August 31, 2014 – Jeremiah 7

Why God Hates Sin

This time, God is speaking (through Jeremiah) to Judah, and of course is warning them of impending danger if they do not return to Him.  I can’t really explain why, but I very much felt like the tone of this chapter is like the conversations I have with my kids – “You’d better straighten up or I’m going to have to punish you.  This is all because of your poor choices…”

v3“…Reform your ways and actions and I will let you live in this place.”

**  There it is, right off the bat.  God is always offers mercy if they repent.

v8“But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.”

**  The people of Israel were being deceived by the promises of idol worship.  I don’t know what initial promises led the people to other gods – often it was pressure from people who lived in the land before them (which they were supposed to destroy from the beginning), or it was the promise of wealth (‘Our god will bless your harvest if you just worship her a little), or the encouragement of activities that God forbade (like prostitution).  We have the same voices pulling for our attentions and trying to draw us in a new direction.  It is critical that we not trust in deceptive words that are worthless.

v9-10 “Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’–safe to do all these detestable things?”

**  We’ve heard of the “Party on Saturday get saved on Sunday” mentality.  If anyone was harboring those thoughts, this should dispel them.  We cannot accept our sin with apathy (see my notes from yesterday) and expect God’s mercy to cover us.

v31“They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire – something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.”

**  Whatever the reasons the people of Judah had for worshiping other gods, it escalated into something as monstrous burning their children as sacrifices.  How bad does a sin have to get in our lives where we would do that to our families?  We may not be so blatant about it, but we all sacrifice our family’s well being to sins in our lives to some degree.  Sin hurts us and our families terribly.

v19“But am I the one they are provoking?” declares the LORD.  “Are they not harming themselves to their own shame?”

**  This is the verse of the day for me.  It really brought home the idea that God doesn’t hate sin because of how it affects Him.  He hates it because of what happened in verse 31 up there.  I think of the idea that men who are secure in their masculinity can wear pink, or cry at the movies, or whatever.  The idea is that if a man knows he is a man, he will not be embarrassed to do something that appears unmanly to the world.  Well, God is secure in his godhood.  He doesn’t need our obedience to affirm that He is God.  To illustrate this point, think of something very ungod-like He did.  He humiliated himself to become human.  Then he allowed himself to be beaten, whipped, drug naked through the street, and crucified while people mocked Him.  God doesn’t have a problem with looking foolish to save us.  God doesn’t want us to obey Him because it makes Him feel good or powerful.  He wants us to obey Him because sin hurts us.

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