Welcome to Abomination Church! Here, We are a MESS!
In this day, we have churches popping up on every street corner. We have some of the most creative and attractive names, captivating slogans, missions statements, logos and the like. It’s marketing at its best. Communicating righteousness, holiness, godliness, community, evangelism and service under one lord, one faith and one baptism.
Though pleasing to the eye of man, we find in chapter 7, a thriving church that is too boastful about its claims. The church bears the most marketable name ever; the name of The LORD! It advertised, but advertised falsely. The advertisement was enough to draw people into the fold, but once in, the people saw that it was all marketing, and gravitated to the pocket of people that were committing the same sin they were committing. They were a church of small groups, but none of them were seeking righteousness, they were only speaking on righteousness.
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 “Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house and proclaim
there this word, and say, “Hear the word of the LORD,
all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship!”
God tells Jeremiah to stand at the gate and speak to all who traveled. He stood there like an usher, handing out the worship bulletin. The order of the day, “Change! Jeremiah would speak loudly, decreeing the Word of our Lord. This Word was a verbal reminder, much like you cross the state line when traveling. See, each state has laws that pertain to itself, and has the ability to arrest you and hold you accountable for its laws despite what you know. It’s your responsibility to learn about the lay and laws of the land so that you can act accordingly
Sadly, the people had read the laws, and had decided that change was not possible or more like desirable. Turns out that they loved the Temple because of the fellowship of the people, but didn’t love the Temple because of the worship of the LORD! They gathered in groups and celebrated their lifestyles, not correcting one another. They were a fully accepting church, approving the lifestyle of those who went against the Word of God.
3 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. 4 Do not trust in
deceptive words, saying, “This is the temple
of the LORD, the temple of the LORD:”
God instructs Jeremiah to tell the people “Amend your ways and your deeds, and i will let you dwell in this place.” This statement was tough to read. In this time, we sit in our homes eager to return to the house of the LORD, but have been quarantined into our homes. It has me wondering if this bears some semblance to what God was addressing through Jeremiah? Could it be that God had to use this virus because His Men and Women of God would not confront the people? Maybe we were so busy with business, that forgot to present to people God’s standard to His people. We immerse ourselves in being social, and not in being spiritual, and God had and has had enough!
He closes the doors of the church, forcing the people to stay at home demands that they consider their ways, and the way they are presenting themselves to Him. God says, “Do not trust in deceptive words,…” These deceptive words are not just the potential deceptive words from a false prophet, but the words of those misguiding you with their proclamations. The words he addressed was “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the LORD”
These words are dangerous to the hearer, because they make a statement about who dwells and who directs the place they are in. Saying this is The Temple of the Lord says that His presence is here. It says that His word reigns supreme. It says everyone is submitted to Him. It says that everyone is following His rules and law.
I wonder if God thinks this about many of our houses of worship? Or maybe they shouldn’t be called houses of worship, but houses of fellowship. Maybe God has grown tired of our false advertisement? Maybe the old bait and switch has caught the eye of our LORD, who has grown tired of us presenting God like a snake oil and tonic salesman? Who knows? What we do know is that God protects His name and cares about the acts performed in his temple and in the community.
5 For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds,
if you truly practice justice between a man and his
neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the
orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent
blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to
your own ruin, 7 then I will let you dwell in this
place, in the land that I gave your fathers
forever and ever. Jeremiah 7:5-7
God tells the people they need to amend their ways! He is disgusted because their deeds don’t match their statement. It’s much like we say Jesus is Lord over our lives, and then we hear and disobey His Word. God says, this is not acceptable! God accepts us for who we are, but doesn’t want us to remain where we are. God wants people to know that their love for Him, and representing Him properly in the community is key to teaching others about Him.
Imagine what it was like for those who had been mistreated by God’s people to be seen dressed, up and traveling to the Temple. They would watch God’s people walking piously into God’s house, as though God approves of them neglecting the needs of His creation. They would watch them leave from other gods temples, and making sacrifices to statues, and then claim to serve the one true and living God.
God informs them that they will not only be restricted from the temple, but they will be held out of the land that was promised. I wonder how much of the promise we have missed out on playing Religious Charades with God? Their behavior is not just keeping them from growing spiritually and intimately with God, but financially or productively.
8“Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to
no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, and commit
adultery, and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to
Baal, and walk after other gods that you have not
known, 10 then come and stand before Me in this
house, which is called by My name, and say,
‘We are delivered!’– that you may do all these
abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called
by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight?
Behold, I, even I, have seen it, “declares the LORD
His first statement to them in verse 8 is, claiming a place to be the house of God, does not mean a place is the house of God. Many of us have fooled ourselves with similar statements, and God set’s the record straight. Jeremiah was not speaking to them quietly or in isolation, he stood at the gate and started calling a spade a spade. God refused to cover their sin, not because He was not forgiving or not able to, but because He knew their sacrifice was more of a payment to sin, and not repentance for sin.
God says, will you continue to come into my house and lie to my face? “We are delivered…” people were professing, and all the while God knew they were divulging. Not only did God know, but the community both inside and outside knew of the countless sins of the people, because they sinned both against God and mankind. And because they were the people of God, they were misrepresenting the Name of the LORD! God is not seen, but He is present. He hears all and sees all. He knows all. He can not be fooled. We can not use our words like a app filter.
God makes it clear! This house is an abomination. The people that dwell in it are not righteous, but they are a mess. They are committed to their sin lifestyles, and only seek the Lord to restore their relationship with God so that they can sin more without fear of consequence. Are you looking for a place to continue in sin, or to resign from sin?
Why do you come? Rather, why did you go? Why are you streaming the service? Why are you watching the Bible Study?