In our last post, we considered the distraction of the Temple of the Lord.
Jeremiah 7 arrests me, makes me wonder and consider how “The Temple of the Lord” is applicable to the modern day Christian?
What did Jeremiah say? First off, let’s 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.
In our previous post, it became obvious that “The Temple of the Lord” supplied an opportunity for deceptive words to be spread about the Jewish nations security.
Jeremiah was calling the nation back to a personal responsibility to the Lord, instead of trusting in simply going to church – I mean going to temple.
Is this call to personal responsibility something new for these Jewish worshipers? Is Jeremiah demanding completely new requirements upon these folk? Were they ignorant of the Lords demands on their lives?
Leviticus 19 :18
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
Lev 19 :34
You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 10 :18-19
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying,
9 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,
10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
This concern carried over into the New Testament, When the Lord Himself summarized the “weightier matters of the law”.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
When I read this passage in Jeremiah, I can’t help but think of the Lord Jesus while He was on earth, talking to the religious men of His day. Of course, it is obvious He quoted Jeremiah in Matthew 21:13, where it is written “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Check out Jeremiah 7:11 for the connection!)
What I think is awesome is the connection of the thoughts of Jeremiah and the thoughts of Jesus. Three issues are raised in both of these men’s messages, and I’m a thinking they are as follows.
It is obvious where Jesus refers to this thought, so compare it with Jeremiah when he states “thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor”
Again, the Lord’s reference to mercy is echoed in Jeremiahs statement “ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place”
Jesus finishes His classification of the weightier matters of the law by referring to faith. Is this Jeremiah concern, when he mentions “neither walk after other gods to your hurt”?
- Both Jeremiah and Jesus were addressing a nation on the brink of catastrophe, and seeking to call the nation back to God.
- Both Jeremiah and Jesus delivered a message that was generally rejected.
- Both Jeremiah and Jesus wept over Jerusalem.
I am always surprised how applicable the Old Testaments message is for today’s Christian!
Consider the Temple of the Lord and how you relate to it.
Do you hear Jeremiahs message as a rebuke to your dependence on your physical church.
- When you drive by the building does your heart swell with pride (Hint – That is a problem!)
- When you enter the building, do you consider it safe, a physical building that encourages a sense of security. (Hint – Might not be a good thing!)
- Do you act differently in the building than out of the building (Hint – The alarm bells should be ringing in your head!)
Or do you hear Jeremiahs message as a rebuke to your dependence on your spiritual church?
What? What are you talking about Carl? Hang on – let me explain.
I read in the New Testament where the church (the invisible spiritual church) is the body of Christ, a living organism that is comprised of all believers. If you see the church that way, Jeremiahs message is still so applicable.
When you see a brother or sister, how do you relate to them? Do you see them as a potential safety net in case trouble enters your life?
This “fault” in my faith came crashing in on me a while back.
I remember experiencing a very disappointing, troubling time in my life, and I reached out to a brother and sister for encouragement and counsel. I hoped they could assist in a specific way. They rejected my concerns.
My trust was not in the Lord – my trust was in “the believer”.
The Temple of the Lord is a tremendous blessing that believers can live in and with, but we need to trust in the Living God, and not “The Temple of the Lord”!
In our next post we will consider the misplaced trust Jeremiah was preaching about when he preached, “Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.”
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