Talismans and Slogans
Jeremiah 7.1—29 is part of what is called Jeremiah’s “Temple Sermon,” because in the text the LORD commanded Jeremiah to preach the word he received from God to the people of Judah at the gate of the temple. The message was dire. The Judahites had sinned egregiously against God by defiling the temple, which bore the Name of God, and they had unjustly treated the most vulnerable among them (e.g. immigrants, the fatherless, widows, and the innocent, etc.). Through Jeremiah, the LORD condemned the Judahites for both their idolatry and their injustice. He exposed their talismans (good luck charms) and slogans (justifying mantras)—their investment of trust into institutions and ideas that were not God and God’s ways.
What are the talismans and slogans in our lives that are idolatrous and justify our injustice? What institutions and ideas have we invested our trust in other than God and God’s ways embodied in Jesus Christ? There is a personal dimension to these questions. There is also a corporate dimension. What talismans and slogans do we have as a church? What talismans and slogans do we have as Americans? If we are to walk in righteousness before God and dwell in intimate fellowship with God, we must be willing to repent of our idols and injustice and ask God to root them out of our lives. We can only do this as part of God’s people, indwelled by God’s Spirit, the new temple God is building.