THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD
Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 7-8
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Key Verses: Jeremiah 7:23
But this is what I commanded them, saying, “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.”
Jeremiah 7 begins what is known as the “Temple Sermon.” God’s instructions to Jeremiah were that he was to stand at the gate of the Temple and deliver this message as the throngs of people were entering for worship. The people of Judah were still very religious outwardly, but Jeremiah’s message was that they were hypocritical. Several times Jeremiah made the point that “They did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward” (7:24). They practiced what is called “syncretism,” the amalgamation of what otherwise would be two or more distinct religions. In their case, it was an attempt to worship the God of Israel and also the god Molech. Some of them, including King Jehoiakim, who turned away from the reforms of his father, Josiah, had reverted to the practices of his grandfather, Mannaseh (2 Kings 21:3-6).
Chapter 8 predicts the coming judgment as a result of their syncretism. Their bones will bleach in the sun. There’s an old hymn which captures the essence of faithfulness to the One and only true God: “Trust and Obey!” Here’s a musical rendition of this foundational truth! (click here).
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God of Israel, through Your Son and my Saviour, I pray for the grace of obedience to You, and to the worship of You and You alone! The Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed in Jeremiah’s day, rebuilt by Ezra and Herod, and then destroyed again. Your temple in this age is my body, and may I keep my body pure and in good shape for You, Lord, and may You alone live in my innermost thoughts, attitudes, intentions and actions. Amen!!! (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
My experiences with people practicing syncretism are many. The most common being church Sunday morning and then a variety of practices common to eastern religions during the week. The most dramatic example happened in the summer of 1976. I was in Winnipeg staying in the home of the pro football player Larry Kerychuk when the phone rang. The local Roman Catholic priest was looking for a Holy Spirit-filled minister to accompany him on an exorcism. I agreed, but conditional on the content of the priest’s testimony of his personal journey with Christ. I heard a miraculous story of the power of the Holy Spirit transforming his life. We showed up at a home of recent immigrants from Brazil, where manifestations were reported (we didn’t see any) of objects moving around the rooms mysteriously without human help. We discovered that back in Brazil the husband and father had been in the practice of attending Mass Sunday mornings and voodoo ceremonies Sunday evenings. We discerned that these spirits were not filling the house but the man. He wanted to be free of these, and we took authority in Jesus’ Name, cast out these evil spirits, and he was set free. The whole family received Jesus by faith as Saviour and Lord! The last report is that never again did this occult manifestation occur. That priest joined me on 100 Huntley Street television from 1977 to 1992 as a co-host, and many have blessed memories of Father Bob MacDougall. I believe that there may be as many as 1,000,000 precious souls that moved from just an outward religious observance, like the people of Jeremiah’s day, into a personal encounter with the Living God, as a result of the ministry of my beloved friend (now in Heaven), Robert MacDougall, S.J. When it became evident that denominational walls were rising again, Crossroads helped Bob to begin a Roman Catholic TV ministry called Food for Life. Here is a video in which Father MacDougall conducts two interviews with Father Bob Bedard, who succeeded him as host of Food For Life in 1992. This video was compiled as a tribute to Father Bedard after his passing in 2011. If you would like to watch it, click here and you will find the first interview near the beginning, and then you can fast-forward to the second interview about 15 minutes in. Father Mark Goring continues the Food For Life TV ministry today (here is their website).
Yours for bringing men, women, boys and girls into genuine experiences in a saving relationship with Jesus!
P.S. If you want a blow-by-blow account of the various destructions of Jerusalem, I recommend a book I’m currently reading by Desmond Seward called, “Jerusalem’s Traitor: Josephus, Masada, and the Fall of Judea” (here is a listing for it on Amazon.com).