. Give us eyes to see the corruption in our own hearts, the sinful confidence we place in ourselves rather than in You. Cleanse of of the sin that infests our thinking and keeps us from sacrificing for your neighbors and boldly proclaiming the wonders of the Gospel and You our Savior. Lord, make us miserable in our sin that we might turn to You and be healed and become the healing that our world needs. Amen.”