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. 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!” ~ Jeremiah 7:3-4
In this passage, God spells out His wrath against Israel for having abandoned His ways in exchange for worship of foreign Gods. Israel is living a fearless and carefree life, and feels safe doing so as long as the temple is standing. They think they can do what they want, as long as they have the temple to go to and offer trivial praise to God at their convenience. They have bought into deceptive teachings and serve foreign gods to the point of putting God in the background.
God reminds Israel that He has already destroyed His first dwelling place in Shiloh and tells them He will also destroy the temple in Jerusalem – removing their security blanket sewn with words of deception and foreign gods of no truth. He will leave their bones exposed to the elements to rot. Unless Israel returns to the true God, she will not enjoy the benefits of the covenant carved out so many years ago.
As I read the book of Jeremiah I become increasingly aware of the inconsistencies in my own life. Have I trivialized my faith to the point at which I am a different person on Sunday morning than I am the rest of the week? And what about the church at large – have we become so enamored with society’s ways of thinking that we are crafting our doctrine around humanist “wisdom” rather than God’s eternal truth? Is the church becoming nothing more than a security blanket – something to turn to when the inevitable happens after we’ve abandoned God’s truth?
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
As we Christians ponder these questions, take heart: God still raises up faithful preachers and teachers of the Word! We must seek them out and stand with them on the rock-solid foundation of God’s Word. Let us lift them up in prayer, but let us also lift up in prayer those that are preaching and teaching deception and those who sit in their pews.
Ponder this: Has my church succumbed to the whims of societal viewpoints? Do I live out my faith each and every day?
My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from the consequences of our sins. And thank you for faithful preachers and teachers of Your Word. Give us the gift of discernment, that we may recognize false and deceptive teachings when we hear them and instead seek preachers and teachers who stand firmly on Your good and perfect Word. We also pray for those who have succumbed to false teachings: show them their error and move them to seek Your truth as You’ve revealed it in Your Holy Word. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.