Confronting Hypocrisy

KEY VERSE: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.” —Jeremiah 7:3


JEREMIAH’S MISSION TO Judah was to tell them of their failings and to direct them back to worshiping God in sincerity and truth. In this 7th chapter of his book, God directs Jeremiah to stand in the gate of the Lord’s house and to proclaim the words of the Lord, as stated in our Key Verse, to all who entered to worship God. The people of Judah believed that they could do anything they wanted during the week, and would be safe from, God’s wrath if they were they went to worship on the Sabbath Day. God saw great hypocrisy in their actions.

It was not sufficient for the people to go to the Temple to worship. Jeremiah reminded them that “if you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, 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 fore fathers for ever and ever.” (Jer. 7:5-7, New International Version) not to steal and murder, commit offerings to Baal or go after other gods, and then go to the Temple and say, “We are safe,” because this would be hypocritical. (vss. 8-10, NIV) This reformation was not to happen, however, and instead, Jeremiah’s words would be fulfilled: “I [will] cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the ‘voice of the bride-groom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.” (vs. 34) The reason why this prophecy was fulfilled is outlined clearly in verses 17-33.

This was also a prophecy against spiritual Israel and Judah. In Jeremiah’s day, the captivity of Judah to Babylon was imminent. The desolation of their land was to be even more severe after they rejected Jesus as their Messiah, and when he rejected them. Again in Jesus’ day, as in Jeremiah’s day, hypocrisy would be the reason for their rejection. Their false religion would be the reason for the Lord leaving them as in Shiloh, when the Ark of the Covenant fell into the hands of the Philistines, and “the glory [of God] departed from Israel.”—I Sam. 4:21,22; Jer. 7:12-14

When the Early Christian church—spiritual Israel—came under the control of ambitious leaders, it was led astray by their leaders. Hypocrisy entered the church, and sincere people were led to believe that they were ‘safe’ if they attended church on Sunday, and did as they pleased throughout the week. But God will not tolerate false religion of any kind. As Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (See Matthew 7:21-23.) Earlier in this sermon on the mount Jesus said, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees [known for their hypocrisy] ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”—Matt. 5:20

When the present social order comes to an end, and God’s kingdom of righteousness prevails in the earth, fulfilling Jeremiah 7:3.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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