“ ‘Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. – Jer. 7:12 NIV
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The Devotional for today is a continuation of the devotional titled “Amend Your Ways” which dwelt on the advise of the Prophet Jeremiah to the people of Judah to amend their ways if they are to be allowed by the Almighty God to dwell in His house and in the land – Jer. 7:1-3. He let them realise that they will be living in self-deceit should they believe that merely being in that building called the House of the Lord was sufficient for them to be assured of His protection and being insulated from the grave implication of such negative acts. Such expectations from the Lord for simply attending the Church was always going to be an illusion for as long as they refuse to amend their actions and conduct in His house – Jer. 7:4-5. This first part emphasised on the fact that getting involved in acts of oppression, mal-treating the fatherless and widow and worshiping of other gods, all acts which they were deeply involved in, will not be tolerated by the Almighty God, even if they spend all the hours of the day in His house – Jer. 7:6-7.
In the scripture which is the foundation for today’s Devotional, the Almighty God sends them on a memory lane to the first building that was dedicated for His worship in Shiloh where He first allowed His name to dwell and how He destroyed it due to the negative acts of the people. They will simply be living in self deceit if they continue to expect his care and protection whilst they continue their involvement with evil acts simply because they are in His House. They should not expect divine protection, even when they are inside the House of the Lord, if they took delight in stealing, committing acts of murder, adultery and perjury, burning incense to Baal and following other gods. That was going to be a wrong expectation as He made them realise that He was more interested in what the people inside the building were doing rather than the building which was dedicated for His worship, no matter how beautiful it may be.
Using the beautiful edifice that was built and dedicated for His worship in Shiloh as an example, he reminded them of how He had to destroy it because of the conduct of the occupants of that building – Jer. 7:12. Reminding them of His incessant warnings about their conduct and His advise for them to amend their ways, He made it clear that such destruction as it happened in Shiloh will also be visited on the building that they seem to have so much faith in if they refuse to amend their ways – Jer. 7:13-14.
Although the scripture was referring to the physical building that Christians claim to have devoted to the worship of God, it should be noted that the building which the body of each person represents is also not exempted. That building houses the soul which is the real personality. Several Churches are in existence today that have lost their spirituality completely and so are spiritually dead. The number of people in attendance will not matter as it is about the presence and operation of the Holy Spirit in such a congregation or its absence. This is mainly due to the occurrence of all that the Lord has condemned amongst the congregation. The congregants attend services regularly with no iota of consideration for what the standard of the Lord for such gathering is. Most of them assess themselves by the beautiful edifice which they clam to have built to the glory of the Lord but all that happens in there is completely against the Will of God. Such congregation will only be living in deceit if they think for a moment that they can be assured of the protection of the Almighty God. The truth is that as a positive spiritual entity, they are zero and any spiritual activity that is going on in such a location can never be of the Holy Spirit. Attendees of such gatherings should know that they cannot get the reward for true worship.
Likewise, many lives have been left empty and destroyed despite the dedicated visits of such people to the House of the Lord in the belief that they are there to worship. Truth be told, they could not be truly worshipping the Almighty God if they are involved with any of those listed acts. Some may claim that they have never stolen, committed an act of murder and adultery, being involved in perjury, burn incense to Baal or followed other gods but a deep introspection may reveal a different conclusion.
Such may claim not to have ever stolen someone’s property but may not be able to confidently assert that the position being occupied by them is rightfully theirs. Such may claim not to have committed murder but what about the people whose lives have been destroyed because of the negative use of the tool of the tongue to gossip, falsely discredit, back-bite and destroy their neighbour. Such may claim not to be adulterous but what about the loyalty to physical and material things at the expense of the worship of the Almighty God, an act that the Lord considers as spiritual adultery. Such may claim not to be a perjurer but how about those times that such made false statements, swearing and calling on the name of God as witness. Such may equally claim not to have burnt incense to Baal or other gods but how about those times when satisfying the spiritual leader or the financial pillar was prioritised above implementing the Will of the Almighty God. All these are actions that may not be obvious to the individual who is in the House of the Lord when they are been done, as negative, but still will not stop them from creating a problem between such and the Almighty God. Ignorance will never be an acceptable reason for breaking the rules of the Almighty God sufficient to save such from the punishment of the Lord.
Without such amending his/her actions and conduct with regards to these areas of life, especially in the house of the Lord, it should never be expected that such can be protected or be rewarded for the supposed worship of Him. Just as He warned Prophet Jeremiah not to pray for the people as He would not listen to such prayers, anyone involved in this kind of conduct should not expect success of any form of spiritual intervention either through prayers or other spiritual exercises, unless such amends his/her ways. Save yourself more pain and stress by doing the needful today so that your worship can be meaningful and rewarding. May God lead us to behave right in His house so that our worship can be meaningful and rewarding in Jesus name. Amen.