Sentimental Relics

God doesn’t keep relics.

But that doesn’t mean that physical items are of no importance to Him.

We are in the process of moving our household from one location to another so that we can live in the neighborhood where we are planting a church.

In all honesty, I keep too much stuff for purely sentimental reasons. In order to do that though I have to tell myself a story to justify it. Do you know what I mean?

We may need this later.
Someone we know may need this later.
The kids will be interested in this.
I’m finally going to start using this.

These are all things that help me create a story about why I must keep something. Too often though, these are little lies I’m telling myself in order to mask my desire to hold on to something for sentimental reasons.

Sentiment is not all bad, but sentiment untempered is a symptom of both selfishness and a lack of faith.

In the Old Testament book of Exodus, whole chapters are dedicated (twice!) to spelling out the details of how the Ark of the Covenant is to be fashioned, along with all the details for how the worship tent for God’s people should be made. Later in the book of Kings, the details for the building of the permanent temple are spelled out. It became the new resting place for the Ark.

These books give details about how the project was funded, who was going to do the work, and also details about the kind of ornamental decorations for curtain rings and wall coverings. It seems God cares very much about physical space and the details that go into it.

But God is anything but sentimental over these spaces or the things found in them.

The purpose for these places and for these details are worship for the gathered people of God, and worship is something that forms God’s people as they live lives of justice and truth in the land.

When worship is profaned and when justice and truth are absent from the land, God allows the physical details to look like the spiritual details.

This is why Jeremiah 3:16 says this:
And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again.

And then Jeremiah 7:3 says:
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 these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’

Right relics plus profane worship equals no worship at all, but judgment.

The Ark and the Temple went from being physical reminders of a spiritual reality to being sentimental relics in the life of His people that they used in profane worship.

What physical things are you holding on to out of sentiment?
Ask yourself, “Am I using physical things as a relic of a relationship that has changed for the worse?”