Jeremiah 7 -- 10
It was the Word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Stand in the gate of the Lord's House, and proclaim there this Word, and say, Hear the Word of the Lord, all you of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord (Jeremiah 7:1-2). This was probably on one of the three major feasts that all male Jews were required to attend annually in Jerusalem. These occasions were to be joyful, festive celebrations. However, this time Jeremiah did not give the crowd a warm welcome; instead, he pronounced a most severe and harsh condemnation: Thus says the Lord. . . . Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods that you do not know; And come and stand before Me in this House, which is called by My Name, and say, We are delivered (in order) to do all these abominations? Is this House, which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, says the Lord (7:3,9-11).
Jeremiah warned the people to remember that Shiloh, which for centuries had been the site of the Tabernacle and the presence of God, had been forsaken because of their sins. Unless they sincerely repented, turned from their idols, and obeyed His Word, God would forsake Jerusalem and the Temple, which is called by My Name . . . as I have done to Shiloh (7:14).
Although the Israelites of Judah maintained the required ritualistic form of worshiping God, they also worshiped Jezebel's Canaanite Baal and Egypt's goddess called the queen of heaven. They were defiantly disobeying God's command to them when they entered Canaan: You shall drive them out. . . . You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods (Exodus 23:31-32). Jeremiah the prophet exposed and condemned their wicked worship, saying: The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to (Ashtoreth) the queen of heaven. . . . they have built the high places (altars) of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire (in honor of their demon god Molech) (Jeremiah 7:18,31; 32:35; Leviticus 18:21; II Kings 23:10).
The people considered Jeremiah's preaching far too narrow-minded and would not tolerate this prophet of God. When Jeremiah made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak . . . the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, you shall surely die (Jeremiah 26:8). The presence of the Temple gave them a feeling of security because God dwelt there and had chosen Jerusalem as His City. They were confident that God would never allow them to be destroyed since He had made a Covenant with them as His chosen people. But the Covenant God had made did not give them license to sin.
Centuries later, Jesus also condemned mere formal religious activity and quoted from these chapters when He entered the Temple and cast out all that sold and bought in the Temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers . . . And said to them, It is written, My House shall be called the House of Prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves (Matthew 21:12-13).
Then, as now, the people insisted that each person should have the freedom to worship according to his own conscience.
Jesus said: Not every one who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven. . . . This people draw near Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips; but their hearts are far from Me. But in vain they worship Me (Matthew 7:21; 15:8-9).
As the One who demanded a cleansed Temple and undefiled worshipers (Jeremiah 7:1-11). Christ quoted from these verses in Matthew 21:13 and Mark 11:17. (Also I Cor. 6:19-20.)
7:15 whole seed of Ephraim means all the people of the Northern Kingdom; 7:33 fray them away means drive them away; 8:14 water of gall means bitter afflictions; 8:21 astonishment hath taken hold of me means I am seized with dismay; 9:7 melt them and try them means test them by the process of affliction; 9:17 cunning women means women skilled at weeping and mourning; 10:22 noise of the bruit means sound of a rumor.
Government Official: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR) · BPM Staff: Rick Hash · Pray for J. Gordon Henry [Prayer Seminar] Ministries · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite · Country: Armenia (3 million) southwest Transcaucasia between Europe and Asia · Major languages: Armenian and Russian · Religious freedom · 79% Armenian/Russian Orthodox; 3% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Realize that the will of God is often different from our own desires (II Corinthians 12:8-9).
II Peter 1
Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 1:9