To put this into the proper context, let’s look at Jeremiah 7:1-3, “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, AMEND YOUR WAYS AND YOUR DOINGS, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.”  What do we learn from these verses?  We see that the people of Judah were faithful to ‘enter in at these gates to worship the LORD’, yet their ways and doings needed to be corrected.  This is similar to the condition of Israel when the Lord Jesus was here.  He said in Matthew 15:8, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”  We also can carry on with going to church services, give money, maybe even serve in some capacity, but the Lord knows the heart.  Just like He did in the days of Jeremiah, although the people were faithful in coming to the temple to worship, the Lord knew they were far from Him.

Let’s look at verses 10-11, “And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.”  The people were profaning the name of the Lord by coming into the temple, and standing before the Lord.  They were calling on his name, and offering sacrifices, though they had impure hearts and hands, and in a hypocritical way, claiming that because of this they were delivered.  The Lord asked them if they looked upon His temple as a sanctuary for robbers and murderers.  Of course, the Lord Jesus quoted this passage while He was in the temple. (Matthew 21:13)  In his day, the people had not changed.

I think this gives us enough background of the spiritual condition of these people.  Let’s move on and read Jeremiah 7:18-19, “The CHILDREN gather wood, and the FATHERS kindle the fire, and the WOMEN (the mothers and their servants) knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?”  How terrible it is to see the whole family taking part in idolatry.  The children gathered the wood so the fathers could make a fire to make offerings out of the cakes the women had made for the queen of heaven. True family worship is a wonderful thing, but family idolatry is especially dreadful.

Who is this ‘queen of heaven’ they were worshiping?  Most writers agree that this would be the moon.  They considered the sun to be the king that ruled the day, and considered the moon to be the queen that ruled the night.  The Apostle Paul wrote of those in his day, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)  These people were worshipping part of God’s creation rather than worshipping God, Himself.  Notice too that they also worshipped ‘other gods’ as well.  The Lord asked if they were doing this purposefully just to provoke Him.  We read in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”

Did this provoke the Lord?  Yes, it did.  We read in verse 20, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.”  The Lord was very angry with His people whose hearts were turned from Him after all He had done for them.  Yet, our God is a merciful and loving God.  As we read in verse 2, “Amend your ways and your doings, and I WILL CAUSE YOU TO DWELL IN THIS PLACE.”  We read in Psalm 86:5, “For thou, Lord, art good, and READY TO FORGIVE; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”  My friend, let me ask you, have you drifted away from the Lord?  Are you guilty of idolatry by allowing the things of this world to supersede your love for the Lord?  Do you need to ‘amend your ways and doings?’  The Lord is ‘ready to forgive’ when you return to Him with a broken and contrite heart.  (210.2)