[From Oct. 13, 2015]
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doing, and let me dwell with you in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: 'This is the Temple of the LORD...'"
If anything or anyone is associated with a church, it's got to be GOD, right?!?! So how surprising/shocking to read in Jeremiah 7 and hear God say he might be present in church (temple) IF (and only if!) the people change their actions. It's not enough to just "come to church." Sure, houses of worship can be divine experiences, but we shouldn't take for granted God's presence. As if all we have to do is enter the church and God will be there - waiting on our beck and call.
God tells the people in Jeremiah that they need to start living right. Later, in verses 5-7, God identifies how that should look: act justly, don't oppress foreigners or orphans or widows, don't kill innocent people, don't wander after other gods... all of those actions hurt those who perpetuate them. And God wants to distance himself from actions like that.
So, as a pastor of a church, I shouldn't just assume God will always be present at church. I need to actively pursue righteous living! My role is to help usher people into God's presence. How tragic if my personal practices actually got in the way of others coming to experience God! I want to let God in to church!