WOW. We start chapter 7 with a bang! We have been reading this message for months and we don’t have many weeks left so it is time…it is time to dig in, let the Holy Spirit speak to YOU (the message is not for a friend, an athlete, a politician, a co-worker…BUT YOU)
Picture Jeremiah standing at the gate of the temple as people are coming in to offer their sacrifice. Maybe it was during a Festival (I have no idea if it was) and the gate was crowded.
And he says to them:
“‘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 forever 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.
You don’t need me to make an application of this for us. God’s view of sin before the Cross and after the Cross is the same! Raise your hand if we think He is softer on sin now than in the Old Testament.
We I go about our my life, doing things we know are not pleasing to the Lord (in deed or in thought), and then walk into church on Sunday. Ouch right!
Do we even stop to think about what God asks of us?
Proverbs 21:3 To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
The words of Jesus in Matthew 9:13 ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’
7 Even the stork in the sky
knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know
the requirements of the Lord.
That was a punch in the stomach for sure. Birds know when to fly south for the winter BUT Christians do not know the Word of God!
Wait till you read this one:
8 “‘How can you say, “We are wise,
for we have the law of the Lord,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
has handled it falsely?
The leaders of the Temple had their own agenda and handled God’s words falsely. Do you know how many times I have read a commentary, listen to a Podcast, you-tubed a sermon, or simply just believed what a pastor said in church without filtering it through the Bible itself. More commonly…just our friends in general paste scripture into a conversation and it is totally out of context!
I heard once a great man say “When you train with the FBI they make you study real money intensely! When they come upon a counterfeit bill they can spot it immediately” (They never study the counterfeit). The people in Judah never studied the Law so they believed the leaders of the Temple (good grief…we read about some of the Kings!) and were led astray. THIS MAKES ME SO GLAD WE TAKE THE TIME EACH AND EVERY DAY (lol, and catch-up days) TO READ THE BIBLE THIS YEAR!
Raise your hand if you have seen a TV show or a Movie (clearly I am back in ‘teacher mode’). What is the theme of everything in Hollywood? Follow your heart! Be Happy! I can tell you I have said this to my own kids. BUT tomorrow I leave out for Chattanooga as I bring my daughter to college. After reading the Bible I will not say “I just want you to be happy” I will say “I want you to be Holy (set apart from the world). When we are Holy we walk in step with the Spirit:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Finally: obviously I am in a New Testament mood…so I will cross-reference it for you…
23 This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.