Jeremiah 7 ✒️ Going Through the Motions

June 4, 2024 • Dr. Dave Burnette

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

 2Stand in the gate of the LORD's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

 3Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.

 4Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.

 5For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;

 6If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:

 7Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.

 8Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.

 9Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;

 10And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?

 11Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

 12But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.

 13And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;

 14Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.

 15And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.

 16Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

 17Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

 18The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

 19Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

 20Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.

 21Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.

 22For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:

 23But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

 24But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.

 25Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:

 26Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.

 27Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.

 28But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.

 29Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.

 30For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.

 31And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

 32Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.

 33And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.

 34Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.

COMMENTARY by Dr. Dave Burnette

Written By: God through Inspiration

Penned By: Jeremiah

Date Penned: (627-586 BC)

Overview: To Urge God's People to Turn from Sin to God (c 1-52)

Theme: God's Judgement on Judah (c 1-45)

Message: The People Indulge in False Worship (v 1-30)

Jeremiah 7 Commentary 

(7:1) Jerimiah Rebukes Israel - As this section opens, God was sending Jeremiah to the temple gates to confront the false belief that God would not let harm come to the temple and to those who lived near it. Jeremiah rebuked the people and their leaders for their false and worthless religion, their idolatry, and their shameless behavior. Judah, he said, was ripe for judgment and exile. This happened during the reign of Jehoiakim, a puppet of Egypt. The nation, in shock over the death of Josiah, was going through a spiritual reversal that removed much of the good Josiah had done. Josiah had been only 39 years old when he was killed by Egyptian archers during an ill-advised battle (2 Chronicles 35:20-25). The themes of this section are false religion, idolatry, and hypocrisy. Jeremiah was almost put to death for this sermon, but he was rescued by some of Judah's leaders (see Jeremiah 26). 

(7:2-3) Hypocrisy - The people followed the rituals of worship while embracing a lifestyle of sin. They performed religious activities with no heartfelt or personal commitment to God. We can easily do the same. Attending church, taking Communion, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir--all can be empty exercises unless we are truly doing them out of love for God and others. To do these activities and serve others is good, not because we ought to do them for the church, but because we want to do them for God. 

(7:5-6) Ignoring those in Need - Judah's sins went beyond impure thoughts and actions and worship of false gods. They had also abandoned just treatment for foreigners, orphans, and widows. Ignoring people who are in need ignores and diminishes God's image in each one of them. We sin just like the people of Judah when we avoid helping those who are still exploited by our society today: foreigners, orphans, and widows. We are called to actively help those who are in deepest need. 

(7:9-11) The Temple - There are several parallels between how the people of Judah viewed their temple and how many today view their churches. (1) The people didn't make the temple part of their daily living. We may go to beautiful churches well prepared for worship, but we don't always take the presence of God with us through the week. (2) The image of the temple became more important than the substance of the people's faith. They showed up for sacrifices but ran home to continue their pagan practices. Going to church and belonging to a group can become more important than living out a life that has been changed for God. (3) The people used their temple as a refuge from trouble. Similarly, many think that religious affiliation will protect them from evil and problems. How do you view your church? Is it a place to appease God, make friends, and convince yourself that you are a good person? Or is it a place you long to go to worship God, encourage other believers, and become equipped to impact the world around you with the Good News of salvation and eternal life? 

(7:11-12) Evil in the Temple - Jesus used these words from Jeremiah when he cleared the temple (Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). This passage applied to the evil in the temple in Jesus' day as well as in Jeremiah's. The leaders were acting like robbers, exploiting the people rather than helping them. God's tabernacle had been at Shiloh, but Shiloh had been abandoned (Psalm 78:60; Jeremiah 26:6) after the Philistines destroyed it. If God did not preserve Shiloh because the tabernacle was there, why would he preserve Jerusalem because of the temple? 

(7:15) Ephraim - Ephraim is another name for Israel, the northern kingdom, which had been taken into captivity by Assyria in 722 BC. 

(7:18) Ishtar - The "queen of heaven" was a name for Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love, fertility, and war. After the fall of Jerusalem, the refugees from Judah who had fled to Egypt continued to worship her (44:17). A papyrus dating from the fifth century BC, found at Hermopolis in Egypt, mentions the queen of heaven among the gods honored by the Jewish community living there. 

(7:19) Turning From God - This verse answers the question Who gets hurt when we turn away from God? We do! Separating ourselves from God is like keeping a green plant away from sunlight or water. God is our only source of spiritual strength. Cut yourself off from him, and you cut off life itself. 

(7:21-23) Sacrifices - God had set up a system of sacrifices to encourage the people to joyfully obey him (see the book of Leviticus). He required the people to make these sacrifices, not because the sacrifices themselves pleased him, but because they caused the people to recognize their sin and refocus on living for God. The people dutifully made the sacrifices but forgot the reason they were offering them, and thus they dishonored God in their hearts. Jeremiah reminded them that acting out religious rituals was meaningless unless they were prepared to obey God in all areas of life. (See the chart.) 

(7:25) Prophets - From the time of Moses to the end of the Old Testament period, God sent many prophets to Israel and Judah. No matter what their circumstances, God always raised up a prophet to speak against their stubborn spiritual attitudes and to call them back into a relationship with him. 

(7:27) Prophesy - Why did God instruct Jeremiah to prophesy and proclaim his word if the effort would be fruitless? God demonstrates his consistent faithfulness even in the face of human resistance. God was also "going on record" for those beyond Jeremiah's generation. See 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 for an explanation of God's detailed recording of some of the past failures of his people. The stories are intended to guide us and prevent us from making the same mistakes. 

(7:31-32) High Places - The high places (or altars) of Tophet (meaning "fireplace") were set up in the valley of the son of Hinnom, where debris and rubbish from the city were thrown away. This altar was used to worship Molech-a god who required child sacrifice (2 Kings 23:10). Their valley of sacrifice would become their valley of slaughter by the Babylonians. At the place where the people had killed their children in sinful idol worship, they themselves would be slaughtered.

LIFE APPLICATION by Dr. Dave Burnette

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Jeremiah 7. In our text today we see the people indulge in false worship as a ritual by maintained a sinful life-style. It was religion without personal commitment to God. In making application we can easily follow into going through the motions of Church Attendance while our hearts are far from God. How about you? Do you find yourself going through the motions? Let us learn from our text today and example of Israel to realize that it possible to go through the motions of religion but having our heart from God so we may repent and follow our Lord in true Worship.

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