Monday, March 4, 2013
Morning Psalm: 80 | Evening Psalms: 77, 79
Jeremiah 7:1-15 | Romans 4:1-12 | John 7:14-36
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord’” (Jer 7:3-4).
Jeremiah is standing at the gate of the Lord’s house delivering the words of the Lord to His people. God’s words are both stern and merciful to His people who are following false gods and believing the words of false prophets. The word of the Lord is always merciful, spoken to save His people from the brink of destruction. The train is coming and they cannot hear the whistle nor see the massive steel barreling down the track. Regardless of their sins, the people of Judah believe they have safe haven in the Temple in Jerusalem. Jeremiah reminds them that their delusion of being safe from the consequences of their sinful lives is driving them closer to the fate of Shiloh.
Do the words of the Lord to the people in Judah have any ring of familiarity to your ears? They do to mine. Oh that I could say they do not; however, I know that I am a sinner saved by grace. At any given time that old proverbial “banana peel” is waiting for my foot to come down and take me off in a direction I don’t care to go. And then, in His faithfulness and love, the word of the Lord comes to me, as it did to the people of Judah, “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place” (Jer 7:3).
Our safety lies only in the forgiving arms of our Savior under His shed blood. This penitential time is a loving and merciful gift to us. It is a call to us to come aside and allow the Lord to shine His loving light on the dark places in our lives. Do not be afraid. God’s love is cleansing, it is freeing, and it is healing.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for Your love that never wants to leave us where we are, but is always calling us to a deeper holiness of life. Please grant us the grace to heed Your words and trust only in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The Rev. Kathy LaLonde (MDiv 1989, DMin Student)
Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
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