Jeremiah 7:1 – 8:3

It is thought by many that this is the address given by Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, as described in 26:1-9.

  1. How does this passage show the uselessness of outward worship when separated from the daily practice of godliness? What was lacking in the people of Jerusalem? Are your worship and your life all of a piece? Cf. Matt. 5:23, 24.
  2. In what ways can we in our day act in a spirit similar to that rebuked in 7:10? What is involved in a Christian’s being ‘delivered’ or ‘saved’? Cf. Col. 1:13; Titus 2:14; Matt. 7:21-23.
  3. How does this section illustrate our Lord’s warning in Luke 8:18?

Notes

  1. 7:4, 8. Confidence in the temple itself as a protection was a delusion. Cf. 1 Sam. 4:3-11.
  2. 7:10b. ‘Thinking you are now quite safe – safe to go on with all these abominable practices’ (Moffatt).
  3. 7:12. Shiloh was probably destroyed around the time of the disaster recorded in 1 Sam. 4.
  4. 7:18. ‘The Queen of Heaven’: probably Ashtoreh, a goddess widely worshipped in the Semitic world.
  5. 7:22, 23. Such a categorical statement 9’not just given then .. but I gave them ..’) is a Hebrew idiom to express where the real emphasis falls. The essence of the covenant made at the Exodus was, on Israel’s side, obedience (11:6, 7). God did not commission sacrifice for its own sake – or for his own sake – but to be the expression and embodiment of heart-devotion and ethical obedience. Cf. 6:19, 20; 11:15; 1 Sam. 15:22; Is. 1:10-17. Where these were absent, mere external ritual was worse than nothing. Hence in 7:21 the people are bidden to eat the meat of the burnt offerings, which were wholly offered to God, as well as their proper portions of the other sacrifices. Emptied of all spiritual significance, it was now merely meat, and might as well be eaten. But in the worship of a purified people, sacrifices would again have their rightful place. See 17:24-26; 33:18.
  6. 7:32. ‘The valley of Ben Hinnom’: a valley on the south of Jerusalem, where the city refuse was cast. The day will come, says the prophet, when the slain will be so many that they will have to be buried even in this unclean spot.