From Jeremiah 7-9
Jeremiah’s judgement keeps on and on. Jeremiah is commanded by the LORD to go to the LORD’s house (the Temple) and he drops a bomb! Can you hope to receive forgiveness if you keep on sinning?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comment
7 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD. 3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. 4 Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ (Jer 7:1–4)
Shocking. Imagine the response Jeremiah got!
5 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, 6 if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. (Jer 7:5-7)
Jeremiah exhorts his listeners to repentance. Lets focus a bit on the issues he has with them;
(Note: To ‘oppress’ means to keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority)
- Oppressing the sojourner (temporary resident)
- Oppressing the fatherless (those who had no one to provide for them)
- Oppressing the widow (those who lost their partner who cared for them, sometimes they fell into prostitution as a result)
- Killing the innocent in and about the Temple
- Going after other gods (idolatry)
8 “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. (Jer 7:8)
Deceptive words? What does he mean by that? He is probably referring to the saying ‘this is the temple of the LORD’. The belief that the LORD will not allow anything to happen to the temple. If they cling to it they assume they will stay safe.
9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? (Jer 7:9-10)
One cannot receive forgiveness for sins, when the person has no intention of repenting and keeps on sinning in the same way. True forgiveness requires a change in attitude and behaviour. Otherwise it makes a mockery of God who provides a costly means of atonement and forgiveness.
11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD.
12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, declares the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim. (Jer 7:11–15)
What are the ‘temples’ we are prone to put our trust in? They will not save us if we continue in sin.
The LORD followed through with this promise. Israel did not repent. So the temple was destroyed and they were sent into exile.
Some time later, Jesus also went into the temple and recalling Jeremiah said
“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” (Mt 21.13)
During Jesus’ time things had not changed much. Religious pretense angered Jesus into overturning all the money changing tables and upsetting a number of people. This contributed to the reason why the Jews put him to death on the cross. The LORD protected Jeremiah from Israel, but he allowed Jesus to die, so that through his death he could provide atonement and secure forgiveness for his people who believe he rose from the dead.
God’s people still struggle with sin, but they do not keep on sinning (1 Jn 3.6-10), they repent and put sin to death (Rom 8.13). Jeremiah calls us to remember that those who trust in ‘temples’ and continue in sin (Rom 6.1-2) have no right to assurance of deliverance.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.