“This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard of the LORD’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.” ~ Jeremiah 26:2-3
A car speeds down the Interstate. The red signs blaring out “DO NOT ENTER” and “WRONG WAY” make no impression on his drunken senses. Then it’s all over in a head-on collision.
Which direction are you headed in? How tempting to point out how others are going in the wrong direction rather than examining our own hearts! Yes, the sexual pervert, the murderer, the abuser, and the thief are headed in the wrong direction. The Lord calls out to them: “I have no pleasure in the death of anyone … so turn, and live” (Ezekiel 18:32 ESV).
But his call is not only for them. Notice where the Lord sent Jeremiah to speak the words of today’s reading, which call the people to turn from their evil ways. Not to a brothel, tavern, or prison, but to the temple. He was to speak to those coming to worship.
Rather than honestly confessing our own sins, how easy to let the act of worship (or let other good things that are meant to bless us) dull our sense of guilt and deaden our desire to serve our Savior. We tell ourselves: “I’m not perfect, but God forgives. So what’s the big deal if I mess up? Do I have to listen to everything he says? Just let me live life my way.”
That mindset speeds down the Interstate of life in the wrong direction, oblivious to the warning signs. How soon before the fatal crash that ends in hell?
The Lord calls to you and me each day: “Turn and live. Turn from your evil ways. For I want to bless you. How earnestly I want to bless you! For I gave up my own dear Son for you.”