All of us want certain things when we go to the place of worship. For example, we expect to hear a well-prepared message based on the Word of God. We want everything done “decently and in order.” We want to be challenged about our ministry, conduct, and service.
All of these are good things. God also wants something when we gather in His name to worship.
What are those things? Based on Jeremiah’s Temple Sermon recorded in Jeremiah 7, these are the things God wants.
First, God wants devotion. He expects we will worship Him only. He also expects we will worship completely. The people of Jeremiah’s day dabbled in the abominable worship of the Baal gods. They gave devotion to God but they did not worship Him exclusively.
God demands our wholehearted devotion.
Second, God wants obedience. The people in Jerusalem and Judah wanted the benefits of worshiping God but not the expectations of obedience toward God.
Jeremiah cataloged their sins. The list was long and filled with rebellion.
God asked incredulously if they would “steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal, and walk after other gods” and then come brashly and boldly in God’s House and declare, “We are delivered?” (Jeremiah 7:9-10). They had no intention of obeying God. They only intended to use God for their own devices. God wants and demands obedience.
Third, God wants right actions toward the people around us. God chastised the people of Judah because they hurt and took advantage of people all week long and then entered the temple to declare their love for God and His temple.
God said, “If you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever” (Jeremiah 7:5-7).
God wants to bless us, but He wants more. He wants us to be changed as we worship.