Jeremiah 7


King Josiah is trying to bring reform to the nation of Judah. He has ordered the people to worship the Lord and celebrate the Feasts. The people did come to the Feasts but not to worship. The Feasts were great times of celebration. People were off work and with their families. Yes, they had to bring offerings, but they also got to eat some of their offerings. I can picture the feasts being like our celebration at Christmas. From the rebukes Jeremiah makes in Chapter 7, it is clear that the people are there for the celebration but not to worship. 

During this time Babylon is gaining power and is at war with Assyria. This is a threat to Judah and all the surrounding  nations. In verse 4 we read that the people were repeating the phrase, “The temple of the Lord.” They believed Jerusalem would be safe from invasion because the temple was located in the city. This goes back to the days when Assyria attempted to invade Jerusalem but God intervened and the Assyrians were forced to go back to their country. When the people were saying “The temple of the Lord” they were trusting in the temple. They had made it an idol. Every time the threat was spoken of, the people’s reply was something like, “yes but we have the temple of the Lord.” 

God sent Jeremiah to the gate to confront the people regarding their sins and worldly lifestyle as they came in.. Chapter 7 contains a long list of sins that the people were committing. In verse 11 we read, “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? I, even I have seen it, declares the Lord.” NASB

 In Matthew 21:13 NASB, Jesus will take the phrase, “den of robbers,” combine it with a phrase from Isaiah 56:7 and say, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ‘ROBBERS’ DEN,’”  when He cast out the people who were buying and selling in the temple.

The people and the religious rulers were robbing God of the glory due Him. The temple of the Lord was a place where the people could come and connect with God and worship Him.  In both of these cases their actions had cast God out of His temple because they were not there to worship or pray.

The people were relying on the grace of God but they had redefined grace to the point where it gave them a license to sin with no accountability to God for their actions. Casual Christianity does the same thing. It repeats the word “grace” over and over but does not understand God’s definition of grace. This is dangerous. In the Garden of Eden the temptation was that we can be like God. That temptation underlies most, if not all, of the sins we commit today. In this case it is as simple as redefining the word grace to benefit self.

Certainly, God is a God of grace. Without His grace, mercy, and love, we would have no hope of salvation. We need God’s grace but we need to be careful that we do not use grace as a license to sin. Paul writes in Romans 6:1&2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” NASB

I am not saying that a Christian will never sin. What I am saying is that if we rely on God’s grace so we can sin we are robbing God of the glory due Him by glorifying ourselves. We have been saved by grace. We are born again. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Our life is to be a testimony of God’s grace!

To redefine God’s grace so we can live for ourselves and continue in our old ways, following the sins of the culture, is to rob God. God’s grace has set us free from that. We must die to sin so we can live for Him.

We need to understand God’s definition of grace. There is a tension between grace and works. Both are necessary and both can be taken to extremes. I know of no better way to gain God’s definition of grace than to look at all the verses in the Bible that speak of God’s grace.  If you have a concordance this is the best place to start. Many Bibles have one in the back of the Bible. There are a lot of books written on grace. These may be helpful but I would encourage you to read the verses in the Bible first.

Here are a few verses but there are many more. John 1:16&17; 2 Corinthians 6:1, Romans 1-11: Galatians; Ephesians 1:17, 2:5-8; 2 Timothy 2:1; Titus 2:11, 3:3-7. The tension between grace and works can be seen in James 2:14-26 and 4:1-12.

Walk by faith. Live by grace. Glorify God!

Pastor Dave