Perhaps They Will Listen
18 August 2016
Reading: Jeremiah 26; 35-36; John 20
2 “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins.” (Jeremiah 26:2-3 NLT)
God sent Jeremiah to the Temple to call the people to repentance. He wasn’t speaking to people going about their business on the street, but to people who had come to God’s own house to worship. Chapter 36 tells how Jeremiah sent Baruch, his secretary, to read the messages at the Temple to the people who had come to pray and fast. In both cases, the messages were rejected and Jeremiah was called a traitor. His life was threatened by the political leaders, the religious leaders, and the people.
The people were religiously carrying out the rituals of worship established by Moses, but God was warning them of impending judgment because even though their religious practices were correct, they were materialistic, greedy, and dishonest in their business practices, and abusive, oppressive, and cruel to the poor and helpless.
It’s really only about the heart! My religion means nothing if my heart isn’t fully committed to God. My worship rituals are empty and meaningless if I’m not loving and obeying God and loving and serving others. God graciously warns me when I become religious without growing in relationship. The question is, will I listen and turn? Will I let the truth God speaks into my ears change my heart?
Father, Please don’t let me become dependent on religious practices to cover or excuse a wrong heart attitude. Please don’t let me accuse those you send to correct me of being traitors or betrayers. Today I pray the prayer of David… “5 O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you. 6 Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord Almighty. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.” (Psalm 69:5-6 NLT)