Thursday 18 February 2016

Bible Book:

“Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the Lord." (v. 11)

Jeremiah 7:1-11 Thursday 18 February 2016

Psalm: Psalm 37:30-40


Three of the Gospels tell us about Jesusoverturning the moneychangers' tables at the temple in Jerusalemand accusing them of turning the place into a den of robbers (Matthew 21:12-17; Mark11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48). He is quoting Jeremiah at thatpoint.

Imagine arriving for worship next Sunday to begreeted by someone standing at the entrance shouting: "God says:'Mend your ways and everything you do. Will you let me in please -it's my house! It's my house!'"

Jeremiah was standing at the Temple Gate remindingevery worshipper that God was watching - that they could not livecorrupt lives and just expect to turn up when they fancied andappropriate God to themselves. The worship of Yahweh had becomecorrupted with Ba'al worship, prejudice against aliens, unnecessarysacrifices and a flippant acknowledgement of God.

True worship of Yahweh had been pushed into thebackground or diluted by the cultic practices. What actuallyhappened was more of a religious enterprise, what WalterBrueggemann calls "a place of self-indulgence and satiation".

Many of the Old Testament prophets were quick tocondemn, in God's name, the practices of the priests and call onthe people to show penitence.

As the old Isaac Watts hymn says:

"Not all the blood ofbeasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain."


Centuries later, when Jesus adopts Jeremiah'sphrase about a den of robbers, it isn't simply to rail againstcorruption in the temple - or by implication in today's religiousworld. It is to make it clear that God knows what is going on andthose who cheat the poor in the guise of faith will find that thereis a day of reckoning.

"You know, I too am watching," says the Lord (v.11).

To Ponder

  • What should we preach against today?
  • How can the Church stand alongside those damaged by harmfulreligious practices?
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