CLICK HERE to read Jeremiah 7.
The Lord speaks again to Jeremiah (verse 1), telling Him to go to the gate of the temple and prophesy to the people coming in to worship (verse 2). The Lord asks him to urge the people to change their ways and live His laws, and tells them that if they will He will make sure they can keep living there, keep their homes and lands and families, and keep their temple (verse 3). Further, he tells the people not to trust false leaders setting up fake “temples” and forms of worship that pervert the ordinances of the Lord (verse 4).
The Lord says that if they will do this, repenting and improving how they treat each other, that they will better discern His ways and how to live them (verse 5). He says not to oppress others, care for the “fatherless and the widow” (those without the priesthood), not harm the innocent, and not to worship false gods (verse 6). He promises them that if they will be obedient, they will maintain this land of inheritance that he gave their ancestors (verse 7).
But he warns them that if they do not, they will not prosper in His blessings (verse 8). If they steal, and murder, and commit sexual sins, and lie, and worship false gods (verse 9), then they have no right to enter the temple because they are not worthy to do so (verse 10). Even if no one knows, or if “everyone else is doing it”, or if bad behavior is legalized, that does not mean the Lord doesn’t know the truth. The Lord knows who is worthy to enter the temple or not, and entering the temple when they are not worthy profanes the sacred (verse 11).
The Lord reminds them of what happened in Shiloh (verse 12), which was a holy place set up for worship after the Lord had given the people their land (see Joshua 18:1). When the people allowed false priests to engage in priestcraft, the false priests were killed (see 1 Samuel 1 and 2). It was a situation reversed, with the people killed in battle as the enemy approached, instead of the enemy being delivered by the Lord.
The Lord tells the people He has fully warned them of what is coming, and explained their consequences, and reminded them why they have consequences coming (verse 13). But still they have not repented, and so just as Shiloh was given as a blessing and inheritance, and then lost when the people rejected the Lord, so also was Jerusalem given to them and now will be lost because they have rejected the Lord (verse 14). His chosen people will be rejected because they have dismissed themselves from Him (verse 15), and He does not hear their prayers when they do not even try to cry out to Him (verse 16).
None of this should be a surprise, He says. None of it is secret, what they have done. Their sins are committed in the open, blatant and obvious to all, with everyone participating (verse 17). It’s not just bad leaders, or a few rebellious individuals. Whole families are involved in idol worship, with the kids gathering the wood and the fathers starting the fires and the mothers baking the cakes offered on the alters (verse 18). They have caused their own confusion, and provoked the Lord to anger (verse 19).
Because they have done this, their consequences are coming (verse 20).
They have gone so far as to sacrifice children as burnt offerings (verse 21), which was the very thing Abraham was delivered from as a child (verse 22; see also Abraham 1). When Abraham was delivered, the covenant was established that the people would obey the Lord and worship Heavenly Father only, and do so by living according to His plan (verse 23). But the people have not done so, and reverted back to what from which they were delivered (verse 24). What an insult to Abraham!
Since Abraham was delivered, and since Moses led the people out of Egypt, since always, the Lord has used prophets to speak to the people (verse 25). But the people now are not listening, and behavior worse than the people to whom their ancestors were in bondage (verse 26).
This is what Jeremiah is sent to the temple gates to say to the people, and the Lord warns him that the people will not listen to him (verse 27). But the Lord tells him to testify anyway, and teaches the principle that “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” (verse 28).
A nation that refuses to respond to God will be a nation ripe for destruction, and the Lord tells Jeremiah that Jersualem might as well begin mourning now (verse 29). They have chosen their consequences and will not repent (verse 30), teaching others their evil ways by legalizing sexual sin, cultural-izing idol worship, and sacrificing their children (both by literal sacrifices and by not teaching them the ways of God) (verse 31).
The Lord says that destruction must come until even “Tophet” is destroyed, with Tophet being the headquarters of secret combinations (see also this blog about Isaiah 30) (verse 32). The people will be so destroyed and the land so desolated that the wild animals will have to eat the carcases of the people just to survive (verse 33). These things have silenced the joy between the Lord and His people, for they have destroyed it (verse 34).