THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Listen Before its Too Late Jeremiah 7
Dr. Jerry A Collins
IGNORING GOD WHEN HE HAS CLEARLY SPOKEN ALIENATES ONE FROM GOD
God explains Himself 1-8
Verse 1-2: Jeremiah received another message from the Lord v 1. He was to go to the gate of the temple in Jerusalem and deliver a prophecy in God's name to all Judah who entered to worship v 2.
Verse 3-6: Here are six messages for Israel to stay in the land v 3 and v 7:
(1) Amend your ways and your deedsóthat is, repent.
(2) Do not trust in deceptive words from the false prophets and priestís v 4. The people were not to assume that just because they had the temple, the Lord would keep them safe. Three times they said, ď... the temple of the LordĒ believing the Temple was a sort of good luck charm to protect them from any attack.
(3) Truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor stop the injustices against one another v 5.
(4) Do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow the helpless in society who could not easily protect themselves if wronged v 6.
(5) Do not shed innocent blood in this place killing one another rather than due process v 6.
(6) Nor walk after other gods to your own ruin stop the idolatry now v 6!
Verse 7-8: If the people did these things, then God would allow them to remain in the land given their forefathers v 7. However, they are trusting in deceptive words that the Temple would protect them but God said through Jeremiah, to no avail but it will not protect them from Godís wrath v 8.
Israel ignores God 9-12
Verse 9-11: The people commit sins such as steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, offer sacrifices to Baal, walk after other godís v 9 and then they come to the Temple, and stand before Me in this house and say, ďWe are delivered! ďthat you may do all these abominations? v 10. They would go through this ritual only so they could go out and sin again. †Paul said, are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! (Romans 6:1). This house has become a den of robbers just as it was at the time of Jesus (Matthew 21:12-13). Just as Jesus saw it, so God said, ďI have seen itĒ v 11.
Verse 12: They think they are safe in the Temple so God told them, ďBut go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first. Itís where the Tabernacle stood for about 350 years (Jud 18:31). They were to see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel carried into exile. Therefore, Jeremiah's hearers should not think that He would preserve the temple from destruction in spite of their sins.
NB: Today we are the Temple of God, where His name dwells. Do we think we can live in sin and say, ďItís okay, Iím saved, Iím forgiven?Ē God knows what you are bringing into His Temple; your body, soul, and mind. Look at His attitude in Israel. It is no different today for His body, the church. †
God will ban Israel 13-15
Verse 13-14: Now, because you have done all these things...and I spoke to you...but you did not hear... therefore: The people had been sinning in all these ways for a long time. The Lord had sent them prophets and leaders who had warned them from the earliest days of their departure from Him v 13. Consequently, I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust making the temple a good luck charm instead of trusting God. As I did to Shiloh, deserted and a ruins the Lord promised to destroy the temple bearing his name as Shiloh v 14.
ALIENATION FROM GOD ISOLATES ONE FOR THE JUDGMENT OF GOD
Verse 16-18: God told Jeremiah to not pray for Judah because He will not respond to Jeremiahís prayer v 16. Judahís sin is so bad now, no one can appeal to God to stop the coming judgment. Canít you see what they are doing both in the outlying areas and the city streets v 17? God gives an example of their sin: whole families were acting together the children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven and they also pour libations pouring wine and oil over them v 18. Worship of Queen of Heaven popular in Judah during reign of Manasseh (2 Kings 23:4-14), though it began earlier (Amos 5:26) done on housetops (Jer 19:13; 32:29; Zeph. 1:5).
Verse 19-20: They did this to spite God, but their false worship did not damage God v 19. The people would bear the consequences of their actions, is it not themselves they spite to their own shame? Behold, my anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man...beast...trees... fruit...it will burn and not be quenched. Their flagrant disobedience would come back on them v 20. It would be unquenchable.
GOD REQUIRES OBEDIENCE NOT HEARTLESS RELIGIOUS RITUAL
Verse 21-23: God told Judah to eat their whole burnt offerings which should have been burned up completely on the altar v 21. Carefully observing His instructions about offering animal sacrifices mattered little to Him if their hearts were not right. God could say this because burnt offerings and sacrifices were not His primary concern v 22. Obedience to His words is what He commanded them first v 23. He had given them the Decalogue, which called for righteous conduct, before He gave them the religious ritual. It was more important that they obey Him and walk in His way than fake ritual.
Verse 24-26: In spite of these promised blessings, the Israelites had not obeyed or even listened to the Lord's voice v 24. They had followed their own advice, and their evil hearts had stubbornly refused to yield to His will. Competing to be more obnoxious than their forefathers sent on a downward spiral. Ever since the Exodus, God had graciously arisen early to send prophets to urge the Israelites to follow Him v 25 (v 13). The image of God getting up early in the morning stresses the priority He gave to instructing His people. In spite of these instructions, each succeeding generation of Israelites did not listen or pay attention v 26. They did even more evil than their fathers.
Verse 27-28: The Lord told Jeremiah as he passed along all these words to his contemporaries, they would not listen to him any more than they had listened to the former prophetís v 27. Godís truth is to be proclaimed whether they believe it or not (Eze 2-3; Romans 1). Jeremiah was to tell the people that they were a disobedient nation v 28. They refused to accept correction from their Lord.
Verse 29: Here is a lamentation: The people were to cut off their hair as a sign of grief. The Nazirite's hair was the mark of his separation to God (Num 6:5). When he was ceremonially defiled, he had to shave his head. So Jerusalem because of her corruption must do likewise. Her mourning is because the Lord has cast her off. They were to go up to a bare hilltop and lament their fate, because the Lord had rejected and forsaken this generation to pour out His wrath.
NB: God did not save you to be religious but to obey Him. Stop using ritual to cover your sin.†
GODS JUDGMENT WILL BE DEVASTATINGLY APPLIED TO THE RECALCITRANT
Verse 30-34: The reason for this strange behavior v 29 was the evil they did in the Lord's sight v 30.
(1) They have set their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it v 30. They did this in front of God not behind Him. They had no shame. (2) They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom v 31. High places were used to worship idols. The Hinnom Valley is just below the city, on the south side. Itís where the refuse from the Temple sacrifices and the garbage were continuously burned. Jesus looked out over this valley called Gehenna and compared hell to this ďLake of FireĒ (Matthew 5:22, 29-30). (3) To burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind v 31. Horrible child sacrifice was made to these idols (2 Kings 16:3; 21:6; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 19:5). Not only did God never command such a thing, He would not even think of such horrible thing for people to do. King Josiah had attempted to wipe out this horrible practice (2 Kings 23:10), but the people revived it after he died in 609 B.C. (Ezek. 20:25-26). Godís law protected the children. Jesus loved the children.
NB: evil in My sight, declares the Lord; this is the essence of all sin. Sin, by definition, is what is evil in Godís sight. Romans 3:23 fall short of the glory of God.
Verse 32-33: This valley will one day be re-named the valley of the Slaughter because there will be so many dead bodies when Babylon attacks Jerusalem, there will be no place to bury them v 32. So they will pile up in this valley, where they will be food for the birdís v 33. This future mass grave would become a feeding ground for birds and beasts. No one would frighten the animals away because the Israelites who remained alive would be taken away as captives.
Verse 34: And the voice of joy and gladness will cease in Jerusalem, for the land will become a ruin.
1. Here is a reminder that we can drift from Godís standards very easily and jeopardize our walk with him. We casually believe God grades on a curve or winks at our compromise or understands our sin.
2. Our God is relentless about gaining our hearts. While we are separate from Him, this worldís influence is toxic. God knows this and ever calls us to full devotion to Him or face the consequences.