“Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, (Jeremiah 7:4, 5, NAS95) — The people of Jeremiah’s day trusted in safety from the wrong things. In their defense, it should be noted that it is a common error today as well. Despite their disobedient lives (7:8-11), they were convinced that with God’s Temple in their midst, they were going to be physically safe. The Temple had become like a charm or amulet, protecting them from any harm. But they were greatly mistaken, because Shiloh, the former place of the Tabernacle (the ancient tent form of the Temple), had been destroyed (7:12-15), because of the people’s disobedience; Jerusalem and the Temple would be no different. It was foolish for them to live like pagans and then come to the Temple for protection. Today, some still trust in the wrong things: in being associated with a particular church, in claiming the “grace of God”, or in reading their Bible and praying daily. These things are certainly all good; but they won’t save us, if we’re living unrepentantly like the rest of the world. It remains foolish for us to live like the rest of the world and then expect a pass from God on judgment day, because our name’s on a church roll, or we want to claim God’s grace, or we read our Bible’s and prayed.
“Do they spite Me?” declares the LORD. “Is it not themselves they spite, to their own shame?” (Jeremiah 7:19, NAS95). — Just a brief comment here: My observation has been that most of the folks who claim atheism are mostly merely angry with God (for a variety of reasons). Their response is largely like an angry child toward its parent — make a pouty lip, fold the arms, frown, and refuse to cooperate. But we’re not children, and this is serious stuff; throwing a fit toward God, refusing to acknowledge Him, because of anger WILL hurt you more than Him. It is the classic “cutting your own nose off to spite your face” thing.
“Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7, NAS95) — Sometimes people don’t have as much sense as animals. Which is the intelligent creature and which one is not? The God that gave the birds their instinct to migrate, also gave us laws to govern our lives that are also good for us. You don’t see birds rebelling because they liked the nest they’d built, or because they feel like God is restricting their freedom of choice by declaring that they fly south in the fall.
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised– (Jeremiah 9:25, NAS95) — Could there be such a thing? Yes. Circumcision was a physical mark in the flesh as a sign of being in covenant with God. But having a mark in the flesh of the covenant is not the same as living the covenant. Many of the Jews who had been circumcised were living as if they had never been circumcised — and this is God’s point (through Jeremiah) here. They would be punished. There are also those who have been baptized, who live as if they had never been baptized (Romans 6:1-8). There are those who meet with the church, who live as if they never attended (1 Corinthians 5). The Hebrew writer warns us, Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:28-31, NAS95).
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.