Live Above Board
Jer. 7:1–10:25 Jer. 7:1-15 June 19 2011
This brief sermon, known as the temple address, is one of the most significant of Jeremiah’s messages. The people of Judah relied on the fact that Jerusalem was the site of the Lord’s temple. Surely God would not permit the city that housed His temple to be threatened . But Jeremiah cried that the city’s security depended on the people changing their ways . Indifference to righteousness had transformed the temple from God’s house to a “den of robbers” . God once permitted the Philistines to capture the ark of the covenant when the tabernacle rested at Shiloh (1 Sam. 4 ). The temple too will fall into the hands of enemies .
1. Jeremiah 7“The Lord’s house” (7:1-5).
Jer.7:1The word that hath been unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, 2 Stand in the gate of the house of Jehovah, and thou hast proclaimed there this word, and hast said, Hear a word of Jehovah, all ye of Judah, who are coming in at these gates, to bow before Jehovah
3 Thus said Jehovah of Hosts, God of Israel, Amend your ways, and your doings, And I cause you to dwell in this place.4 Do not trust for yourselve.Unto the words of falsehood, saying, The temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, The temple of Jehovah are they! 5 For, if ye do thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, If ye do judgment thoroughly Between a man and his neighbour,
The temple had become a superstitious fetish to Judah. False prophets assured the people that since God had chosen it for His residence on earth ( Ps. 132:13-16 ), the city was safe. Jeremiah’s attack on this popular belief was made in his first public sermon and immediately aroused the hostility of the people.
2. Moral reform (7:6-7).
Jer. 7:6 Sojourner, fatherless, and widow, ye oppress not, And innocent blood do not shed in this place, And after other gods do not walk, for evil to yourselves, 7 Then I have caused you to dwell in this place, In the land that I gave to your fathers, From age even unto age.
National security depended on moral reform, not the temple. Note the emphasis on social justice in Jer.7:6 . Judah must abandon idolatry, but also (1) abandon oppression, (2) stop taking advantage of the poor (“the fatherless or the widow”), and (3) maintain an honest justice system. Worship of God and morality are the twin pillars on which society must rest.
3.A den of robbers” (Jer.7:8-11).
Jer.7:8 Lo, ye are trusting for yourselves On the words of falsehood, so as not to profit. 9 Stealing, murdering, and committing adultery ,And swearing to falsehood, and giving perfume to Baal, And going after other gods whom ye knew not.10 And ye have come in and stood before Me, In this house on which My name is called, And have said, ‘We have been delivered ,’In order to do all these abominations.11 A den of burglars hath this house .On which My name is called, been in your eyes? Even I, lo, I have seen, an affirmation of Jehovah
The “den” of robbers was the refuge where they hid out in search of their next victim. The analogy is devastating. How could God’s people steal, murder, commit adultery and perjury, and worship other gods (Jer.7:9), and then assume “we are safe” because of God’s house?
Jer.7:12 But go ye, I pray you, Unto My place that is in Shiloh, Where I caused My name to dwell at first, And see that which I have done to it, For the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 And now, because of your doing all these works, An affirmation of Jehovah, And I speak unto you, rising early and speaking, And ye have not hearkened ,And I call you, and ye have not answered,14 I also to the house on which My name is called, In which ye are trusting, And to the place that I gave to you, and to your fathers, Have done, as I have done to Shiloh.15 And I have cast you from before My face, As I have cast out all your brethren ,The whole seed of Ephraim.
In the days of the judges, Shiloh was the site of the tabernacle, as Jerusalem was the site of the temple in the time of the kings. Yet the Philistines had captured the ark of the covenant, the holiest object in Israel’s religion, and destroyed Shiloh. The implied analogy proves Judah’s confidence in the temple is misplaced.
The prophet having in God’s name reproved the people for their sins, and given them warning of the judgments of God that were coming upon them, in this chapter prosecutes the same intention for their humiliation and awakening. I. He shows them the invalidity of the plea they so much relied on, that they had the temple of God among them and constantly attended the service of it, and endeavours to take them off from their confidence in their external privileges and performances . II. He reminds them of the desolations of Shiloh, and foretels that such should be the desolations of Jerusalem .