In Jeremiah chapter 7, the prophet is standing at the gate of the temple and delivers an in-your-face type of message. One the church of 2012 would do good to heed.
Jeremiah 7:1 -3
“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Stand at the gate of the LORD’s house and there proclaim this message: This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions…”
- Where is Jeremiah preaching?
Jeremiah is standing at the gate of the temple
- WHO is he speaking to –
Those going to worship
- Why is he giving this message to these people?
- Why would those going to worship need to reform their ways and actions?
“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?”
- You shall have no other gods before me.
- You shall not make for yourself an image in the form
- You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
- Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
This group of worshippers has broken nearly all of the 10 Commandments. The tone and direction of Jeremiah’s message is that they live this way all week long and then come to church to “worship”.
Jeremiah continues with his directness…
“Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel… While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in…”
To understand the bluntness of Jeremiah’s words one has to understand some of the Old Testament. Shiloh was the place of worship, this was the home of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 4) It became the place of “Ichabod” meaning the spirit has left. Shiloh became known as the place where God used to be but is no longer at. Shiloh became known as the place God abandon, it is the place he used to be – but no longer is.
Jeremiah continues …
“Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven.”
- Worshipping as a family is extremely important!
- What takes place in the home carries into the place of worship.
- These two verses included the whole family, kids, mom & dad; however it is not a family BBQ!
- This family time is pushing every member of the family away from God.
- They are making cakes and offering them (worshipping) an idol.
Finally Jeremiah says…
“This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves!”
- A burnt offering could NOT be eaten
- It was all consumed by fire and given COMPLETELY to God
- The prophet is saying you might as well eat it yourself because it is not a sacrifice. The heart is not worshipping God. It is just going thru the motions which have no spiritual value.
I believe in the church!
I believe God wants the church to be a point of love for others and worship of Him HOWEVER we need to hear this wake up call.
The church can take notes from Jeremiah’s message and begin to worship God is a way that is pleasing to Him. The church is not a building it is the people and I know that many evangelical churches are filled with God-fearing and God- loving people. However I also believe there are many who call themselves Christians but need to take an inventory of their values and priority. We are heading into a time when those who do not worship the Lord are going to need to lean on and learn from those who do. Let’s wake up church and be like Jeremiah!!!!