Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house and proclaim there this word
and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,
“Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.
Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the Lord,
the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’
I must admit something as I write this blog this morning ... first, that Jeremiah is my favorite prophet because he seems so human; I can identify with him and his impatience with the stiff-necked people of Judah. Like Jeremiah, I often harbor harsh criticism for those who are willing to accept the blessings of God while rejecting Him. At the same time, I am filled with sadness for the reality of where they will spend eternity if they do not set aside their pride and worldliness in favor of surrendering all to God. I struggle with whether it is okay for me to be offended on behalf of Jesus. But then I look at Jeremiah, and see myself.
In fact, in Jeremiah 7:2-4, I am seeing a situation that is being played out far too often in the affluent communities of America. I have personally witnessed it, so I do not speak out of turn or about something that I know nothing of. But I am offended when I see the wealthy in upscale communities vociferously competing for coveted spots for their children in Christian private schools. Often, the efforts to place their children in these exclusive schools begins while the child is still in the womb! And it is not the desire for a Christian education that offends me, but rather the disinterest in knowing the Person upon whom the education is based.
These parents are far too willing to set themselves (and their children) above what they consider a substandard education in the public schools, but they are equally consistent in denying faith [or any kind of relationship] in Jesus; He Who is the very foundation of the education their children are receiving.
But not all the blame can be laid at the feet of these defiant and rebellious parents. Shame on the Churches and the Church schools who accept students whose parents do not support the Gospel of the Kingdom! Is it all about the money that the parents pay that supports the Church organization [or should I say business]? Why isn't the Church concerned that the home be [necessarily] a stronghold of Faith? Are these Churches aware of the Parable of the Sower and how the Word that was sown on stony hearts had no depth in which to nourish the seed, and it therefore did not take root? Is it possible that this supposedly prized "Christian education" is more about the prestige and the status, than it is about Christ?
I personally have heard Elitist unbelieving parents bragging about writing a letter of recommendation to help another unbelieving friend's child gain entrance into their prestigious private school. And my spirit saw Christ's grief-stricken face as I fought to control my righteous indignation! Like Jeremiah, I wanted to shout for them to amend their blasphemous deeds and words. I wanted them to know what an honor it was for their child to be taught the ways of Jesus, and I wanted them to truly know the Lord who died for them!
I wanted these parents to know what I think of those Church school officials who are so tolerant of disbelief [by accepting massive amounts of tuition money]. These parents are trusting in the [lying] words of those who tell them it is okay to continue to worship the gods of this world [money, status, privilege], and then give lip service to how wonderful it is their child is attending this Christian school. Their exclamations of "The School, the School, the School" is no different than the Jewish sinners shouting to God in His House, and proclaiming "The temple, the Temple, the Temple".
Like Jeremiah, I am truly weary of this self-centered, egotistic, superficial, and self-seeking generation! Why is Jesus and the Cross so offensive to these people who have everything? They have no financial worries, no needs of any kind. Perhaps it is because nothing says you are a sinner more than the Cross, and no one says you are in need of a Savior, more than Jesus. He is a mirror that reflects our pride, our idolatry, and the darkness of our souls. And while I know that my indignation reflects what angers God, Himself, I need to be careful that my anger does not cause me to sin. So, for now, I will continue to bite my tongue. But I will never stop proclaiming my faith in Jesus -- even when the looks of disgust surface, and the eyes roll, and the subject is quickly changed ... And I will pray for their children; that they might bear fruit from hearing the Word and lead their parents to the knowledge of Jesus; a knowledge in which all the riches of this world pale in comparison.