Self Sacrifice

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Self Sacrifice
 
Devotion In Motion
Jer 7:1-11
   “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house (or in the Temple), and proclaim there this word…”   chapters 7-10, are known as “The Temple Discourses.” Jeremiah is called to go to the gate of the Temple, and utter the words God gives him.  This was probably during the Passover – a time when all the Hebrews were required to come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. 
 
The population of the city swelled during the Passover – thick crowds filled the Temple. And these messages were probably Jeremiah’s first public prophecies. In fact, they made him more than a few enemies. God’s judgments against the Temple put Jeremiah on the priest’s “Most Wanted List.” The hostility these messages caused, eventually resulted in the priests of Anathoh plotting his assassination. God tells Jeremiah to go the Temple gates, “and say, ‘
 
Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’” Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.” 
 
At this point deliverance was not too late. If they changed their ways, they could remain in the land. As you read you will discover later in the book that the door will close. He says in verse 4, “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’” 
 
The Jews were trusting in the Temple, not the Lord of the Temple. They thought since the Temple was the only God-appointed place to worship Him, and since God wanted to be worshipped, He’d never allow harm to come to the Temple. Jerusalem was immune from judgment!  One of the reforms instituted by King Josiah was to cut down the pagan altars surrounding Jerusalem, and to centralize the worship of God in Jerusalem’s Temple. Josiah made wonderful and impressive renovations to the Temple. He required everyone to worship there. But the people were so used to worshipping idols they could manipulate, rather than God, they quickly made an idol of the Temple. 
 
They viewed it as a good luck charm. It was God’s Temple. He would never allow damage to His Temple. It gave them a false sense of security. They assumed Israel in the north was judged since they didn’t have the Temple. But in the south, “the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.” It’s amazing how people will replace God with the things of God. They exalt a symbol over the true substance. The Hebrews did this with the brass serpent. It was made as an instrument of God’s healing, but in 2 Kings 18:4 the Jews turned it into an idol and worshipped it. 
 
 People have done the same with Calvary’s cross. Rather than trust the Man who died there to take away our sins, they rub and kiss and wear their crucifix as a good luck charm. They’ve turned a symbol into an idol. 
 
Verse 5-11, “For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.” 
 
“Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord.” 
 
 God is asking, do you think I only see what you’re doing when you’re standing in My house? He cares about what we do the rest of the week. You can’t rebel against God in every other corner of your life, then enter God’s house and think everything will be okay. That’s like the hypocrite who raises hell six days a week, then comes to church on Sunday morning, and thinks because he comes to church that that  will make up for his rebellion.  
 
The Jews were saying since they were God’s people, and they worshipped in His Temple, they could do as they liked – steal, commit adultery, lie, serve other gods – and they’d be immune from His judgment. The Lord will excuse our living together because we love each other. Oh he will look past the adultery because I don’t love my husband or wife anymore. We can continue to abort our babies because God is Love. And he is Love but he is also a God of Justice.
 
 Their logic was ludicrous. You think God chose and delivered you so you can do all these abominations? God’s favor should provoke us to repent and to give our allegiance only to him. It sounds like the Christian who says, “I’m saved so now it doesn’t matter what I do.” 
 
Paul addresses this in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!” God saves us so we won’t sin, not so we can keep at it. If you truly belong to God you’ll want to please Him. 
 
The bible says that we are to die to ourselves and take up the cross and follow him. But doesnt the Lord want us to be happy? The bible says that he wants us to be Holy as he is Holy.
 
We are to be set apart for him.Thats why he saved us. 
To be instruments to his glory. So when the world sees us they will want what we have. And what is that? Jesus in our hearts.  After all, Revelation says that is what we were created for.
Rev 4:11 
“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”
 
James Michener, writing in his book, The Source, tells the story of a man named Urbaal, who was a farmer living about 2200 B.C.  He worshiped two gods, one a god of death, the other a goddess of fertility.  One day, the temple priests tell Urbaal to bring his young son to the temple for sacrifice–if he wants good crops.  Urbaal obeys, and on the appointed day drags his wife and boy to  the scene of the boy’s “religious execution” by fire to the god of death. After the sacrifice of Urbaal’s boy and several others, the priests announce that one of the fathers will spend next week in the temple, with a new temple prostitute. Urbaal’s wife is stunned as she notices a desire written more intensely across his face than she had seen before, and she is overwhelmed to see him eagerly lunge forward when his name is called. The ceremony over, she walks out of the temple with her head swimming, concluding that “if he had different gods, he would have been a different man.”
 
 Amen
Victor Tafoya
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