Religious Ritual Doesn’t Change a Sinful Life Style

The “Mush God” has been known to appear to millionaires on golf courses. He appears to politicians at ribbon-cutting ceremonies and to clergymen speaking the invocation on national TV. The “Mush God” has no tenets of faith, nothing that would make it difficult … More

Ritual

Any theology which said Jerusalem was safe because of the Temple failed to take note of the hypocrisy practiced there. Those who came to the Temple had been guilty of stealing, murder, adultery, and false swearing. They had sacrificed to Baal and walked after other gods. Yet because they went through the motions of rendering homage to God, they thought they were safe. What was worse, they thought this hypocritical lifestyle could continue unabated. They had turned the Temple into a refuge for those who had committed criminal acts. That sacred place was nothing but “a den of robbers!” Their spiritual hypocrisy had not gone unnoticed by God. (vv. 8-11).

The people did not believe judgment would come to them because the temple was located in Jerusalem. They looked at the temple as a good luck charm that could ward off any attack. Jeremiah reminded them that the temple once resided in Shiloh but because of Israel’s wickedness this place was abandoned as their central worship center and later destroyed (vv. 12-14). The point of Jeremiah’s message was; if God did not preserve Shiloh because the tabernacle was there, why would He preserve Jerusalem because of the temple (vv. 14-15)?

Application

The people in Jeremiah’s day followed a ritual of worship but maintained a sinful life style. I never want to let ritual replace my heart for the Lord as it happens to many in our churches today.

Jeremiah 7:8-15 (English Standard Version)

"Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, 'We are delivered!'--only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD. Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. And now, because you have done all these things, declares the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim."

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