Monday, December 17, 2012

trickle down deceit & destruction

An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?
Jeremiah 5:30-31

The major indictment that God leveled at Judah and Israel was that false religion was the love of their culture. They purposed to chase after every novel form of idolatry practiced by the nations around them, including child sacrifice. They passionately disobeyed the LORD by doing this. And no guilt or sorrow over sin came when they were confronted.

In the remnants of God's worship, not a shred of right practice or doctrine could really be found. Those claiming to prophesy on the behalf of Yahweh did so falsely, giving soothing messages that reinforced the desire for idolatry. The priests abandoned the law and did not listen to The Lord, choosing instead to make their own dictates the standards for teaching and practice in the temple. The worship of The Lord was corrupt from the top down.

The net effect was that the people had grown to love this arrangement. They could be just like other nations AND yet have a vague identity as Jews. But this was the opposite of God's plan for Israel which was to be a light to the gentiles and an attraction that drew the nations to God. The fire had gone out of the lamp. The nation had lost its distinct message to point the world to the true God.

The question at the end of this indictment is haunting! Who would Israel be able to turn to when their destruction came? Their false idols would not save them. God had decreed their judgment. Their own ability to do what they wanted would be ripped from them by occupying armies. At that moment of total loss only God could be seen. Their self-determined sin would fail them.

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