7:9 – 11;
“Will you steal
and murder and commit adultery and swear by other gods, burn incense to
Baal and live by the standards of 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 this house which
bears My Name become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching”
says the LORD.
Part of this passage was quoted by Jesus when He entered the temple
“‘My house shall
be called a house or prayer’, but you have made it ‘a den of robbers’ ”.
What the Israelites where going in the temple was curious; the temple
was meant to be a house of fellowship between God and His people, a
place people go to seek God’s face, but the Israelites where
reinterpreting this purpose to their own profit. Merchants were using
the temple grounds to merchandise their best cattle for higher profit,
using the worship of God for a bargaining chip to charge more for their
wares. This looks innocuous until we come to realise that the Merchants
did not come to the temple to worship God, they came to make a profit at
God’s expense, and thus, part of their merchandise (their value added)
is God Himself. We can immerging that it became a very fashionable thing
to buy offering at the temple and to change your money for offering
there as all the transactions carried out there would no doubt be
peddled as having some special blessed quality or the other, and since
the priesthood ate out of the offerings offered to God (not to mention
the special offerings that the merchants must on doubt offer to bribe
the priests for permission to use the temple grounds as a market), the
priesthood were complacent with the activities; it meant more food on
their tables. What is wrong with all this?
Witchcraft: It is a way of forcing the people to do more than
they really need to do to satisfy all righteousness, it is also a way of
giving glory to people who happen to have more cash around than others
because they can afford to bear the extra burden.
Self righteousness: This means they were altering God’s standards
and setting up their own standards of what is right. This violates the
second commandment; it is idolatry on its own not to talk of the fact
that the end is to satisfy their covetousness.
Seduction / confusion: They where siphoning the respect that
people had for God for private gain. This is a way of making themselves
into little gods that must be appeased before you can worship the living
God. that was exactly the problem with the tower of Babel; men trying to
make a private franchise on God’s glory –
“I will not share
My glory with idols; or My honour with men.”
the deliverance ministry, whenever the above three factors are at play,
a group of demonic spirits are very likely to be behind it. They are
called by many names but one of their names is ‘robbers’. They are also
known as religious spirits, seducing spirits, spirits of error, and
antichrist spirits among a host of other names. Wherever these spirits
have found root, the place is defiled by offence and the Holy Spirit
will not operate.
The three sins stated above are highly intertwined. For example, in
Ezekiel 13: 17 – 23, God spoke against women who preach heresy and set
up diverse standards of righteousness to confuse and manipulate people
to satisfy their greed, by backbiting and tongue-lashing those who do
not conform to their standards and praising those who do, God says they
had been killing those who should live and giving life to those who
should die. It is also noteworthy that God accuses them of divination.
Divination is equated with rebellion to God in Samuel 15: 2. It is the
act of determining destiny. To practice divination is to reject God’s
destiny for our lives and to embrace the devil’s choice of destiny for
us. Rebellion is to choose to reject God’s council for our life and to
choose our own council as a model or to follow some other council but
God’s as a model for our lives. In other words, what the women where
doing was to tell God’s people “You can only be this or that”, “You
cannot become this or that”, “You are not qualified to be this or that”…
and so on.
Back to Jeremiah 7: 9, we have been able to see that stealing (from
God), murder and perjury (swearing by false gods) took place in the
temple in Jesus time, also divination (a form of witchcraft). Do you
know that Baal worship started out and is in fact hero worship? Even the
name ‘Baal’ is derived from a word that means ‘great champion’.
is easy in retrospect to condemn the Israelites for all these things
they were doing, but can we sincerely say we are faultless in this
matter? For instance the sin of the women in Ezekiel 13, such events as
back-biting, unnecessary emphasis on dressing, such considerations as
age barrier, class barrier, clicks, religiously correct language and
many other standards that are encouraged in the church but did not
originate in the teachings of Christ and those teachings that, although
biblical, are used to further the cause of prejudice, hate, the holier
than thou attitude, to down play the importance of the Holy spirit, to
God’s mark of endorsement so as to perpetuate human endorsement,
teachings that equate affluence with righteousness, academic attainments
with spiritual wisdom, and all such confusing doctrines and practices
which are directly or indirectly being encouraged (in word or deed) in
the church all amount to divination (living by the standards of strange
gods), while hero worship; either in the form of ‘Ogun’, ‘Oya’ or
‘Shango’ worship or Christian ‘spiritual hero worship, is easy to
identify in the church.
Accordingly, the bible declares the consequences of these acts of
ungodliness in Jeremiah 7: 15 & 16 thus;
“I will thrust
you from my presence just as I did all of your brothers, the people of
Ephraim. So, do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition
for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you”.
This means that in places where such practices are accepted as status
quo, the presence of God (the
glory) which is God’s favour and love, deserts the people. It is even
worse that God declares that He would not listen to any intercessory
prayer made on behalf of such groups. That is terrible!
Compare this judgment with what we find in Ezekiel 14: 1 – 11, note that
verse 7 states that the acts of idolatry and divination (wicked
stumbling-block) are acts of separating oneself from God. So in the end,
it proves a very appropriate judgment after all; if we turn our backs on
God, He will turn His back on us.