Today’s scripture selection: Jeremiah 7-11
Key verses: Jeremiah 7:3-8
I’m not much on condemning religion. In fact, I’ve spent the last thirty-some years of life working in the field. A preacher’s kid who became a preacher – that’s me. So, for the most part, I’m fine with the idea of “organized” religion.
But I’d also be the first to say that religion can be worthless. It can, and has, caused horrible pain and misfortune to come upon people. Those who perpetrate it, and those who suffer at the hands of the perpetrators, prove this out.
Think of the child sacrifices of the ancient Middle Eastern religions. Think of the inquisition. Think of the witch trials of Salem. Think of all the “holy” wars fought over the years. Think of 9/11. Well – you get the picture.
Yes, false religion has caused unimaginable pain through the centuries – and it breaks God’s heart.
Jeremiah had this to say about it:
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!’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 forever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.”
As the scripture says, false religion is deadly. But true faith – that expresses itself in compassionate action and that abhors idolatry – that brings life and security.
So, take it from a preacher’s kid. Religion, just for religion’s sake, is worthless. True faith – it’s priceless.
Prayer: Lord, give me a discerning spirit, that I may always be true to true faith. AMEN.