In Jeremiah’s day, the people of Judah tried to use the Temple to protect themselves from their willful actions. They practiced evil thoughts and deeds. They treated each other with injustice. They exploited foreigners, orphans, and widows. They stole, murdered, committed adultery and lied. They even harmed themselves by worshiping idols. But they didn’t think there would be any consequences because they were God’s chosen people. After all, His Temple was in their capital city. He lived with them. Just in case, they reminded each other of that. In fact, they used it as a charm to keep disaster away. They went around chanting, “The Temple of the Lord is here. We are safe.”
Of course, it didn’t work. Silly Israelites, thinking they could fool God and use His temple as a charm. The evil things they were doing made God angry, so He reminded them how He had punished their brothers in the Northern Kingdom. He had sent them into exile and that was the fate coming to these spoiled children who thought they could get away with anything because they were the favorites.
I wonder if I ever use my salvation as a charm to keep me safe while I live the way I want.
My thinking might go like this:
I do the best I can, but no one’s perfect. But I want to stay on God’s good side so I’ll go to church faithfully or wear a cross or fast during Lent or listen to Christian music or go to prayer meeting or have my devotions . . . I know I don’t always please Him, but I’m a Christian; I’m saved by the blood of Jesus. I’m safe.
It dishonors God’s name when I use Him as a charm.
I should never make excuses for my sins because I’m saved. I should never think I’m safe no matter what I do. Instead I should ask what God wants. Then I should live as He wants. So if I go to church, pray, sing, or study the Bible it should be to please Him. My actions should always be in response to Him. That’s what honors His name.