Yesterday, I read through Jeremiah 7, and I thought about people who think they’re “safe” because they go to church, or something like that, but really don’t walk with God or obey God.
The prophet Jeremiah says on God’s behalf, “Don’t trust in lies: ‘This is the Lord’s temple! The Lord’s temple! The Lord’s temple!'” (Jeremiah 7.4, CEB).
God challenges this idea, saying …
No, if you truly reform your ways and your actions; if you treat each other justly; if you stop taking advantage of the immigrant, orphan, or widow; if you don’t shed the blood of the innocent in this place, or go after other gods to your own ruin, only then will I dwell with you in this place. (4.5-7).
God tells the people what they can do with their so called acts of worship: “Add your entirely burned offerings to your sacrifices and eat them yourselves!” (7.21).
God corrects the people …
On the day I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I didn’t say a thing—I gave no instructions—about entirely burned offerings or sacrifices. Rather, this is what I required of them: Obey me so that I may become your God and you may become my people. Follow the path I mark out for you so that it may go well with you.” (7.22-23)
Instead of being teachable, repenting of their sin, and experiencing transformation, “they didn’t listen or pay attention. They followed their willful and evil hearts and went backward rather than forward” (7.24).
And, God laments …
From the moment your ancestors left the land of Egypt to this day, I have sent you all my servants the prophets—day after day. But they didn’t listen to me or pay attention; they were stubborn and did more harm than their ancestors. When you tell them all this, they won’t listen to you. When you call to them, they won’t respond. (7.25-27)
May God forgive us when we are stubborn, when we become blind, and when we stop listening to God’s guiding voice! May we always remain teachable so that God can continue to lead us and form us!