Friday 08 March 2024

Bible Book:

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh.' (v. 21)

Jeremiah 7:21-28 Friday 8 March 2024


“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

No, you’re right; that does not come from Jeremiah. They are Jesus' words, as recorded in John’s Gospel (4: 24). But they do seem to sum up the teaching of Jeremiah in today’s passage. Jeremiah is pleading for an end to the worship of idols, an end to undue reliance on rites and ceremony, and a return to sincerity in worship, and personal faith and devotion.

Today’s reading begins with an attack on burnt offerings and sacrifices. The people are told, ‘you might as well eat the burnt offerings yourselves. God doesn’t want them!’ (v. 21). When the Israelites reached their promised land they began to copy the sacrificial practices of the local Canaanites, to a limited extent. Initially they did nothing to contravene what they regarded as God’s law, but the longer they stayed in Canaan the greater was the possibility that some of them might overstep the mark. Sadly they did. So, away with sacrifices and burnt offerings!

What God was looking for was obedience to God's word. But it was in vain. What God did find was something which is still a problem in some of our churches and chapels today. The people ‘looked backwards instead of forwards’ (v. 24).

You still hear folk harking back to ‘the good old days’, the days when the churches were full most Sundays, and full to overflowing at harvest, Sunday school anniversaries and other high spots of the year. These people spend time wallowing in the past, regretting things are not what they used to be, when they could be better employed joining in discussions trying to think of new ways of serving today’s community.

In Charles Wesley's words: "To serve the present age, my calling to fulfil, O may it all my powers engage to do my Master’s will!" (Singing the Faith 658, verse 2).


To Ponder:

  • What differences in ‘the present age’ should you (and your church) take into account when considering how best to serve your local community?
  • In what ways do you hear God’s word speaking to you?


Creator God, show me how I can best serve the present age. Amen.

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