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Jeremiah

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©John Yerkes

Chapter 7:1-15 (ESV)

Posted on July 11, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 7:1-15 (ESV) - The word that came to Jeremiah from the YHWH: “Stand in the gate of the YHWH's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the YHWH, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the YHWH. Thus says the YHWH of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the YHWH, the temple of the YHWH, the temple of the YHWH.’

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the YHWH. Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. And now, because you have done all these things, declares the YHWH, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim.

Question to consider: Why did God call the temple a den of robbers at the time of Jeremiah?

In every instance in which the Bible translators have inserted “LORD” in capital letters, the original text had the covenantal name of God, YHWH. The word Adonai (lord) was used to keep from misusing His name and thus violating His word. It was seen as a hedge of protection around the Law because they believed someone could not misuse the name of God if they did not invoke the name of God. I’d argue that God gave His name for His people to call upon and to connect in a personal way. A person can misuse the name of God without ever uttering it when he does or says something that makes God a liar or diminishes Him in the eyes of those who know that person is associated with Him.

In today’s passage, I’ve inserted the name of God in every instance in which Adonai was used because I believe it has a different impact. The people who were coming to YHWH’s house to supposedly worship Him ignored His commands and made offerings to Baal and a pantheon of other gods.

Imagine walking into your church and having a vicar or seminary student open the door for you, and rather than give you a simple greeting, tells you to change your ways and not put your hope in a building with God’s name on it to protect you from the coming judgment. I think there would be more than a few notes in the suggestion box after that experience.

However, YHWH had Jeremiah say these things because He loved the people and wanted them to turn from their sin. The people had been clinging to deceptive words that reassured them that God would never destroy His temple, but without a faithful people, it was just a building. For those who thought the glory of God would remain in the temple, the prophet, Ezekiel, received a vision showing the LORD packing up His things and leaving the temple. In fact, because the people declared themselves to be delivered from their sins but never actually stopped doing them, the building was not the house of God but a den of brigands and robbers.

The house of YHWH was to be a house of prayer for all nations, but not for their gods. Having idols in the temple robbed God of worship that was rightfully His, “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,  and holds fast my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, ‘I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.’” (Isaiah 56:6-8)

The temple would once again be called “a house of robbers” when Christ came. Instead of the temple courts being filled with high places and Asherah poles, it was filled with another kind of idolatry: the coins exchanged by the money changers would have Caesar’s image on them, and the merchants would turn the house of prayer into a house of commerce. At this point, the religious leaders cared more about making money from Israelites who sought atonement than for the Gentiles who desired to know God.

Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, may we never be a hindrance for someone to come to know Christ. Help us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us and humbly point others to Jesus. Amen.