8 March 2018

Jeremiah 7:1-11

“Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the LORD.” (v. 11)

Psalm: Psalm 32


You may have heard the phrase ‘preaching to the converted’ thrown around in church circles. This comment alludes to the fact that on a Sunday morning, the majority of those who come to church to hear a sermon already believe in God and try to follow the way of Jesus. When Jeremiah was sent to stand at the gates of the temple I doubt he felt like he was going to preach to those who had nothing to learn. The message God had given him was to those people who thought their religious practices were a safety net that masked their sin.

The people who made their way up to the temple to offer sacrifices and pray were the same ones who were worshipping other gods and breaking the commandments given at Sinai (Exodus 20). The message given to these people is that they have made the house of God “a den of robbers” by acting the way they do. These words are referenced by Jesus when he drives out the money changers in the temple (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46).

Jeremiah’s actions in the temple saw him face death threats (Jeremiah 26:8) and the beginning of some of his harshest persecution. Jesus’ actions set in motion the events that led to his arrest and crucifixion. In both cases it marks the importance people put in buildings, places and ritual, sometimes over and above their commitment to God. Yet for both Jeremiah and Jesus they saw the need to challenge this behaviour and remind people that it was people who daily lived for God who were found safe in him.

To Ponder

  • Jeremiah’s actions in obedience to God put him in danger. If God calls you to actions that may feel dangerous, how would you respond?
  • How much importance do you place on buildings, places and ritual? To what extent do they help or hinder your commitment to God?

Bible notes author

The Revd David Wynd

David Wynd is a Methodist presbyter in the North Shields and Whitley Bay Circuit. He leads Cullercoats Methodist Church and is involved in a circuit project called Network.