Right after the triumphal entry of Palm Sunday, Jesus enters the temple and despises what He sees. He comes to enter the Lord’s house and instead of finding a house of prayer, He finds a house of deception. He quotes from Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11 when He says,
“Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.‘”Mark 11:17b, ESV- See also Matthew 21:13b and Luke 19:46b
Jeremiah 7 is a warning for God’s people to change their ways. But they did not listen to God, and instead followed words of deception (verse 8). So God told Jeremiah that He would cast them out (verse 15), not listen to their prayers (verse 16), and that His wrath would be poured out on them (verse 20). As long as they refused to listen to His voice, walked in their own council and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, they would just go backwards and never forwards (verse 24).
Contrast that with the picture in Isaiah 56. There we read:
“I will give them, in My house and within My walls, a memorial and a name better than that of sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD to minister to Him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be His servants— all who keep the Sabbath without profaning it and who hold fast to My covenant— I will bring them to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.”(verses 5-7, Berean Study Bible)
We do not purchase our prayers at the table of the moneychangers or need the approval of man for our sacrifice to be pleasing to Him. We simply need to bring our best to Him – our true selves – and trust in His perfect sacrifice for us. Anything less is robbing God of the devotion that is due His name.
It begins with holding fast to God and His covenant by joining together with Him in prayer. Prayer that walks in the council of the Lord is an acceptable sacrifice to Him. He is calling for our whole hearts, to love His name, be His servants and keep His commandments. So let us come to that holy mountain and approach Him with joy for all He has done for us.