Read Jeremiah 7 -- 10
All adult men who were physically able were required to attend the three major feasts annually in Jerusalem. These occasions were to be joyful celebrations of praise to God for His provisions and protection. However, this time Jeremiah did not give the crowd a warm welcome; instead, he pronounced a harsh condemnation: The Lord, said to Jeremiah, 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. . . . Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely . . . 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? (Jeremiah 7:1-2,9-10).
Although the Israelites of Judah maintained the required form of worshiping God, their hearts were not submitted to Him. They also worshiped Jezebel's Canaanite Baal and Egypt's goddess called (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) (7:18,31; 32:35; Leviticus 18: 21; II Kings 23:10). They were indifferent to God's command when they entered Canaan: You shall drive them out. . . . You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods (Exodus 23:31-32).
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). Although they ignored the Word of God, the physical presence of the Temple gave them a false sense of security. 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 covenants of God have conditions to live by and do not give His people license to sin.
Centuries later, Jesus also condemned the formal religious activities of the religious leaders and quoted from these chapters when He 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. But Jesus reminds those who call themselves Christians but are living sinful lives that not every one who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven (Matthew 7:21).
Christ Revealed: 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.)
Word Studies: 7:15 whole seed of Ephraim means all the people of the Northern Kingdom; 7:33 fray them away means drive them away; 9:7 melt them, and try them means test them by the process of affliction; 10:22 noise of the bruit means sound of a rumor.
Government Official: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR) · BPM Staff: Rick Hash · Pray for Back to the Bible Missionary Agency · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by a Family that Loves Jesus · Country: St. Vincent and The Grenadines (120,000) in the Lesser Antilles of the eastern Caribbean · Major languages: English and French patois · Religious freedom · 50% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic; 2% spiritist · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and fast in secret so that only the Lord knows (Acts 10:30).
Optional Reading: II Peter 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 25:40