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Bible Commentaries

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books
Jeremiah 7

 

 

Verses 1-34

CHAPTER FOUR

"WHAT AGREEMENT HATH THE TEMPLE OF GOD WITH IDOLS?"

(Chaps. 7-10)

In this section it is more the temple that is before us, and the incongruity of professing great reverence for it while idolatrous practices and their accompanying evils are not only tolerated but diligently persisted in.

The prophet had been addressing the people rather as a civil community before. Now he sees them in connection with the newly-cleansed house of the Lord. His message is addressed to those "that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord" (Jeremiah 7:2). This is shown to be all a mere pretence, for while they talked loudly of the temple - made it their rallying-cry, so to speak - their ways were anything but in accordance with the holiness that became GOD's house.

"Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt; then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers for ever and ever" (Jeremiah 7:4-7).

Nothing can be more obnoxious to GOD than to have His name vauntingly connected with unrighteousness. How terrible to hear some nowadays prate of "the authority of the Lord in His assembly," and talk of "divine ground," while deliberately refusing to execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, disclaiming all such responsibility!

Nay, even worse, seek to foist it upon the Righteous One who dwells in the midst of His people!

Strange that the important word, "Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22), should be so overlooked! Such is Rome's principle: sad it is, and solemn, to see those who should know better, following, in this at least, in her wake. We can rest assured no amount of professed regard for the assembly of GOD will atone for the neglect of righteousness. "The righteous Lord loveth righteousness." (Psalms 11:7) It is with Him who is "the holy and the true" (Revelation 6:10) with whom we have to do - He in whom there is "no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)

Nothing can be more abhorrent to Him than the dreadful state described in Jeremiah 7:8-10.

It is the divorce of position from condition - the making much of ecclesiastical place, while the walk is utterly at variance with the truth connected with it. Position is important. Nothing, in fact, is more so; but let us be careful to maintain the corresponding practice. Those who, through grace, have been gathered out of unscriptural systems to the precious name of the Lord JESUS CHRIST alone, should see to it that their walk is consistent with their privileged place.

The next verse, it will be noted, is referred to by our Lord when He made a whip of small cords and drove the money-changers and venders from the courts of the temple (Matthew 21:13). On that occasion He connected two scriptures together. The first was from Isaiah 56:7 -"My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people." This shall yet be true when CHRIST's kingdom is set up in power; but when the King appeared in lowliness, His judgment was, "Ye have made it a den of thieves," (Matthew 21:13) as Jeremiah had said before: "Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold I, even I, have seen it, saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 7:11)

As a result, like Shiloh, it was to be left desolate, and the false worshipers were to be cast out from their land; nor would prayer avail for them now. Judgment must have its way (Jeremiah 7:12-16).

"The queen of heaven" (Jeremiah 7:18) was an object of worship then as with Rome now; for it is well known that Mariolatry was but the continuation of the worship of the false goddess here referred to, universally acknowledged under various names.

"The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women need their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger" (Jeremiah 7:18).

Terrible it is to see the evils of that dark day actually followed by a fast apostatizing Christendom at the present time! "Do they provoke Me to anger? saith the Lord: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?" (Jeremiah 7:19). Fury and wrath unquenchable must they reap who have so grievously departed from the true GOD (Jeremiah 7:20).

Though the ritual service of the temple, had been re-established, through king Josiah, yet, among the mass, the question of obedience had been entirely forgotten:

"They hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward." (Jeremiah 7:26)

And this had characterized them from the day He had brought them out of Egypt, though He had sent prophets to them again and again, "daily rising up early and sending them: yet they hearkened not unto Me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers" (Jeremiah 7:25-26).

The prophets' ministry, it is plain, had become hopeless. The word of GOD was still to be proclaimed; nothing was to be kept back, but all hope of national response was at an end. The verdict was already pronounced:

"This is 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" (Jeremiah 7:28).

The Lord had rejected them; let them mourn and cut off the hair, as a woman put to shame, for they are denominated "the generation of His wrath." (Jeremiah 7:29)

Terrible was to be the desolation resulting upon their casting off. Tophet, the high place of the valley of Hinnom, where the children were sacrificed upon the heated brazen arms of Moloch, was to become the valley of slaughter in which they should bury until there was no more place, while fowls and beasts devoured the unburied bodies of the residue.

"Then will I 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" (Jeremiah 7:30-34).

Even the very bones of the kings and princes of Judah, as well as of the priests, the prophets, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, would be brought from their tombs and strewed before the heavenly bodies which they had worshiped in life; while for the residue, death will be preferable to the terrors of that evil day. Doubtless this all had a fulfilment in the Chaldean conquest and the later Maccabean times; but as "no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation," (2 Peter 1:20) it likewise pictures the direful tribulation yet to come.

It is not because the Lord delights in judgment ("His strange act" Isaiah 28:21) that His people must be so visited. It was the inevitable result of their own waywardness.

 

 

 

 

 


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Bibliography Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 7:4". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/jeremiah-7.html. 1914.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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