READ: Jeremiah 7-8
THINK: Have you ever fooled yourself into thinking that things were okay between you and God, when deep inside you knew it wasn't true? That's not difficult-especially if you keep up your church involvement along with a few religious routines. These things aren't all bad, but they can certainly make it easier to become spiritually complacent if you're not careful. The people of Jeremiah's day believed they were okay simply because they had the temple and followed its rituals. For that reason, they saw no need to repent. Like many today, they claimed to follow God and understand His love, yet the way they lived totally contradicted the standards of His Word. Remember, following Jesus isn't a matters of religion, but rather of relationship. No good work or form of worship can replace that.
RESPOND: Though the people continued to "worship," what did they need to change to escape destruction (7:3-7), and why did they see no need to do this? (See 7:3 note.) How and why can religious activity be deceiving? According to 7:8, what were the people trusting, and how do people today do the same thing? Why did the people of Judah think they were okay with God (7:9-10)? (See 7:9-10 note.) What was "Shiloh" (7:12), and how should it have been an example to Judah? (See 7:12 note.) According to 7:23, what command did people need to follow in order to be God's people, and how did they respond (7:24,28)? What terrible sins were committed in the Valley of Be Hinnom (7:31), and what significance does this name have in the New Testament? (See 7:31 note.) Why did people not know the Lord's requirements (8:7), and how had they become ignorant of His laws? (See 8:7 note.) How was a lack of shame over sin an indication that the people were beyond hope? (See 8:12 note.) How do people today show little or no shame for wicked behavior? According to 8:18, how did Jeremiah view God through these times?
PRAY: Pray that you'll develop a deeper devotion and discipline to put God's Word into practice so you won't forget God or how vital His Word is to your life.
ACT: Is any kind religious activity or routine in your life becoming a substitute for true devotion and obedience to God? If so, reorder you priorities and relinquish the activity if necessary. Give due time and attention to God and the purposes He's shown you. If the activity is worth continuing, keep it in proper perspective.
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