This cycle has marked the history of God’s people. It takes only a few generations for a new work of God to degenerate into apathy and hypocrisy. Why is this? Almost always, it happens because those in the ministry become flesh-driven. The red-hot passion that birthed the work begins to fade. And over time, the ministry becomes a human institution. Lifeless routine sets in. The once-prayerful leaders now rely on organization and fleshly skill to keep the work going.
At one time, these same leaders trusted God wholly, and he spoke to them. But at some point, they abandoned their servanthood for politics. And now, instead of ministering, they compete for power, prestige and numbers. Sadly, their ministry has become a faded memory of what God once accomplished in their midst, in his power and in truth.
The Lord responded to this kind of compromise in Jeremiah’s time. He sent the prophet to the temple gate to proclaim a devastating word: “Mend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place” (Jeremiah 7:3). He was saying, in other words: “This work has grown corrupt, and now death is at the door. But there is still time to save it. I don’t want to walk away from it. I want to stay with you and move in your midst. But for that to happen, you have to repent. You must return to your first love.”
America’s best atheists are children of the Church.
Then the Lord adds, “Don’t trust in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord” (7:4). God had heard the people crying, “The Lord can’t destroy this temple. It’s his everlasting house. It’s our history, our entrenched tradition. Look at all these majestic buildings. They stand as God’s witness to a heathen world. He’ll never abandon what he has established here.”
But the Lord responded, “What about your defilements? What about your rampant adultery? You swear falsely. You bow to idols. And you’ve turned my house into a den of robbers. I sent prophets to warn you, but you wouldn’t listen. I spoke to you, but you wouldn’t hear. I called out to you, but you wouldn’t answer.”
Now God instructed them, “Go to my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel” (7:12). He was urging, “Come, all you pastors, shepherds and priests. Get out your Bibles, and see for yourselves the way I work. Look back to my house at Shiloh. I established that church and set my name on it. But the people refused my prophets. And they trusted in their own ways instead. So I cast away the old completely.”
Now He is about to do it again. The Church is just like Shiloh. We allowed sin and corruption in the house. We have become so degenerate in our ways, we no longer represent Jesus. Look around: who is standing in the gap? Who is crying out with a repentant heart? God must see apathy and compromise. God’s Word clearly warns that He lifted His presence from Shiloh.
to be continued…good news coming.