Jeremiah 7

Bible Study

Just had a Bible Study which I led. Out of nowhere (?) I felt Jeremiah 7 1-28 was the focus. What was significant about the passage is that 3 or 4 others had just recently read and studied this.  Is The Holy Spirit trying to tell us something?  It sounds a lot like America today!

It is direct opposition with those who quote 2 Chronicles 7:14   This passage isn’t talking about America or national identity or some generic sense of “revival.” To apply the verse this way is, whatever one’s political ideology, is theological liberalism.

This verse is a word written to a specific people–the people of God–who were coming home from exile. They were coming home from a time in which they were dominated and enslaved by a foreign power. At a time when they needed to be reminded of who they were, who God was and what he had promised to do, this passage was given to them to point them back to Solomon’s reign, reminding them of what Solomon did when he built the temple, the house of the Lord, the place of the gathering of the worship of God.

Read Jeremiah.  It is a prophesy that God was about to judge the nation for turning away. It too was written for a specific time and people but the similarities to today are striking. The people were sinning during the week and then coming to worship as if all was ok.  In the passage God tells Jeremiah to not pray for them because He would not listen to those prayers.  Judgement was coming unless they really repented.  

But God indicates they would not listen to Jeremiah giving the warning.  

History teaches…. Early in the reign of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah delivered his famous “Temple sermon,” of which there are two versions, one in Jeremiah, chapter 7, verses 1 to 15, the other in chapter 26, verses 1 to 24. He denounced the people for their dependence on the Temple for security and called on them to effect genuine ethical reform. He predicted that God would destroy the Temple of Jerusalem, as he had earlier destroyed that of Shiloh, if they continued in their present path. Jeremiah was immediately arrested and tried on a capital charge. He was acquitted but may have been forbidden to preach again in the Shiloh.

This reference to Shiloh caused me and those participating in the Bible study to read about what happened in Shiloh. 

Shiloh in the Bible. After the conquest, Joshua first dwelt at Gilgal and then at Shiloh (Josh 14:618:1). Why Shiloh was chosen is not known, though the fact that it was seemingly uninhabited in Canaanite times may have suggested it as an “uncontaminated” location for worship. The tent of meeting was set up in Shiloh and the Israelites assembled there. 

The importance of Shiloh as a center for Israelite worship continued into the time of the Judges. The Biblical writer remarks upon the length of time that the house of God was there (Judg 18:31). While shiloh held the place of prominence in Israelite worship during this period, other places began to assume some importance as well. Thus we see that the Ark of the covenant was in Bethel at least for a time (Judg 20:2627).

Shiloh continues to figure largely in the religious life of Israel during Samuel’s time. Elkanah, Samuel’s father, went to Shiloh year by year to sacrifice to Yahweh. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests in Shiloh at the time. It was in the temple at Shiloh that Hannah prayed for a child and there she brought him to be dedicated to Yahweh’s service. The two sons of Eli had largely corrupted the sacrificial system as it was meant to be practiced at Shiloh, and their conduct with the women who served at the entrance of the shrine was by no means above reproach. Yahweh’s appearance to the boy Samuel at Shiloh and his establishment as a prophet there also emphasize the centrality of the place in the religious history of early Israel (1 Sam 3:21).

When the Ark of God was captured and Israel was defeated at the hands of the Philistines, Shiloh lost its significance (4:3412), and the priests evidently fled to Nob just N of Jerusalem (22:11). Shiloh, or at least its temple, was evidently destroyed in about 1050 b.c.   It was generally recognized that God had forsaken “his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among men, and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe” (Ps 78:60). Jeremiah implies that in his day the ruins of the temple at Shiloh could still be seen and this fact he used to give force to his declaration that the Temple at Jerusalem would suffer a similar fate because of moral and religious corruption (Jer 7:121426:69). 


You can believe and quote  2 Chronicles 7:14 if you want to.  But I believe the passage in Jeremiah 7 closely parallels today’s society.  It seems that in the past week, many Christians have been drawn to Jeremiah 7.  Coincidence or Holy Spirit?


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