每日诗歌: 牽我的手 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UsZy35NLEQ)
然而，神真的是在谴责宗教吗？ “这称为我名下的殿在你们眼中岂可看为贼窝吗？”（7:11），这句话与我们的主耶稣在洁净圣殿时所说的话遥相呼应（太21:13）。我禁不住想知道：如果圣殿只是象征性的目的，当圣殿被玷污时，为什么耶利米和我们的主会如此呐喊？当神带领他的百姓刚刚出了埃及，神的确没有跟他们说献祭的事（出19:4-6），但是，在颁布十诫之后，他确实将利未记整卷书启示给摩西（出20: 1-17）。这是一个优先次序并非相互排斥的问题。宗教是信仰的外在表现，它们就像根和果子一样是密切相关的，你不能将两者切断，这是耶利米被差遣向犹大人所说预言的真正问题。
Jeremiah 7 [Read]
Jeremiah 8 [Read]
1 Timothy 2 [Read]
What is the difference between faith and religion? Can we have one and not the other? In today’s individualistic society, people tend to place much emphasis on personal spirituality and put down religion. Today’s OT reading helps us to rethink about that.
Jeremiah 7 is the first temple sermon of the book. The prophet was sent by the LORD to proclaim these words at the gate of the Solomon Temple. “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” (Jer 7:4). Such three-peat reminds us about the proclamation of the seraphs “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty” (Isa 6:3). It’s supposed to be an awesome declaration of the holy God of Israel, but they have become deceptive words of Jews because their hearts have gone astray from God. Instead of obeying the commandments and doing the just things (Jer 7:5-7), people of Judah followed the inclination of their evil hearts (7:24). They went backward and not forward, and their ritual became defiled religion. God said “but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people” (7:23). Faith with obedience seems to be all that matters.
But is God really condemning religion altogether? “Has this house, which bears my name, become a den of robbers to you?” (7:11) This saying was echoed by our Lord Jesus as he cleansed the temple (Mt 21:13). I can’t help but wondering: if the temple is only for symbolic purpose, why did Jeremiah and our Lord even bother to cry out when it was defiled? God indeed did not speak to his people about sacrifice as he first led them out of Egypt (Ex 19:4-6), but he did reveal the whole book of Leviticus to Moses after the giving of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-17). It’s a matter of priority, not mutual exclusivity. Religion needs to be the outflowing of faith, and they are closely related like roots and fruit. You cannot cut one from the other, and that was the real problem Jeremiah was send to prophesize to the people of Judah.
We certainly don’t need to follow all the rituals defined for Israel in Leviticus, but the essence of holiness, communal life, atonement, and worship are still part of our faith, or you may call it, our religion. A “Sunday Christian” may not be biblical, but taking religion completely out of the Lord’s Day is equally questionable to me.
Keep on reading.