Years ago, I learned a valuable lesson about tools. I was in need of a drill, and set out to make my purchase. Rather than buying a quality brand, I chose some brand with a name I had never heard of before. After all, this drill cost a fraction of those big name drills, and they were very similar in appearance.
My new purchase had a place to put a drill bit, a trigger, and a cord. What more could it need? Sitting in my toolbox, the drill looked just as good as any of the drills in the other mechanic’s toolboxes.
Then the day came when my drill was needed. It was a small job; drill a couple of holes through a firewall and move on to another job. I installed the correct bit into the drill, plugged the cord into the wall, and began to drill. While it sounded good at first, about thirty seconds into my task, sparks and smoke-filled my bay.
The drill burned up and never cut one hole. The cheap drill was useless when put to work. It looked good in a drawer, but was of no value when needed. You might say, it was just a cheap knock-off.
In the seventh chapter of his prophecy, God called Jeremiah to tell the people of Judah that their religion was like my drill. Interestingly, Jeremiah is not sent to the local pubs, prisons, or houses of prostitution.
He is sent to stand in the entrance of the Temple, to confront those arriving for weekly worship, and to tell them, “You’re wasting your time!”
Jeremiah’s message is one of chastisement, but also of promise. God will reveal some fallacies and some facts. But His instruction is repent and turn back to Him. He says Judah needs to correct their behavior, get realistic, and just learn from past mistakes. The message is, very bluntly, “If your not going to worship God with your life all week, don’t waste your time trying to worship Him when you gather once a week.”
He describes their worldly lifestyles of idolatrous behavior as unacceptable, “Will you steal from one another, involve yourselves in adulterous relationships, seek gain through dishonesty, then stand before Me with flattering lip-service?”
The House of God had become no more than a good luck charm for Judah. God describes it as a ‘den of thieves.’
Instructively, God says, “Amend your ways! Execute justice! Take care of strangers, widows, and orphans. Destroy your idols.”
Judah is told to spend a little time remembering. They are told to take a little trip down memory lane to a time when their ancestors chose to live unfaithful. They are warned, “And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim.”
God’s love, grace, and mercy are immeasurable. He offered Judah chance after chance to return to Him and His ways. He desired (and desires) for His people to be a reflection of Him to the world, to be those who demonstrate His love, grace, and mercy. The gospel of Jesus Christ empowers believers to do just this, and yet…