A House Of Thieves :: by Grant Phillips

“10 Listen to the Lord, you leaders of “Sodom.” Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.” 11 “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?”

says the Lord. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath

and your special days for fasting—they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. 14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them! 15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,

for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. 16Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. 17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. 18 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. 19 If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. 20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 21 See how Jerusalem [Washington D.C.], once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers. 22 Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine. 23 Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows.” (Isaiah 1:10-20; 21-23 NLT)

I certainly realize that the entirety of this passage is directed from God to Israel, Jerusalem being their capital. However, as I was reading this chapter, I was overwhelmed at the similarity between Israel’s spiritual condition at that time and ours today. In most of the verses, they are parallel.

Even though this message is for Israel, God still expects us to use the application that is meant for our benefit.

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 5:4)

The shenanigans being played out in our government today are clearly laid out in the above verses. Is it not true that where once was justice and righteousness,  now there is murder on a grand scale? Think of the abortion of innocent babies. Is it not true that our governmental leaders are rebels and companions of thieves? Do they not love bribes and demand payoffs? Do our leadersreally help the orphans or fight for the rights of widows? I think not.

The majority of our governmental leaders are rotten to the core and care about nothing but their own greed and power. There are a few who have some scruples, but they are as rare as a virgin in a house of ill-repute.

Give me a minute. I’ve got to go take a shower after dwelling on that bunch of jackals.

I’m back. Let’s talk about the churches now. Where do I even start? Nearly all of the passages above zero in on the condition of the church today. I think Jesus called it “lukewarm.”

I applaud those few churches sprinkled throughout America that still stand strong on the Word, who recognize the true head of the Church and give Him more than just lip service. God bless those churches who know and practice prayer, who actually teach the whole Word of God. Praise to them who yearn for the souls of men to be saved, admonishing that there is only one way to God, and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ. Hats off to those dear churches who want nothing more than to know and serve their Savior and Lord. Pray for them who love righteousness and stand up to the evil that is sweeping this land. The time is quickly approaching when this Church will unite with the Lord in the clouds and stand amazed with the angels at the Lord’s judgment that is soon to come.

What about the majority of the so-called righteous?

These misguided folks can sing their songs, pray their prayers, give their money, proclaim their social gospel and continue their humanistic endeavors, but they will not be accepted by the very God they say they follow. Their god is a god of convenience and greed. They are not righteous in the eyes of God, and have missed the mark.

All the pretty bells and whistles mean nothing to God. He wants us to worship Him. He wants us to look for Him, to long for Him, to praise Him. He wants the heart of the repentant publican (Luke 18:13).

“For this is what the high and lofty One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15 NIV)

But proud people will not bow the knee of worship. They expect God to bow to their beliefs. They are more like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11.

What has happened to most of the local churches in this country? They have become a den of thieves, just as the offices of their political leaders. There is one difference though.

Our political leaders steal from the taxpayer. They steal money, opportunities, and most of all, freedom.

However, these corrupt churches steal something much more precious. They steal the opportunity of true worship and praise to Almighty God, and they steal the souls of man.

“How” you say? I never thought you would ask.

When homosexual lifestyles are condoned by the church, people die in their sins.

When sex outside of the marriage bed (husband/man & wife/woman) is winked at by the church, people die in their sins.

When God’s Word is not proclaimed as He wrote it, people die in their sins.

When prophecy is avoided, about 1/3 of the Bible, people will not be ready when Jesus comes for His Church, and will have to face God’s wrath in the Tribulation.

When leaders of the church are caught up in sexcapades and other sinful incidents, people die in their sins.

When leaders of the church steal from their parishioners then live like socialites, people die in their sins.

When music is allowed in the church that can be classified as nothing more than noise at best and blasphemous at worse, people die in their sins.

When church people fight among themselves, gossip and malign others, people die in their sins.

“And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13)

Sadly, many local churches have become a “den of thieves” instead of “the house of prayer.” If you happen to be pastoring one, come to Christ as did the publican. If you happen to be attending one, ask God to show you what to do.

If your church group is not teaching all of God’s Word, not uplifting Jesus Christ, not in prayer, not witnessing, not loving others, but advancing a politically correct social gospel, you need to make a decision.

If the Holy Spirit has touched your heart with the Scriptures that have been shown, humble your heart and seek His face. Call upon Jesus. Get in His Word … now, and learn of Him.

Our country desperately needs the prayers of a God-fearing body of Christ. We the Church will be leaving this world when the Father says it’s time. That could be any time now. I don’t know when. That’s God’s call.

The point is, many are being led down the road of destruction by people they trust to tell them the Truth, but instead they are receiving only a social gospel. Thousands and thousands of innocent people are sitting in pews thinking they are in a house of worship, but are actually sitting among a “den of thieves.”

Time is quickly running out. We need to pray. We need to witness while we still can.

Grant Phillips