As this section opens, God sends Jeremiah to the temple gates to confront the false belief that God will not let the people come to the temple. This happened during the reign of Jehoiakim, a puppet of Egypt. The nation is in shock over the death of Josiah.
Verse 1 – The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying,
Verse 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 of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’ ”
Verse 3 – Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
Verse 4 – “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’
The people had come to believe that the temple would never be destroyed because it was their “good luck” charm, a talisman.
Verse 5 – “For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor,
Verse 6 – “if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt,
Verse 7 – “then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land I gave to your fathers forever and ever.
Verse 8 – “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit.
Verse 9 – “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know,
Verse 10 – “and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say,’We are delivered to do all these abominations’?
Verse 11 – “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I , even I, have seen it, “says the Lord.
There are similarities in how the people of Judah viewed the temple and how people view the church today. (1) They didn’t make the temple part of their daily living. Today too many go to church on Sunday and leave God out of the rest of their week. (2) The image of the temple became more important than the substance of faith. The image of going to church and belonging to a group can become more important than a life changed for God. (3) Many use the church, temple, as a hideout thinking if you go to church you will be protected from all evil and problems.
Verse 12 – “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.
The place first chosen, as the center of the nation’s worship, was Shiloh, a town to the north of Bethel. The ruin of Shiloh is described in Psalm 78:58064. Idolatry had prevailed in Israel after the death of Joshua. God wanted them to know: “If you think I won’t destroy this temple, remember Shiloh!”
Verse 13 – “And now, because you have done all these works,” says the Lord, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I call you, but you did not answer,
Verse 14 – “therefore I will do to this house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have to Shiloh.
Verse 15 – “And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren-the whole posterity of Ephraim.
Ephraim is another name for Israel, the northern kingdom, which had been taken into captivity by Assyria in 722 B.C., (9 northern tribes..)
Verse 16 – “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.
This verse reminds me of when Noah was building the ark for 120 years, and no one would listen to him about the coming judgment. God had cut His people off. He didn’t even want Jeremiah to intercede for them in prayer anymore. How sad!
Verse 17 – “Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
Verse 18 – “The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven (queen of heaven was the Assyrian-Babylon goddess Ishtar. They did this after King Josiah’s death.); and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.
Verse 19 – “Do they not provoke Me to anger?” says the Lord. “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?”
Who really gets hurt when we cut ourselves off from God? We do. It’s like having a green healthy plant and then not watering or giving it any sunlight. We need God for life!
Verse 20 – Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place-on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.”
These people were about to lose “everything!” They had had all the warnings directly from their God, and He would do it! Would you not think they would have repented by now? Nope! They just watched and ignored.
The same is true today: People and nations are provoking God with the same abominations that were going on then, but yet ignoring their sins. What God called abominations then, He still calls abominations now!
Verse 21 – Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat.
Verse 22 – “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.
The point is that God never commanded His people to perform empty rituals. Rather, there offerings and sacrifices were to be heartfelt and born out of a desire for obedience.
Verse 23 – “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may go well with you.’
Verse 24 – “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.
Verse 25 – “Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them.
Verse 26 – “Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.
Verse 27 – “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call them, but they will not answer you.
From the time of Moses to the end of the Old Testament period, God sent many prophets to Israel and Judah.
Verse 28 – “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.
Verse 29 – ‘Cut off your hair and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on the desolate heights; for the Lord has rejected and forsaken the generation of His wrath.’
Verse 30 – “For the children of Judah have done evil in My sight,” says the Lord. “They have set their abominations in the houses which is called by My name, to pollute it.
Verse 31 – “And they have built the high places of Tophet (an Aramaic word meaning “fire-pit”), to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart.
Verse 32 – “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when it will no more be called Tophet, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Tophet until there is no room.
The high places (altars) of Topheth were set up in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, where debris and rubbish from the city were thrown away. This altar was used to worship Molech-a god who required child sacrifice.
Verse 33 – “The corpse of this people will be food for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. And no one will frighten them away.
Verse 34 – “Then I will cause to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. For the land shall be desolate.
The invasion of Judah will be so devastating, that there will no longer be any joy. They shall not marry or be given in marriage. The corpses will be so many that no one will scare the scavengers away. The land will fall silent and become a desolate waste.