Jeremiah speaks to a packed house of worshippers (which demonstrates that filling the building with worshippers doesn't necessarily mean it is a place of acceptable worship). Israel is just years away from going into captivity because of their sin and here they are worshipping! This same crowd rejects Jeremiah's message, seizes him and demands that he die. This reminds me of Jesus' feeding the very multitude who later turned on Him and demanded that a criminal go free while He is crucified.
A few elders made an appeal on Jeremiah's behalf by bringing up a prophet from the past. Micah prophesied during Hezekiah's reign and Hezekiah repented when he heard Micah's message. King Jehoiakim had already killed Uriah, a previous prophet who spoke against him. God, however, uses the words of these elders to protect Jeremiah from harm.
This story teaches a number of truths about worship and worship services:
- God doesn't accept the worship of those who don't listen to and obey His Word. In other words, people living in known sin can sing enthusiastically to the LORD and their praises will not get past the ceiling. Worship is more about them having a good time and feeling better about themselves than adoring the Lord of heaven.
- It is quite possible to have a packed worship service while under the judgment of God. Worship, however, flows out of hearts that are repentant toward God.
- False prophets and priests have always existed and they often lead large congregations of people. They act indignantly when their message is questioned.
- God often plants his wise men in the crowd to speak on behalf of his prophets and prevent their harm.
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Jeremiah 8:4-9:15; 9:22-10:16
- What is God's goal in asking man questions? (See Genesis 3:9, 11, 4:6) What kind of questions is the LORD asking in Jeremiah 8:4-5, 8, 9, 12, 10; 9:9, 12?
- How are those who reject the Word of the Lord described?
- How are those who follow the words of false prophets described?
- How does God's prophet respond to Judah's worship of foreign idols? (It is important to note that God's prophets have a heightened sense of spiritual awareness.)
- Why does the LORD urge His people to resist fearing the gods of foreign nations?
- Describe Judah's response to Jeremiah's message.
- Who defends Jeremiah and what is the basis of their defense?
- What does this teach you about God?
Pray for your church. Pray that you and your church will worship the LORD in spirit and in truth.