to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
August 30, 2019 – Friday
Jeremiah 11:1-5 NIV
1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. 3 Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— 4 the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey Me and do everything I command you, and you will be My people, and I will be your God. 5 Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’—the land you possess today.” I answered, “Amen, Lord.”
Pretty clear here, the Lord is saying Judah and Jerusalem have broken the covenant they had with Him, thus a title for one through seventeen in the NIV is The Covenant Is Broken. God has a message for Jeremiah to deliver to Judah and Jerusalem Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant where He said Obey Me and do everything I command you, and you will be My people, and I will be your God. When the people did so, He would keep the oath He swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey. These trace back to
But as for you, the LORD took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of His inheritance, as you now are. Deuteronomy 4:20
If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. Deuteronomy 28:1
You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the LORD your God, a covenant the LORD is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 29:12-13
What followed these words of the Lord? Turns out He had more for Jeremiah to say.
6 The Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. 7 From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey Me.” 8 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’”
A covenant is so important to believers because it is an agreement ratified by blood by a God Who cannot lie and never abandons what He promises. It is the agreement between two parties, us and God, which are contained in the Scriptures which have been revealed to us.
The Hebrew word for covenant is “bĕriyth” and is called a covenant from the idea of cutting since this was customary in Abraham’s day when solemn agreements were made and one in which they were to pass between the divided parts of victims, which is seen in animal sacrifices.
Thus a covenant is a contract between two or more parties or between God and a people in the case under discussion. The people in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem broke the covenant they had with God. As a result, He would no longer provide the wonderful promises He had made, but would let all kinds of calamities befall them as punishment. Their primary sin, the key condition of the covenant they had broken was to have no other gods before Him as made clear in the following verses.
9 Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to My words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them. 12 The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes. 13 You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’
And then He adds
14 “Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.
What are we to glean from all of this? What does this ancient history tell us? What are we to learn from it? Perhaps no more than to examine our own lives and see what idols we are worshiping or putting before our Lord God Almighty and His Son, our Lord and Savior. Something to reflect upon as we begin our weekend and consider going to church to actually worship with fellow believers.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)