If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 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, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.

Jeremiah 7:5-7

Jesus famously turned over tables of those who were money changers and sellers of doves and drove animals out of the court of the temple, decrying them for turning the house of the Lord into a den of robbers. The Scripture he was referring to in that moment was a declaration from the Lord that his people were unfaithful–in spite of their own belief that they were.

But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. 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? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 7:8-11

I’m not mentioning this to make accusations, though those of a guilty conscience must examine themselves to measure if their conduct is worthy. No, I share the scripture with you today for another reason.

A connecting line is being drawn between the personal sins that were committed outside the temple (unjust dealings, oppressing the powerless, idolatry), the obvious, public sins that were done among the people (murder, adultery, perjury and public idol worship) and their improper attitude during worship. The Lord says “I have been watching!”

The character of the worshippers far overshadows the quality of the worship offered.

Ethan Kirl