Again and again the Lord brings the word of the covenant to the people by the prophet. The words are specific about their sin in Jeremiah 7:9 “Will you steal? Will you murder? And will you commit adultery? And will you swear falsely?” and clear with examples from their own history of what happened in Shiloh. If you aren’t familiar with Shiloh, read on. But now even Jeremiah is feeling the pain of these words and what was a joy to him, to be the Lords servant separates him from the people. He is alone but the Lord says in Jeremiah 15:19-20 “stand before me (the Lord) … utter what is precious and not what is worthless … they will fight against you, but they will not prevail over you, for I am with you, to save you, and to deliver you”.
You Must Not Plead With Me
The Lord recounts the sins being committed by his people in the city that carries his name in
Jeremiah 7:9 “Will you steal? Will you murder? And will you commit adultery? And will you swear falsely? And will you make a smoke offering to the Baal? And will you go after other gods whom you have not known?”
Then the people come into the Lords temple in
Jeremiah 7:10 “And then you come and you stand before me in this house, which is called by my name”
So, the Lord reminds them of what happened in Shiloh. This is not likely a familiar account for most of us. Read these few references to understand what happened after “God caused His tabernacle to be set up in Shiloh in Joshua’s days (Jos 18:1; Jdg 18:31). In Eli’s time God gave the ark, which had been at Shiloh, into the hands of the Philistines (Je 26:6; 1 Sa 4:10, 11; Ps 78:56–61)”.1
What the Lord had intended as a holy place for him to reside with his people, Shiloh, was defiled as the temple in Jerusalem was being defiled in Jeremiahs day. There is a point where the Lord’s long suffering comes to an end and after the Lord had sent word in Jeremiah 7:2-8, the Lord is finished in
Jeremiah 7:16 “And you, you must not pray for this people, and you must not lift up for them a cry of entreaty or a prayer, and you must not plead with me, for I will not hear you”.
Obey My Voice, and I Will be to You God
This is the Nation That Has Not Obeyed
Hear the Words of This Covenant and Do Them
Again the Lord sends word through the prophet, in
Jeremiah 11:2–4 “Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, 3 and say to them, ‘Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: “The man is cursed who does not obey the words of this covenant, 4 which I commanded your ancestors in the day of my bringing them from the land of Egypt, from the furnace of iron, saying, ‘Listen to my voice and do according to all that I command you, so will you be my people, and I will be your God.’
Egypt is not that far away, it was “the furnace of iron” desert then, and it was desert in their day, and it is desert now. This was some four hundred years after the Lord had delivered Israel from Egypt but it wasn’t completely forgotten history and “Having once left behind a furnace for smelting iron, a reference to the acute sufferings of bondage (cf. Deut. 4:20; Isa. 48:10), they should have taken care to avoid further enslavement”.2
But even with all this, in Jeremiah 11:8 “they did not incline their ear. Instead each one walked in the stubbornness of his own evil heart”
I Will Not Listen to Them
For I Am With You, To Save You
The prophet himself is feeling the weight of the Lords judgement. Not because he is doing wrong, but because the people refuse to listen. For the prophet, the words were joyous and he was honored to be named as the Lords servant in
Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became to me as jubilation, even as the joy of my heart, for your name is called on me, O Yahweh God of hosts”.
But because of the word of the Lord, the prophet is separated from all of the people in
Jeremiah 15:17b–18a “Because of the presence of your hand I sat alone, for you filled me with indignation. 18 Why is my pain endless, and my wound incurable? It refuses to become healed”.
and the Lord cautions him to speak carefully in Jeremiah 15:19 “if you utter what is precious and not what is worthless, you will be as my mouth”. And now Jeremiah has his own choice, will he “turn back to them” and yield to please the people and find company with them in their destruction and misery? How many times has someone come to you with their troubles wanting you to commiserate and feel sorry for them. But the Lord says, if he as a prophet will “stand before me (the Lord)”, in Jeremiah 15:20 “they will fight against you, but they will not prevail over you, for I am with you, to save you, and to deliver you”.
I Spoke in the Times You Were Secure
During the times you were at ease, when there was no pressure, when you were not distracted. But you refused to listen. How can you hear now?
- Jeremiah 7:9–16 You Must Not Plead With Me
- Jeremiah 11:1–8 Hear the Words of This Covenant and Do Them
- Jeremiah 15:10–21 For I Am With You, To Save You
- Jeremiah 7:9-34
- Jeremiah 11:1-17
- Jeremiah 15:10-21
- Jeremiah 22:18-23
- 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 514). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- 2. Harrison, R. K. (1973). Jeremiah and Lamentations: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 21, p. 98). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.