TRUTH HAS PERISHED
Are you about to go through the motions? Don’t! Seek the Lord now with all your heart.
Read Jeremiah 7:21–29
21 “‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’
27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.
29 “‘Cut off your hair and throw it away; take up a lament on the barren heights, for the Lord has rejected and abandoned this generation that is under his wrath.
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 religious practices do you find easily become mere ritual?
The Temple sacrifices appear still to have been offered in accordance with the rules laid down in Leviticus 1–7. But, God says, don’t bother with it, I’m not interested—you may as well mix it all up together and have a barbeque (21)!
Why is God not concerned with the sacrifices that he himself ordained? He reminds them of their history—what came first, the sacrificial system or the call to love and be loved by God (22,23)? The outward acts of Temple sacrifices are of no worth when they are offered by hearts inclined to evil (24). “If you are living blatantly in a way that does not please God, then don’t expect your religious activity to please him. He neither needs it, nor wants it” (Christopher J. H. Wright, The Message of Jeremiah, 103).
As we see again and again in Jeremiah, and the whole of Scripture, what God wants above all else from his people is to be their God, to be the object of their worship and love, and for them to be a people who are his very own cherished possession (23).
“What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more” (Robert Murray M’Cheyne, 1813–1843). Consider where your heart is right now in relation to God. What would draw you nearer?
God, remind me what it means to be Your treasured possession.
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