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Friday, February 21, 2014

The Epic Failure of Religion

Jeremiah 20:1 – 2 outlines some truth about religion that is still true today.  Let me say up front that I am not a fan of religion in any form.  Religion in all of its forms is an attempt by man to reach God.  Christianity and the Judaism of the Old Testament is not religion under that definition.  In both Old Testament Judaism and Christianity God is the initiator.  He is the one who comes to the people and tells them what they must do to be reconciled to Him.  So for the purposes of this post, really this blog, religion is negative.
Full disclosure I do not like Religion in any of its forms.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Jeremiah had been tasked by God to call Judah to repentance.  He was given a series of messages to deliver that increasingly warned the nation that if they did not turn they would be taken by the Babylonians.  In Jeremiah 20:1 – 2, Pashhur, the chief officer of the temple, hears Jeremiah’s message and reacts by placing Jeremiah in the stocks.  He rejected the Word of the Lord because it did not align with what he had construed as the proper way to come to God.  Oh, he had Jeremiah beaten first.

As Jeremiah was resisted by the priests and prophets of his day, Christ was resisted and pursued by the religious leaders of His.  The Pharisees and Sadducees violently opposed religion.  He was telling them that they had perverted what God had set in place.  In other words they had turned it from God’s idea, to theirs.  Christ and Jeremiah violently opposed religion.  He was telling them that they had perverted what God had set in place.  In other words they had turned it from God’s idea, to theirs.  Christ and Jeremiah both threatened religion.

It is the same today.  Religion shows up where you or I or anyone else comes up with a way to please God other than that which He has prescribed.  Both in the case of those to whom Jeremiah was tasked to confront and those with whom Jesus argued, they had abandoned what God had revealed in His Word and replaced it with their own system.  Jesus addressed that system most clearly in Matthew 5:1 – 7:29.

In both cases the leaders of the people of God had abandoned what God had said.  When they were confronted they resisted because it challenged both their understanding and their position.  We do well when we begin to criticize to make sure that we are following what God has said and not what we think He ought to have said…

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