Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
Jeremiah 7:1-8 (NIV)
False Religion Worthless
7 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Stand at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message:
“‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
This is one of many amazing scenes in the life of the prophet Jeremiah. God sent him to stand at the gate to God’s temple and preach. Central in God’s message is to stop “trusting in deceptive words that are worthless”. We are tempted to trust the deceitful words of others, because those lies give us an excuse to keep doing our favorite sins. The Israelites thought they could avoid judgment, because they thought God would never allow foreigners to invade and destroy God’s own temple (see v. 7:4). God blows away this false security by reminding them that a hundred years earlier, because of Israel’s sin, God allowed foreign armies to destroy his first sanctuary in the city of Shiloh. This is an important concept: we not only sin when we lie, we sin when we believe the lies of others!