Jeremiah 7 - 10 - Outline of Jeremiah (MENU page)
The Message in the Temple Gate

King Josiah had instituted reforms and had begun renovations of the neglected Temple and 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.

I. False Trusts that Cannot Profit (7:1-8:3)

A. Trust in Religion (7:1-15)
Lying words (cp. Jer 4:10; 5:31)- a description of Religion without life change. (Mat 3:7-10)
  1. The Temple ("this place") makes us secure. v.4; cp. Mic 3:11,12; Mat 24:1,2
  2. Salvation ("delivered") gives us license to sin. v.10; cp. 2Pet 2:18,19; Rom 6:1
True words -
  1. The House called by My Name is a den of thieves. v.11; cp. Mat 21:13 (where Jesus connected this verse 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 (v.9,10) refers to the people as thieves, living in sin throughout the week, but gathering to give lip service to the Lord on the day of worship.
  2. This place called by My Name will be destroyed like Shiloh. v.12-15; cp. Josh 18:1; 1Sam 4:3,4,10,11
    The nation would be "cast out" as Ephraim (a name for the 10 northern tribes) which had previously gone into captivity.
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 they poured themselves out for them, 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." [G. Williams]
C. Trust in Self (7:21-28)
  • They walked in the counsels... of their evil heart... (v.24). God desired willing obedience. God called them through His prophets, but they would not listen.
  • v.21,22- Their sacrifices were hypocrisies totally unacceptable to God. 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)
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).
In contrast, the wild birds know and observe the guidance they have been given.
B. The leaders refuse to teach it (8:8-12).
  • Those who professed themselves as wise, disregarded the Word of God which had been preserved for them by the scribes. It was folly to them. But their folly would soon be exposed. cp. Isa 8:20; Rom 1:22
  • They would realize their error at the time of the "visitation" of judgment upon them. v.12; cp. 5:9,29; 6:6
C. They will be overtaken by the judgment of which it speaks (8:13-17).
All that remains is trouble and the silence of death. cp. Heb 10:26,27
III. Comfortless Sorrow for Unnecessary Loss (8:18- 9:26) - Three Lamentations:
A. Lamentation -
- for a season of wasted 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 medicne, was in such abundance in Gilead, that it was an export product (Gen 37:25; 43:11). They had the Lord Himself as their Healer, but they refused to turn to Him. (Ex 15:26; Deu 32:39)
  • The harvest is past and we are not saved.
- for a people of deceitful hearts (9:1-6)
    The Lord's response: The necessity of judgment (9:7-9)
Deceit requires judgment. How else shall I do... [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. 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.
...melt them and try [test] them... - as silver is tested by the refiner. cp. 6:29,30
B. Lamentation - for the severity of the desolation (9:10-11)
The den of thieves (7:11), laid waste, has become a den of lizards.
    The Lord's response: The cause of the desolation (9:12-16) cp. 7:24
  • They walked after the imagination oftheir own hearts (v.14)
  • preferring the vain traditions of their fathers (v.14,16) to God's Word. cp 1Pet 1:18,19,23
  • Who is the wise man...?- The nation's wise men had rejected God's Word. There was no wisdom in them. But Jeremiah had responsibility to declare what the Lord had revealed to him. So do we. cp. Eze 3:18; 1Tim 4:16
C. Lamentation - for destruction and death (9:17-22)
So many would die that the professional mourners would need to press others into service. v.20,21
    The Lord's response:
  • Salvation is for those who know Me. (9:23,24) cp. 8:8,9
  • Judgment is for all unbelievers in heart. (9:25,26)
    "To know God (v.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)." [G. Williams]
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)
B. Vain gods: 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: lifeless confusion [confounders] of men- The Lord's Power is everywhere evident (10:13-15)
D. An empty land... the empty Tabernacle- (10:16-22)
The Lord's inheritance (cp. Deu 32:9; Psa 74:2) is scattered (cp. Jer 7:11-15)
  • because they forsook their Portion (cp. Psa 16:4,5; Lam 3:24).
  • He is the "former" [ie., maker, framer] of all things. cp. v.11,12
  • v.17 Gather up thy wares [lit., bundle, bag]... The captives would be permitted to take only what they could carry by hand.
The Lord (or, perhaps Jerusalem) grieves at their foolishness and its result. (v.19-22)
  • brutish- stupid, without understanding (cp. 9:23,24; 10:8,14)
  • noise of the bruit- the sound of the report (of battle)
V. Jeremiah's prayer- (10:23-25)
  1. Confession of emptiness- It is not in man to direct himself. v.23 (cp. Prov 14:12; 16:25)
  2. Plea for correction {chastening, discipline} (v.24)- not in anger,
    but with judgment {reasoned and merciful consideration of my case, cp. 9:24}
  3. Request for judgment upon the nations by whom destruction would fall upon God's people. (10:25) cp. 9:25,26

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