Scripture reading – Jeremiah 7

Click on this link to translate this Bible study into Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, German, Spanish, Spanish, or Portuguese.

Like most prophets of their generation, Jeremiah’s cry for Judah to return to the LORD went unheeded. Though he faithfully preached the Word of the LORD, the prophet was reviled by His people and persecuted by Judah’s leaders for four decades.

Jeremiah 7

A Call to Repent (Jeremiah 7:1-4)

As we come to Jeremiah 7, we find the LORD commanding Jeremiah to go to the Temple, stand in the “gate of the LORD’s house,” and preach: Amend your ways and your doings” (Jeremiah 7:3).

In other words, Do Right! If the people would “Do Right” [turn from their sins and obey the LORD and His Commandments], the LORD promised, “I will cause you to dwell in this place (Jeremiah 7:3).

Yet, the degree of Judah’s hypocrisy is striking! The nation made a pretense of worshipping the LORD in His Temple (Jeremiah 7:1-2, 4). They boasted, “saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord” (Jeremiah 7:4). Nevertheless, their hearts were far from the LORD and far from the significance of the Temple.

The Condition of God’s Blessings

The Condition of God’s Blessings (Jeremiah 7:5-10)

Jeremiah announced the conditions of God’s blessings and again urged the people to amend their ways and do right (Jeremiah 7:5). What did it mean to “amend [their] ways” as a people? (Jeremiah 7:5). How could they amend them?

For Judah to move from the shadow of God’s judgment, the people must demand justice “between a man and his neighbour” (Jeremiah 7:5). They could not continue to exploit the “stranger” (i.e., the alien, foreigner), the children and the widows (Jeremiah 7:6a). They must no longer abuse the innocent or worship idols (Jeremiah 7:6b). Only then would the nation enjoy God’s blessings and protection (Jeremiah 7:7).

Tragically, the people rejected God’s Word and instead placed their “trust in lying words” (Jeremiah 7:8). They broke their covenant with the LORD and disobeyed His Commandments. They were thieves (8th commandment), murderers (6th commandment), adulterers (7th commandment), liars (9th commandment), and idolaters who “walked after other gods” (breaking the 1st and 2nd commandments, Jeremiah 7:8-11; Exodus 20).

The Place of Worship Was Become “A Den of Robbers” (Jeremiah 7:11-16)

The people continued to portray an air of spiritual piety; however, Jeremiah warned that the LORD knew what manner of people they were, for they had turned His house into a “den of robbers” (Jeremiah 7:11; note – Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). The prophet reminded the people what had become of Shiloh, the place their fathers worshipped before the Temple, and which the Philistines had destroyed. Jeremiah warned that if they continued in their sins, the LORD would destroy the Temple and Jerusalem, just as Shiloh had been desecrated and destroyed (Jeremiah 7:12-15; Psalm 78:60-64).

As with “Ephraim” (the name for the ten tribes of northern Israel that were in captivity, Jeremiah 7:15), Judah’s fate was sealed. Thus, the LORD charged Jeremiah, saying, “Pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:16).


The Degeneracy of Judah (Jeremiah 7:17-20)

The LORD questioned Jeremiah and asked, “Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?” (Jeremiah 7:17). Having rejected the LORD and failed to keep His covenant and obey His Law and Commandments, Judah turned to worshipping idols. The people gave offerings to the “queen of heaven” and “drink offerings unto other gods” (Jeremiah 7:18).

The LORD, therefore, declared with astonishment, “Do they provoke me to anger? saith the Lord: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?” (Jeremiah 7:19) Like the curse of sin that afflicts creation (Romans 8:22), the LORD declared His wrath and judgment would fall upon the whole of Judah, including man, beast, tree, and “the fruit of the ground” (Jeremiah 7:20).

A people's sins dictate a nation's future.

The Fate of Judah was Sealed (Jeremiah 7:21-27). 

No excess of offerings could satisfy the wrath of God (Jeremiah 7:21). Though the LORD taught their forefathers that He preferred obedience over sacrifice (Jeremiah 7:22-23; 1 Samuel 15:22), they refused His words, and continued “in the imagination of their evil heart” (Jeremiah 7:24). In His mercy, the LORD sent prophets (Jeremiah 7:25). Still, the people continued in their sins, and “did worse than their fathers” (Jeremiah 7:26). Therefore, the LORD exhorted Jeremiah to be prepared for the people to reject him as a prophet, saying, “they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee” (Jeremiah 7:27).

Spiritual Truth – A people’s sins dictate a nation’s future. (Jeremiah 7:28-34)

Standing at the Temple gate, Jeremiah declared, “This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished” (7:28). The LORD commanded Jeremiah to tell the people, “Cut off thine hair [a sign of mourning], O Jerusalem, and cast it away…for the Lord hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath” (Jeremiah 7:29).

The sins of the people had sealed the fate of the nation. They had profaned the Temple with idolatry (7:30). Not only did they worship idols, but they also sacrificed their sons and daughters (7:31-32). Jeremiah warned that in the place where they committed their abominations, their dead bodies would be fed upon by carrion-eating birds and wild beasts (7:33).

What a tragic portrait of sin’s consequences! Jeremiah foretold the streets of Judah’s cities would be silent, and laughter and joy would fail. The joys of young love would cease (7:34a), “for the land [would] be desolate” (7:34).


Closing Thoughts from the Heart of A Shepherd –

Jeremiah obeyed the LORD. He faithfully and boldly stood at the Temple gate and condemned the nation’s sins (Jeremiah 7:2). Yet, the LORD commanded him, “pray not for this people…for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:16).

Perhaps the question we should consider is, “When is it too late to pray for a nation?” After all, Abraham pleaded with the Lord if Sodom might be spared if ten righteous souls were found in the city. The LORD answered, “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake” (Genesis 18:32). Of course, that wicked city was so given over to sin that only three souls escaped its destruction (Genesis 19:15-30).

“When is it too late to pray for a nation?”

The LORD revealed to Jeremiah that there was no hope for Judah to repent. Yet, though the people hardened their hearts and refused to heed his warnings, Jeremiah’s calling was to preach the Word of the LORD and warn that God’s judgment was imminent.

Many people follow my daily Bible studies and are United States citizens. Perhaps you wonder, “Is it too late for America to repent and be spared God’s judgment?” Of course, I’m not a prophet, and the LORD has not personally revealed this nation’s future to me. Nevertheless, the sins of Judah are the sins of America. Justice has failed as the wicked deny the innocent their day in court. “Strangers” are entering our nation and being used to erode our culture (Jeremiah 7:6). Thieves are protected, murderers face no consequences, and adulterers and liars are rewarded (Jeremiah 7:8-10).  

What is a believer’s role amid a rebellious people? It is to be faithful. Though Jeremiah understood it was too late for Judah, he nevertheless had a role and responsibility to the nation to declare the Word of the LORD, even at the very gate of the Temple.

2 Timothy 4:2, 4 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine…5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

* Please subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of