Clinging to False Hopes
Gracious God, You are my strength and my refuge. Keep me steady Lord, as I face the ups and downs of today.
Consider: Jeremiah spoke against religion as a substitute for obedience to God's calling. That's a trap we can very easily fall into.
The people of Judah were in serious denial. They seemed to feel that, whatever their faults, the Temple in Jerusalem would protect them because God would not let his house be destroyed. However, their service of God had deteriorated into vain repetitions (4), and their actions flouted the very things God required of them. They ignored justice, they oppressed the vulnerable and they were idolatrous. And yet, they claimed the sanctity of the Temple and thought they were safe (10).
God's response is to remind them of earlier times in Shiloh, when wickedness had been punished and places of worship had been destroyed along with the city. Just as Israel had been sent into captivity, the same could happen to Judah. Because idolatry has gone too far, God will not listen to petitions on the people's behalf. The picture of whole families caught up in provocative pagan worship is alarming (17,18). What they don't seem to realize is that every act of idolatry damages the people themselves and incurs God's punishment on the whole culture.
Jeremiah's prophetic calling is primarily to bring God's Word to the people and sometimes to intercede for them (18:20), but here their idolatry has violated God's covenant so totally that he is asked not to pray on their behalf (16). With their level of delusion and denial of God, there seems to be no hope; they have cut themselves off from God. It makes us realize how crucial the good news of the Gospels is. Christ continues to intercede for his violators (Luke 23:34; Isa. 53:12) even when he has been tortured and crucified, and not only for them but for all who reject truth and worship. It takes the Son, our Savior, not a prophet, to atone for the depths of human sin and restore us to peace with God.
Christ alone is our place of safety and security. How would you rate your life in Christ? Prayerfully make any changes that are needed, and ask for a revitalization of your walk with the Lord.
Holy Spirit, continue to press in on me in areas of my life that need changing. I want to fully trust in You and always be obedient to You.
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