people of Judah
had grown complacent in their practical obedience to God, and the Lord called Jeremiah
to confront them in their inexcusable indifference.Like many since their time, the Jews took
great consolation in the outward trappings of their faith; however, the
weightier issues of life went unattended.Judah
continued to worship God, but they also tolerated religious compromise with
idolatry. They compounded their problems by refusing to obey God in regard to
the mundane issues of life.Judah
lapsed, we might say, into “Sunday morning” Christianity.
and Counterfeit Religion (7:1-8:3)
prophet’s assignment (7:1-2)
call to repentance and a promise of forgiveness (7:3-7)
trust in lying words (7: 8-11)
example of God’s judgment (-15)
False Worship of the Queen of Heaven (-20)
forbidden to intercede for Judah
false worship of the families of Judah
provoked the Lord to anger ()
promised a thorough judgment ()
rather than sacrifice (-27)
command to Israel
when he brought them out of bondage in Egypt
(-23): “Obey my voice…Walk in
all the ways I have commanded you…”
refusal to remain faithful to Jehovah ()
unwillingness to hear the prophets that Jehovah sent (-26)
prediction to Jeremiah that Judah
would not hear the prophet’s words ()
sin in the Valley of Hinnom
instructions to Jeremiah (-29)
occasion of God’s wrath (-31): The
defilement of the Temple with
abominations and human sacrifice in the Valley
promise of judgment on Judah
worship and the Lord’s judgment (8:1-3)
enemies would defile the graves of the dead (8:1-2)
remnant of Judah
will utterly despair of life (8:3)
II.God’s Judgment on a Dull and Unheeding People
unwillingness to heed the warnings of the Lord (8:4-17)
mourned for Judah
bitterness of the Lord’s judgment (-16)
will grieve under the judgment of God (-24)
impartial condemnation of the nations (-26)
mocked the idolatry of Judah
coming exile of the Lord’s wayward people (-25)
Lesson Passage Annotated
Instructions to Jeremiah (7:1-2)
occasion of the prophecy:J.A. Thompson
dated this discourse during the reign of Jehoiakim, son of King Josiah (ruled Judah
609-597 B.C.). Originally, this wicked king went by the name Eliakim, but
Pharaoh Neco gave him the throne name Eliakim (See II Kings ). He did not share his father’s passion
for the worship of Jehovah, and he allowed the return of pagan practices to Jerusalem.
location of this discourse:God told
Jeremiah to stand in the gate of the Temple
to deliver this message to Judah
(v. 2).This event may have occurred
during a feast day; thus, the prophet would have gained a large audience for
II.Jehovah’sPromise of Pardon if Judah Would Repent (7:3-7)
your ways and your doings” (v. 3): God called for thorough repentance and
must turn from its evil deeds, and make their lives consistent with their
worship. They still worshipped the Lord at the Temple,
but their lives bore no resemblance to their profession. If they would have corrected
their actions, God promised to dwell with them in “this place.”Jeremiah used a general term (“this place”)
to describe God’s preservation of the people’s inheritance.The phrase may refer to the land
of Judah, the city of Jerusalem,
the Temple itself, or all of these
places.Also, the promise implied the
Lord would dwell with his people in forgiveness and fellowship.
not trust in these lying words” (v.4):The people of Judah
took great confidence in the Temple.They reasoned that the Temple
served as a guarantee of their security, regardless of their disobedience to
God.The three-fold repetition of “the Temple
of the Lord” may indicate a kind of superstitious regard for the Temple.They placed their confidence in the mere
physical proximity of the House of God; thus, they deceived themselves into a
false sense of security.
repetition of the promise of God (vv. 5-7): Jehovah called on Judah
to reform her ways in the following areas.
justice (v. 5): The social obligations of the Mosaic Law had been
discarded.They treated one another with
contempt and injustice. This concern, no doubt, had a general application to
the mundane affairs of life, but it may also indicate a breakdown in the
judicial system of Judah.
not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, the widow…” (v. 6): God had great
compassion on the helpless.The first
term referred to aliens who, because of some misfortune, had sought refuge
among the Lord’s people.God also had
great compassion on the orphan and the widow.
not shed innocent blood in this place” (v. 6): This probably refers to
miscarriage of justice.In the time of Jehoiakim, the courts were bloody with unjust political
executions and the murder of the prophets (See Jeremiah 26:23-24). If Judah
would turn from these evil deeds, God promised to keep them in their land and
dwell with them forever (See v. 7).
III.Judah’s Trust in Lying Words (Jeremiah 7:8-11)
returned to the theme of verse four (v. 8): It was not true that the physical
presence of the Temple exempted Judah
from the consequences of her ungodliness.
deeds betrayed and contradicted their profession of faithfulness to Jehovah
(vv. 9-11).They came to the Temple
to worship God, and they apparently followed the Mosiac
regulations very carefully; nevertheless, when the Jews were not at the Temple,
they lived like the pagan nations around them.They murdered, committed adultery, lied, and worshipped Baal.How could they stand before the Lord when
their lives bore little evidence of consecration to God?
sin defiled the Temple (v. 11):
These words, of course, recall the cleansing of the Temple
during the life of Jesus.He quoted this
verse when he chided the money changers for their sacrilegious behavior in the Temple
(See Matthew -16).
of the Lord’s Judgment (Jeremiah -15)
establishment of Shiloh as a center of worship (v. 12):
After Israel’s entrance into the Promised Land, God established Shiloh,
for about a century, as the center of worship. Israel
set up the Tabernacle at this site, and noteworthy men such as Eli and Samuel
ministered in this place.While the
Bible gives no specific information about the devastation of Shiloh, apparently
the city was destroyed by the Philistines about 1050 B.C. The Jews of Jeremiah’s
day would have known about the ruin of Shiloh.
promise of destruction of Jerusalem
(vv. 13-15):Just as the Lord had abandoned
Shiloh, he pledged to destroy the Temple.Furthermore, the Lord predicted that he would
judicially cast Judah
out of his sight.These are frightening
words; yet, Judah
refused to hear the Lord.
did God send Jeremiah to confront his society at the center of Jewish
worship?What would God’s prophet say to
the modern American church?
the American church compromised with its idolatrous culture in similar ways to
the modern church face similar temptations to Judah
in regard to the security found in institutions and buildings?
relationship should exist between worship and conduct?
does this text teach about the treatment of the poor and helpless?