Read verses 1-6
Q: What is the setting provided by knowing that this takes place early in Jehoiakim’s reign?
A: Josiah was the last “good” king of Judah who introduced the deepest spiritual revival in their history. Upon his death, his evil son Jehoahaz almost immediately began forsaking God’s ways; he only lasted 3 months. His brother Jehoiakim became ruler in his place. Taken with the previous chapter, this is probably around the 4th year of Jehoiakim’s reign, meaning that it’s probably not even been 5 years since the greatest spiritual revival of the nation’s history, and it’s backslidden further than from where it started.
Observation: The book of Jeremiah is not strictly ordered chronologically. The incident detailed in this chapter appears to give a summary of the much larger message he most likely delivered at this time, which is provided in depth in chapter 7-9. Whereas 7-9 focus on the message, 26 focuses on the people’s reaction to the message.
Q: What might be particularly interesting about the group to whom Jeremiah is prophesying? What has drawn them together?
A: They have all come to Jerusalem “to worship in the Lord's house”. These are all God’s people who have ostensibly come together in and for His name.
Q: What are the 3 charges God brings against them in v.4-5?
- They are not listening to God.
- The are not walking in God’s Word.
- They are not listening to God’s Word through His prophets.
Q: If they’re not listening to God, how is it possible for them to come and rightly “worship” Him?
A: It’s not possible. They are living dual lives, committed to their own words and ways while simultaneously going through the motions of the things connected to God. Their obedience is only superficial, believing it’s enough to just be associated with the things of God to satisfy Him.
Thus says the Lord 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 deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’
— Jeremiah 7:3-4
Q: What happened at Shiloh that God is using as an example to warn them in v.6?
A: During Joshua’s time, the tabernacle (the precursor to the temple) was established in Shiloh where it stood until, during Eli’s time, the Ark of the Covenant was given over by God into the hands of the Philistines. (1 Samuel 4:10-11) It was a great spiritual lesson of losing the things of God due to following a corrupt and apostate priesthood and that God will not allow Himself to be worshipped in name only.
For they provoked Him with their high places
And aroused His jealousy with their graven images.
When God heard, He was filled with wrath
And greatly abhorred Israel;
So that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh,
The tent which He had pitched among men,
— Psalm 78:58-60
Q: So what was the lesson they should have learned from Shiloh which parallels their own time?
A: The things of God at Shiloh became repugnant to God because of the people’s unfaithfulness and lack of obedience, so much so that He even gave up the Ark of the Covenant. These people have not learned the lesson that the things of God are meaningless without an appropriate commitment of faithfulness from the heart and have rendered the things of God repugnant to Him, even the very temple itself.
Application: What do you suppose the consequences are for those who attend church and claim to be a Christian in name only, but who really aren’t listening and following God from the heart?