Move Forward; Not Backwards

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: "Stand at the gate of the LORD's house and there proclaim this message: "Hear the word of the LORD. 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!"...
"Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my name, and say, "We are safe",  safe to do all these detestable things?
Has my House, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you?". . .
"Walk in obedience to all I command you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their sinful hearts. They went backward and not forward." 

Jeremiah 7:1-24

Authenticity is very important to God. God looks at the heart and not the outward shows we put up in church for others to see.

All throughout Scripture, we see the struggle God had with His children as He continually tried to plead with them to repent from their sins and turn back to Him. Constantly, God would painfully plead with them. But His children were always recalcitrant and remained entrenched in sin and idolatry. To the Israelites, going to the temple to offer sacrifices kept them safe from divine wrath. They could steal, murder, commit adultery, mistreat foreigners, and commit whatever wickedness their heart desired and still feel comfortable in the temple!

But God was saying: "Not So!". "You cannot disrespect my House that bears my Name. You cannot turn my House into a den of robbers. You cannot do all these detestable things and still feel safe! I am watching!"

Frankly, the behavior of the Israelites is no different from what we see today. God's church has so much deception and sin that I believe God is nauseated by the hypocrisy and lack of repentance.

But what strikes me the most are the concluding words of God, "Walk in obedience to all I command you. But they did not listen or pay attention. Instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward."

What a sobering assertion of the consequences of sin! Sin sets you backwards and never forward no matter how much temporary pleasure it brings!
Avoid sin and you will move forward in blessings. Dabble in sin and you will move backwards with pain and regret. Move forward; Not backwards.

Prayer: Lord please help me to move forward in obedience and not backwards in sin. Amen