Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse
Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages
“Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 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?” ~Jeremiah 7:9-10
God is not impressed with His people’s sporadic worship attendance or their fake adoration. He is displeased that they’re going through the motions but their hearts are unengaged. There is no real change in their lives (Jer. 7:5). In fact, they are so far gone in their wrongheaded thinking about God that they assume that occasionally darkening the doors of the church will save from His anger (Jer. 7:10).
Jeremiah refers to the temple as a “den of robbers, ” a turn of phrase that Jesus borrows when He tosses the moneychangers out of the temple (Jer. 7:11, Mark 11:17 & cf.). Like Jeremiah, Jesus also preaches against sham religion that evokes no change of heart. The people hearing Jeremiah choose to ignore injustice; cheat clients, the tax collector, and the church; commit adultery; and lie when it’s convenient. Even the ministers are part of the problem. In their greed, they refuse to preach against sin lest they lose their salary (Jer. 8:10). God is so upset with His people that He tells Jeremiah to stop praying for them (Jer. 7:16). Wow!
May God help us learn from this unfaithful community (see the message of 1 Corinthians 10:1-13)! May God help us not to be so “stiff-necked” that we reject the ministers of the Word, who call us to change (Jer. 7:26)! God wants to bless us. He calls us to walk in all His ways so that things will go well for us (Jer. 7:23). When we reject or ignore Him, we are doing more than provoking God, we are harming ourselves (Jer. 7:19).
If God is convicting you about something you need to change in your life, do it without delay. Today. Ask for His forgiveness, mercy, and restoration. He wants our fig trees to prosper, our vineyards to produce wine, and our cities to prosper (Jer. 8:12-13). He wants to bless us. May our worship be real and result in real change in our lives!