I HAVE BEEN WATCHING!
What do you have to be thankful for today? Spend time giving thanks to God for his goodness to you.
Read Jeremiah 7:1–20
False Religion Worthless
7 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Stand at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message:
“‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 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!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
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? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.
12 “‘Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’
16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking? declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?
20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place—on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land—and it will burn and not be quenched.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat feeling does the fact that God is watching you bring forth? Are they feelings of delight or discomfort?
Picture the scene: Jeremiah, by now well-known but not well-liked, is told by God to go and stand at the busiest point of the Temple and declare the sins of the people and God’s coming judgment. It is very possible that this is a lengthier version of the message Jeremiah shares in chapter 26. If so, he’d not forget that day—he only just escaped with his life! Notice the two points Jeremiah makes in verses 3 and 4, which are expanded in the rest of the sermon. The people are trusting in a lie (4) which sounds awfully like the truth: “This is the temple of the Lord” which, of course, it was. But it—the building and associated rituals—had become the object of their trust (14). A hundred years before God had saved the Temple and Jerusalem from an invading army (Isa. 36,37). But now the people thought they could live however they liked and still expect God’s protection (9,10). Not so, says God, “I have been watching!”
What words or traditions do we repeat again and again that make us feel safe, but actually belie complacency, and give us a false sense of security? Places, institutions, organizations can all be used powerfully by God for his kingdom, but is our allegiance to them rather than to the God whom they were founded to glorify? Is that institution or organization now letting other “gods” rule its beliefs and values?
“Where are the souls white-hot for God because they fear His holy name and presence and so live with eternity’s values in view?” (Leonard Ravenhill, 1907–1994). How can you battle complacency in your life?
Jesus, fill me with a hunger and passion for more of You.
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