Sacrifices Can be Meaningless

Many years ago, a young mother was making her way on foot across the hills of South Wales, carrying her infant son. A blinding blizzard overtook the pair, and the mother never reached her destination. Searchers found her lifeless body, with the baby snuggled beneath her, wa … More

Sacrifice

The people of Judah offered all the correct sacrifices, but they failed to obey God and to walk in His ways (vv. 21-29). Verse 22 is not to be understood as a denial that God commanded the sacrifices to be made. Rather it is an argument against substituting sacrifice for obedience. Sacrifices were not God’s major concern. The people thought they were pleasing God when they offered sacrifices, but they did not obey God in their general way of living. God rejects such sacrifice (vv. 21-22); (1 Sam. 15:22). God on a daily basis sent His prophets to His people with the message, “Hearken unto me:”

(vv. 23-25). The people’s response was, “we will not hearken unto you: we will go our way , in our own counsel” (v. 24). With unbent ears and stiff necks they rejected God (vv. 24-26). They would not listen to Jeremiah any more than their fathers had listened to earlier prophets (vv. 27-28).

The cutting of the hair was a symbol of grief (v. 29); (Job 1:20). Their “lamentation” was because of God’s rejection and His forsaking of them. The basis of God’s anger is twofold: (1) they have set “abominations” in the temple and polluted it (v. 30); and (2) they have committed child sacrifice in the Valley of Hinnon (v. 31). This valley was the site of the worship of Molech, the pagan deity to which children were sacrificed (v. 32). So many would die there that the valley of Hinnon would come to be called the valley of Slaughter. Burial places for all the corpses would be impossible to find. The unburied bodies would be ravished by beasts and birds. The entire land of Judah would become a ruin, a place of gloom and sadness (vv. 33-34).

Application

Just as Jeremiah told the people of his day, sacrifices are meaningless unless I obey God in all areas of life. I want to be a person who obeys Him in every area.

Jeremiah 7:21-34 (English Standard Version)


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