12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER ‘; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”
How many times have you wanted to flip a table in frustration or anger? God foretold this event way back in Jeremiah 7:
3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. 4 “Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 5 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 6 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, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. 8 “Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. 9 “Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, 10 then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’-that you may do all these abominations? 11 “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” declares the LORD.
What was happening in this place is that the merchants were deceptive and using religion as a cover for making money from people. They had set up tables for people to buy animals “without blemish” which was a requisite of any animal that was sacrificed. On the surface it seems like a really good idea. Provide a service to people who cannot otherwise find or raise these necessary animals to offer as a sacrifice for their sins. Yet, as always happens, it evolved into a thriving business that was focused on the money rather than the service. It was as though people were having to pay for their salvation and forgiveness and getting cheated for it! This is not at all what God had intended.
How often has mankind set out with good intentions only to have it end in sin and disaster? We must be careful not to do this. Churches, ministry organizations, and even ourselves as individuals are subject to the distortion of the truth in our lives. We might set out to do great things for the Lord, but if we lose sight of the vision He has given us and the Word He has preserved to guide us, then we will fall. We must be wary of this disposition we have as humans. Satan continues to work against us in this way. The slippery slope starts off innocently and slowly until one day we wonder how we got ourself into this mess.
Don’t be deceived. Don’t fall victim to the corruption of this world. Keep your focus on Jesus.