Lord, help me to allow Your light to search my heart. As I read Your Word, may I hear Your message to me.
Read: Jeremiah 7:1-20
 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: “‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD.  This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place.  Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!”  If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,  if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm,  then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.  But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.  “‘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?  Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD.  “‘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, the place I gave to you and your ancestors.  I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’  “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.  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. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger.  But am I the one they are provoking? declares the LORD. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame? “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place-on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land-and it will burn and not be quenched.
Reflect: Does the church ever presume on God’s blessings like this?
The people thought that God would always protect Jerusalem because the Temple was his house and because of his promises made to King David. But Jeremiah says, “No!” Only if they change their ways and their actions and treat one another justly (5) will God continue to protect them from their enemies. Otherwise he will allow the Temple to be destroyed, as happened to the shrine at Shiloh where Eli ministered long ago (12-15).
Can the people break the Ten Commandments (many of which are mentioned in v. 9) and worship idols and expect God to do nothing? The Temple bears God’s name (11), and conduct there is meant to reflect his character and be in line with his revealed will. But the people are worshiping “the Queen of Heaven” (18), Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of fertility, and oppressing the poor. So Israel’s God forbids Jeremiah to pray for them anymore (16)–their doom is inevitable. Scary stuff–doing well in the past will not protect us in the present if we deliberately rebel against God!
Consider verse 19. Are there areas of your life in which you are bringing harm to yourself through your choices?
Father, thank You that You have done all to make a way for our peace. Help me to walk so as to realize it in my life.