Jeremiah 7 - 10 - Outline of Jeremiah (Book Notes menu page)
The Message in the Temple Gate
King Josiah had instituted reforms and had begun renovations of the neglected Temple and had reinstituted its ritual. The people were again flowing through its gates. The Lord instructed Jeremiah to confront them with His Word. In ch.26, Jeremiah suffered persecution for repeating this message, or a summary of it, in the "court" of the Temple, early in Jehoakim's reign (not long after Josiah's death).
I. False Trusts that Cannot Profit (7:1- 8:3)
A. Trust in Religion (7:1-15)
Lying words (cp. Jer 5:31)- a description of Religion without life change. cp. Mat 3:7-10
  1. The Temple ("this place") makes us secure. 7:4; cp. Mic 3:11,12; Mat 24:1,2
  2. Salvation ("our deliverance") gives us license to sin. 7:10; cp. 2Pet 2:18,19; Rom 6:1
True words -
  1. The House called by My Name is become a den of thieves.-
    In Mat 21:13, Jesus connected Jer 7:11 with Isa 56:7)
    Jesus described the religious authorities, of his day, as thieves doing business in the Temple.
       While this was also true of Jeremiah's time, the context (7:9-11) refers to the people as thieves, for although they gathered on the day of worship to give lip service to the Lord, they gave themselves to serve false gods throughout the week, thus, they defrauded Him of the whole hearted service which He was due.
  2. This place called by My Name will be destroyed like Shiloh. 7:12-15; cp. Josh 18:1
    Shiloh had been abandoned, after the Ark was taken into captivity (1Sam 4:3,4,10,11).
    Ephraim (a name for the ten northern tribes) had also been "cast out" of the land, for it had already gone into captivity. Likewise, Judah, Jerusalem and the Temple would also be abandoned and her people and treasures would be carried away to another land.
B. Trust in Heathen gods (7:16-20)
  • The corruption was not limited to the House of the Lord, but was evident in every house,
    where every family member was actively serving false gods. As the people poured themselves and their offerings into the worship of shameful things, God's wrath would be poured out upon them.
  • Pray not for this people... cp. Jer 11:14; 14:11,12; 1Joh 5:16
    "To substitute the idols of man's religious will, for Christ, is the sin unto death." [GWms]
C. Trust in Self (7:21-28)
  • They walked in the counsels... of their evil heart... (7:24).
    God desired willing obedience. God called them through His prophets, but they would not listen.
  • Their hypocritical sacrifices were totally unacceptable to God. 7:21-23 -
    They would do better just to eat the flesh, rather than offering it. God never really wanted sacrifices, rather He desired obedience. The sacrificial system was instituted because of disobedience. Unrepentant hearts cannot benefit from the atonement made for sin.
    cp. Psa 51:16,17; Isa 1:11-17; Hos 6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Mic 6:6-8; Mat 9:13
D. The Bitter End of False Trusts (7:29- 8:3)
  • Worshippers at Topheth would be buried where they had sacrificed their children to idols (7:29-34).
  • Worshippers of Sun, Moon and Stars would have their remains spread out before them (8:1,2).
    King Josiah's actions against idolatry, a few years earlier, vividly illustrated the fate of unrepentant idolaters (2Kin 23:4-20).
  • Those who survive will wish they had not (8:3).
II. Tragic Disregard of God's Word (8:4-17)
A. The people refuse to follow it (8:4-7).
They willfully persist in the course of self-deception, and refuse to turn back to the Lord.
In contrast, the wild birds know and observe God's guidance for their appointed seasonal migrations.
B. The leaders refuse to teach it (8:8-12).
  • Those, who professed themselves to be wise, disregard the written Word of God,
    which had been carefully preserved by the scribes. It was folly to them, for they considered their own words to be superior and more comforting (8:11). But their folly would soon be exposed. cp. Isa 8:20; Rom 1:22
  • Their wisdom promotes pride in shameful things (8:12).
    This verse is emphasized, by its repetition from the previous message (Jer 6:15).
  • They would realize their error at the time of the "visitation" of judgment upon them. 8:12; cp. Jer 5:9,29; 6:6
C. The judgment, of which it speaks, will soon overtake them (8:13-17).
Their prosperity would fail. They would cower in fortified cities for fear.
The armies of former allies would overwhelm the land, from Dan, the northernmost city, southward.
The satanic poison of wicked men and false gods would prove to be lethal (cp. Psa 58:4,5).
The future was dark with the silence of death. cp. Heb 10:26,27
III. Comfortless Sorrow for Unnecessary Loss (8:18- 9:26) - Three Lamentations:
A. Lamentation - for the people, who would be devastated...
a. for their disregard of the season of opportunity (8:18-22)
  • Is not the LORD in Zion...? Yes. Then, why have they turned to false gods?
  • Is there no balm in Gilead...? Yes. Balm, a medicine,
    was in such abundance in Gilead, that it was an export product (Gen 37:25; 43:11).
    The Lord Himself is their Healer, but they refused to turn to Him (Ex 15:26; Deu 32:39).
  • The harvest is past... and we are not saved.-
    The allotted time for repentance had come and gone. The Word had neither taken root nor produced fruit in their hearts. The opportunity for deliverance was past.
b. for the deceitfulness of their hearts (9:1-6)
  • The prophet, moved by God's Spirit, weeps for his people.
    Although the Lord had forbidden him to pray for them (7:16), Jeremiah could not restrain the flood of tears that overwhelmed him.
    The Lord's response: The necessity of judgment (9:7-9)
Deceit requires judgment. 'How [else] shall I do...'- ie., I have no choice.
  • ...for the daughter of my people? (8:21; 9:1,7) -
    This phrase shows the tender love and pity of the Lord, for His people. Though He must exercise judgment upon a nation of idolaters, liars and oppressors, He yearns for them, grieving for their sorrows, longing that they would return to Him, and working to bring them back to Himself.
  • ...I will melt them and try [test] them... - as silver is tested by the refiner. cp. 6:29,30
    His purpose, for the heat of judgment, was to purify them by removing the dross of sin.
    He must avenge {ie., punish, reward severely} the deep rooted sin, which was destroying His people.
B. Lamentation - for the land, which would be desolate (9:10-11)
The hills of Judah would be denuded and depopulated, by the enemy.
The den of thieves (7:11), would be laid waste, to become a den of lizards.
    The Lord's response: The cause of the desolation (9:12-16) cp. 7:24
Who is the wise man that may understand...? (9:12) - The nation's 'wise men' had rejected God's Word. There was no wisdom in them. Although few would understand God's purpose, Jeremiah had responsibility to declare what the Lord had revealed to him. (So do we. cp. Eze 3:18; 1Tim 4:16).
The cause of their sorrows...
  • They have forsaken my law...(9:13)
  • They walked after the imagination of their own hearts...(9:14)
    preferring the emptiness of worldly idols, over God's Word. cp 1Pet 1:18,19,23
Therefore, the nation would experience bitter poison, dispersion and death (9:15,16).
C. Lamentation - for destruction and death (9:17-22)
So many would die that the professional mourners would need to press others into service (9:20,21) and bodies would be left unburied, where they fell (9:22).
    The Lord's response:
  • Salvation is for those who know Me. (9:23,24) cp. 8:8,9
  • Judgment is for all whose hearts are not right with God. (9:25,26; Jer 4:4; Rom 2:28,29)
    Circumcision pictures the cutting off of the flesh. The 'circumcised heart' has forsaken its own ways in order to fully trust and obey the Lord.
    "To know God (9:24) is the foundation of all blessing, and all trust, and all holy living. One Unknown cannot be trusted at all (Joh 17:3; Eph 1:17; Col 1:9; 1Joh 5:20). Not to know God is the cause of all misery and corruption (Rom 1:28; Isa 1:3; Luk 19:42-44). All future glory is connected with this knowledge (Isa 11:9; 32:4; and 54:13). Hence, the fundamental necessity of the Incarnate Word (Joh 1:18) and of the Inspired Word (2Tim 3:15)." [GWms]
IV. Foolish pursuits of the Lord's people (10:1-25)
A. Vain (empty) fears of the Heathen- The Lord alone is to be Feared (10:1-7)
  • The nations fear the influence of planets and stars (eg., astrology, horoscopes).
  • The nations fear the gods which they have fabricated.
B. Vain gods: the creations of men- The Lord is Creator and King of all (10:8-12)
Verse 11 is written in Aramaic (the trade language of that time), as an official proclamation to the nations.
C. Vain gods: the confounders of men- The Lord's Power is everywhere evident (10:13-15)
Whereas, the Lord commands the life giving waters, the lifeless idols confound {HB= yabesh, dry up, wither} the founders {the smelters, who create the idols}. Those who serve false gods, do so, to their own confusion. The soul who seeks life, from that which is dead, must soon wither and die.
D. Vain leaders: the confounders of the nation- The LORD was Israel's portion. (10:16-22)
  • He is unlike the heathen idols. Psa 16:4,5; Lam 3:24
    For He is the "former" {ie., maker, framer} of all things. cp. 10:11,12
  • He established Israel as the rod {branch, shoot which grew out} of His inheritance {possession}. Deu 32:9; Psa 74:2
Because the shepherds {leaders} were brutish {dull, without understanding} (10:21; 9:23,24; 10:8,14), and the people followed...
  • An enemy would gather up and carry away their possessions (10:17).
  • The nation would be cast out of the land... 10:18
  • The Lord's dwelling place (His 'tent', ie., the Temple in Jerusalem) would be devastated, emptied and abandoned (10:20; Jer 7:11-15).
  • The bruit {noise of battle} would lay the land waste (10:22).
  • The Lord would grieve (10:19)...
    But what must be done, must be done. He must deal severely with the sinful foolishness of His people. cp. 9:7
V. Jeremiah's prayer (10:23-25)
  1. Confession of confusion- It is not in man to direct himself. 10:23
    (cp. Prov 14:12; 16:25. The duplication of this verse emphasizes its truth.)
  2. Plea for correction {chastening, discipline} (10:24)- not in anger,
    but with judgment {justice, reasoned and merciful consideration of my case, cp. 9:24}.
  3. Request for consumption {complete destruction} of Israel's enemies,
    by means of the Lord's 'fury' {hot rage} upon the nations which would destroy Israel and her land. 10:25; cp. 9:25,26

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