August 9 (Daily reading: Jeremiah 7-9) Jeremiah 7 gives us insight into true worship. God delivered His message by asking Jeremiah to stand at the gate of the Lord’s house, where the people gathered to worship. He reproached the people for saying, “This is the temple of the Lord,” while committing evil and walking “after other gods to your own ruin” (7:6). They would break His commandments, offer sacrifices to Baal and other gods, and then show up to worship the one true God. This was unacceptable. God asked, “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight?” (7:11). They were deceitful in their relationship to God. He asked them, “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’”? (8:8). They were deceitful also in their relationships with their neighbors, “With his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor, but inwardly he sets an ambush for him” (9:8).
We can best apply these words by understanding that we are “the Lord’s house,” and that we should not allow things to come into our lives that are contrary to God’s ways. We cannot “worship” at the altars of the gods of this world and worship God at the same time. Jesus was making this point when he quoted Isaiah and Jeremiah while cleansing the temple: “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a robbers’ den” (Mt. 21:13). Jesus condemned the pride and hypocrisy in the lives of the religious leaders of His day. James wrote about double-minded people who were unstable in all they do (Ja. 1:8). God gave this word to Jeremiah: “…let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me…I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things” (9:24). And so should we!
– Al Gary