"Good Luck Charm"
When was the last time you played tag? I played tag last week. That’s right, last week a group of second graders from our church day camp taught me how to play toilet bowl tag. I must admit I had never heard of toilet bowl tag before last week. In case you don’t know the rules, this is how you play; It is just like regular tag except that if you are tagged you have to stand in one place with your hand held out like a flusher and someone who is not “it” can run by and push your hand down like they are flushing and you have to spin around like the water in a toilet bowl and then you are back in the game. It is fun and disturbing all at the same time. Back when I was a kid, before the days of toilet bowl tag, when we played Tag, Capture the Flag or Hide and Seek we just had a spot designated as home base. If you made it to base whoever was “it” couldn’t get to you. On base you were safe.
In Jeremiah 7 God has sent Jeremiah to the doors of his Temple to give the people this message: “Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, ‘We are safe!’-only to go right back to all those evils again?” (Jeremiah 7:9&10)
At this point in Biblical history God is done offering chance after chance to his people. They have been disobedient and unfaithful long enough. He is allowing them to lose their land, their homes and for many even their lives. He has come to this breaking point in no small part because they are using him as a good luck charm and his temple as home base. They are worshipping other gods, they are worshipping the work of their own hands and living however they chose, but when things get dicey they point to the Temple and say “nothing can hurt us because we have that.” But in these verses God is letting them know that that is not how He works.
Making God our magic charm who gives us gold stars for attending church but will give us a tummy ache if we don’t bow our heads and say the blessing doesn’t increase his influence. It actually strips us of his power in our lives. 2 Timothy 3:5 says “They act religious, but they reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that.”
I expend too much energy on doing the things that will make me appear right with God rather than on things that actually make me right with God. I am quick to run into the Temple and say “here, I am safe” when what God actually wants to know is who I am when I am not in the Temple. Do I have a broken and contrite heart? Do I love others as he loves me? Do I bear with the faults of others? Do I forgive over and over again?
The good news for us and for the people in Jeremiah is that our God does have the power to make us godly. When we seek him whole-heartedly we will find him (Jeremiah 29:13, 14) When we find him we don’t find a good luck charm that will make sure we are safe but we find a savior who will make sure that we are His.
Debbie Dartt Ministries © 2016
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