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Here seems to be the opening of a new Sermon of the Prophet's: but the same subject. The Prophet reproves Judah, and admonisheth to return to the Lord.
It appears by the subject of the Prophet's sermon, that the men of Judah, while destitute of vital godliness, were much taken up with the form of it: and though without the love of God in their heart, prided themselves in belonging to the temple of the Lord. Reader! they did that which men of no religion have in all ages been much disposed to do, satisfied themselves with the outside forms of religion. And this the Lord calls lying words. What an awful delusion! To be fancying ourselves something, when in reality we are nothing. Such the Lord Jesus hath described concerning the Church of Laodicea. Happy would it have been had this spirit of delusion died with the departure of the Laodiceans See Revelation 3:14-17 .
From what is said in these verses of men talking as if delivered to do evil, it should seem, that there were in the Prophet's days, as well as in ours, persons who took occasion from the doctrine of free grace, to contend for the heresy of fatality: and by reducing men to the character of mere machines, would do away all the consequences of evil. But as this is levelled against the sovereignty of God, so is it refuted by the word of God. All men are by nature disposed since the fall, not delivered, but disposed to evil: and grace only it is that makes the whole difference between one man and another. To tell God therefore, in justification or apology for ourselves, that we are delivered to do evil, is to charge God foolishly, and to make him the Author of our sins. The Lord in a fine strain, most plainly and fully refutes it. Is my house, are my ordinances, or my word, are these things ministers to this purpose? Nay, do you not remember, how little respect was had to place, or person, that even Shiloh, I forsook, and retired from it, in consequence of the corruptions of the people, in times of worship. See 1 Samuel 4:4-11 . Reader! think how truly deplorable that state must be, which is trusting to a name to live, while virtually dead before God?
Here is a very solemn scripture indeed, in which the Lord forbids his servant even to pray for the people. And there is another solemn scripture suitable to be read together, Ezekiel 16:42 . When the Lord commands his faithful servant not to pray for sinners: and when the Lord ceaseth to correct, punishment is not far off; Lord keep us from these sore judgments!
I pause, not to interrupt the Reader in the progress of these verses, they are all to the same amount as the former. How pathetically the Prophet mourns the obstinacy of his people! Surely ministers ought to have tender feelings of compassion for the state of sinners.
Tophet had been a remarkable place on several occasions. It was called Tophet because it had been a place of slaughter. And it had been a charnel house, or sepulchre for burying in; and also a place of sacrifice. See Joshua 15:8 ; 2 Kings 23:10 ; Isaiah 30:33 ; Psalms 78:60 . The close of the Chapter is very affecting. There can be no cause for spiritual joy where the voice of the Bridegroom is not heard in his Church. His absence makes a gloom, let the surrounding circumstances otherwise be what they may.
I PASS by every other consideration in this Chapter (though there are many which would be highly profitable to regard) to attend to one, yet more eminently striking, suggested in meeting that wonderful word, Shiloh, which I never meet with in the holy volume, without having my whole soul led to the contemplation of Him from whom it is derived. Yea! blessed Jesus! when I consider thee as the Shiloh, the Deliverer, the Saviour of thy people; thou art increasingly dear, and increasingly precious, to be beheld, and in these seasons more especially, when thy immense value becomes more striking, from the view of profligacy and corruption all around. And though places, or persons, derive no sanctity, unless from thee, yet the Shiloh will be forever the blessedness of his redeemed, and their portion forever.
While I meet with this glorious and distinguishing name, Shiloh, but once in the whole book of God, when spoken of a Person, and that Person Christ, and this in the prophetical language of the dying patriarch Jacob: yet when found elsewhere, and connected with it, the recollection of Him in his glorious character, as the Shiloh; surely it makes the heart of the believer glad, and fills the soul with a joy unspeakable and full of glory. Let me never hear of Shiloh, or read of Shiloh without holy joy. Jesus will be the Shiloh, to gather all his redeemed unto himself, that where he is, there they shall be also. And what though Tophet is ordained of old, and his believers must pass through a valley of humiliation, more than that of the son of Hinnom: yet Jesus will be with them. Shiloh will bring them through, and bring them out; and bring them in, to his everlasting kingdom. Hail thou glorious Shiloh! to thee, shall the gathering of the people be!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 7". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany