Deceptive words

   

The word of God through Jeremiah the prophet.  The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord.  Notice what Jeremiah is told specifically to do.  He is told to stand in the gate of the Lords house, and give this message directly to Gods people.  This message is specifically for those who are active in the worship of the Lord, who consider themselves to be people of God.  In other words, church people.

So what does God want Jeremiah to say to his church people?  Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’   God wants to tell US to stop hiding our own sins behind those church doors every Sunday.  Going to church on Sunday does not give us the right to point and condemn the rest of the world.  As Jesus would put it much later – “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  We think we are getting it right by Christ when we say “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”  But you know what??  Even in this attitude, while we are reminding ourselves of the call to love the world around us, we are still self-righteously patting ourselves on the back, congratulating ourselves for having it so “right.”  I say, “Love the sinner, hate your own sin.”  Big difference.  Or maybe not, after all, I’m still a dirty rotten scoundrel anyway.  In loving the sinner, I need to just start with myself, if I can’t do that then my neighbor doesn’t want me to love him like I love myself anyway.   
 
“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.   Now there’s a kick to the gut, isn’t it?  However many years ago (2800 or so, if I’m right) this was written, it still reads true today.  Theft, murder, adultery, false witness, IDOLATRY.  Most of us will never literally commit murder, but every other thing on this short list from the Ten Commandments are simply commonplace today.  Some of them are almost expected of us.  I capitalized idolatry because that is one that most people think they are good with, but is probably our most epic fail.  We worship so many things over God today.  Maybe I’m wrong, and most of us know we get this wrong.  After all, we even name our TV shows things like “American Idol.” And we do idolize as Gods those who have a talent for entertainment, don’t we?  We idolize the TV itself, for millions of people that is their God, hour after hour.  Cars, homes, careers, clothes, so many things.  Probably most of all, we simply idolize ourselves.  Even when we do go to church regularly, even that is all about ourselves.  If we don’t like the music, if we don’t like the message, if we don’t like what the pastor has to say about the offering, anything that is not just as we think it should be, we are likely to leave irritated.  When we feel this way, it’s a good time we are putting ourselves ahead of our God.

The 4th commandment tells us – ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”  We usually think this refers simply to curse words.  But really, if we are gathering in church on Sunday, pointing our fingers at the world around us in judgement, isn’t that taking His name in vain?   We are called to share His message of salvation with a hungry world around us.   If that world sees wagging fingers intimidating hungry people from coming through our doors, instead of open arms welcoming them in, is that not the worst kind of taking His name in vain?   What does that do for the temple of the Lord??

 
 
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘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 execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. “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.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭7:1-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/jer.7.1-15.esv
 
 
 

John Lewis

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5 thoughts on “Deceptive words

  1. This has occupied my thoughts for a while now. As I watch culture shift from God’s way and so many Christians lashing out at the world, I’m reminded of God’s word that Christians are to be salt and light to the world. And when we lose our saltiness, we are worthless and trampled under foot. I think loss of saltiness is a big problem in America. In many cases, we are driving wedges between God and the world as opposed to preserving the world by showing the love of Christ to it. And one of the ways I see the loss of saltiness is the judgmental attitude described in your post. Whether or not Christians are placed on the defensive by culture (a defense I hear regularly justifying the judgment), judging those outside the church we are told is God’s job. not ours. We are planters and waterers and God is the one who makes things grow. We are to spread and live out the Gospel and God will work in the heart of those who receive it. But if we are always walking around with our index fingers pointing outwards, how are we displaying Christ? Instead, we are viewed as hypocritical and judgmental, two very un-Christ like characteristics. How uncomfortable do churches get when an overt sinner walks in its doors? It’s like the congregates fear catching leprosy. And yet those are for whom the Church is intended. Jesus came to heal the sick, not the righteous (and there are none who are righteous apart from God’s mercy). The church should be full of sick people. Instead, most seem full of sanitized Christians. The church is not intended to be a sterilized environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You said a mouthful there! Jesus comes to us with open arms, not an accusing finger. He came to save the world, not condemn it. So why is His church so busy pointing and condemning? We are way off track on that. As for being defensive because of the culture, do we not remember the persecution of Jesus?? Isn’t He our model? Do we not strive for Christ likeness? So, why do we get stuck in ourselves, thinking we should go through this life and meet no opposition?

    Liked by 1 person

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