Burning down His temple

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Jeremiah 51:54-52:34; Proverbs 26:18-19

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Jeremiah 52:13-14 “And he burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem.”

O how aggrieved the people must be to watch the burning of the house of the Lord and all the great houses in Jerusalem! To think that at one time of the history of Israel, the temple of the Lord was fearfully made in reverence and worship of Yahweh. Yet, the Lord our God had given it to the hands of the Babylonian army to be destroyed. Indeed, the Lord has no need of shows of piety if our hearts are not truly with Him. Jeremiah 52:13-14 reminded me of David’s cry to the Lord in Psalm 51; that what the Lord is truly looking for is our faith in Him. A broken and contrite heart; He will not despise.

It is clearly said throughout the Bible that we can only please God with our faith in Him. Faith does not mean that we can freely sin and then offer superficial acts of service or words to try to cover our tracks. Such was condemned in Isaiah 1:11-14 when the Lord said that He was “sick” with all the festivals keeping, incense burning and burnt offerings; for all these were “false and sinful”. Faith in God means the sincerity of our hearts to follow Him even in the most difficult of circumstances. It means faithful obedience to what is given to us in His Word. It also means that when we sin, we sincerely repent and strive to be holy. Indeed, we can have the largest number of people in our congregation, build the most beautiful of churches or even develop the most sophisticated discipleship programs; yet, God will not even consider all these things if we do not have sincere faith in Him.

Lord our God, we spent so much time and effort to do what we thought is pleasing to You; but all these are but secondary to what You really want from us. Teach us what is truly important to your heart so that we can be pleasing to You. Amen.


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