In our last post we considered Jeremiah’s message of the temple being the Jewish nations Place of Safety and Permanence instead of the Lord. Temple worship had become a replacement for proper living.
In this post we want to look Jeremiahs message to the people, describing the temple as their place of absolution.
Lets read the passage one more time.
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
2 “Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD.
3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.
4 Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’
5 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another,
6 if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm,
7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.
8 “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail.
9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known,
10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’–only to go on doing all these abominations?
11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD.
12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel.
13 And now, because you have done all these things, declares the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer,
14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh.
15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim.
These worshipers were heading into the temple! Why complain about these folks? At least they were worshiping the true God, right? Jeremiah says to amend your ways. Worship without right living is hypocrisy and worthy of judgement. (And judgement was on its way!) The Temple of the Lord had become a stumbling block to the nation of Israel.
The second stumbling block for the Olkd Testament believers were that they viewed the temple as their:
Place of Absolution
Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’–only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?
Those of Jeremiah’s day were not only seeing the temple as a place of permanence and safety, but also of forgiveness and absolution. Would I be going to far to think the temple was considered a refuge from judgment and responsibility before God.
Note that the temple is referred to as a “den of thieves”. A den of thieves is what thieves return to after they perform their evil deeds, in order to hide from justice, and be encouraged by other thieves to continue in their merciless acts and faithless lifestyles.
Jeremiah was defining these worshipers as thieves who were returning to their hide-out! That is crazy!!!
The temple had become a place of refuge for those who had performed “criminal” acts!
Who says the Bible is not relevant for today? The Word is relevant for today if we are willing to seek the truth. When we seek relevance through following the culture of our day, devote ourselves to some famous (or not so famous) Bible teacher/preacher or by appealing to false “safety nets” that are gimmicks, it seems to me that we “trust lying words”.
Don’t get me wrong – there are some Bible teacher/preachers that are good, but I fear most are simply using the sacred ministry as a worldly career. Fully reject those that are using the ministry to have a career, and with the few that may be left, we should constantly remind ourselves that those teacher/preachers are servants of God (1 Corinthians 4:1) and not our masters in the faith. (2 Corinthians 1:24)
Trusting in religious trappings or messages other than in God is the big message I get from Jeremiah! How many times have you chatted with a believer and you reference your denomination’s position, what your pastor/priest thinks, or the opinion of some famous Christian personality?
How often have you heard a believer tell you that the nation of Israel is Gods Chosen people today? What happened to the Church as the people of God? How can God have two chosen people?
Trusting in a future fulfillment of old covenant promises after the Jewish nation rejected the old covenant responsibilities (over and over again), I fear is is simply foolishness! It seems to me that the old covenant promises were conditional, and having rejected those promises by crucifying the Messiah, the promises of God were taken away from the nation of Israel, and given to a nation/people that would bring forth the fruits (Matthew 21:43).
Read the book of Hebrews to understand the urgency of the writer to convince the Hebrew people to leave behind the Old Covenant and grasp unto Jesus as the only hope. The nation of Israel had very few days left and the end was upon them. The Hebrew people would be dispersed and the theocracy would never be reestablished.
Do not seek something that isn’t promised!
Let us not trust in lying words!
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.