X-Nupop-Charset: English
Date:         Tue, 3 Oct 1995 10:44:39 +0100
Reply-To: t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel 
From: Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 51
To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP 

1. Deuteronomy 32:10 - God's instruction in the desert
2. Jeremiah 7        - Jeremiah's sermon to disobedient Israel

1.  Deuteronomy 32:10 - God's instruction in the desert

Reading: Deut. 32

Deuteronomy 32:10

He found him in a desert land,
and in the waste howling wilderness;
he led him about,
he instructed him,
he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Moses,  telling God's grace towards the children of Israel, says  that
God  found them in a desert land. He speaks of their journey of  forty
years through the desert. God found Israel in the desert. We know that
God  had  already found them, earlier, when He led them out of  Egypt,
through His manifold wonders. Moses, making his history short, touches
only  on the main points. God then, found them in the wilderness. They
did  not  find God, or choose Him as their God, but God did  all.  The
initiative came from Him. Not Israel found God, but God found  Israel.
Grace  from  one side, we see. God found them in a desert land,  in  a
waste  howling  wilderness.  In  that  wilderness,  God's  hand  daily
supported them. He gave them heavenly food, and drink of the rock.  It
was a great wonder, to keep such a numerous nation alive in that waste
howling wilderness. The burning heat on the day, and the cold  in  the
nights; the wild beasts and the robbers; the snakes; the lack of water
and bread; all these things will cause a nation to perish within a few
days, when they are in the wilderness. But now, God defended them, fed
them, protected them, led them, and brought them to the borders of the
promised land. Rightly says Moses that God led Israel about, and  that
He  kept  them as the apple of his eye. The apple of the eye, that  is
the  most important part of the eye, and it is kept the most safe.  So
also God kept His people, to protect them against all dangers.
     "He  instructed him", says Moses. Some say, that  God  instructed
them  through  the law, and the explanation thereof.  Though  that  is
true, of course, it is not what is meant in this verse. "He instructed
him", that is written between phrases like "He led him about", and "He
kept him as the apple of His eye", and "He found him in a desert land,
in  the waste howling wilderness". The instruction, which God gave  to
the  people, is then connected with their journey through the  desert,
and  with  the wonders, wherewith God saved them. They were instructed
while  they went through the waste howling wilderness. The instruction
consisted  hereof, that they daily experienced God's power in  keeping
them  alive.  They daily saw God's hand, and experienced that  He  was
able,  as it were, to keep them alive amidst of a thousand deaths.  He
instructed  them,  and taught them His power, when He  gave  them  the
heavenly  bread. He also instructed them, and showed them His goodness
in not making an end to such stiff-necked people. They were instructed
by experiencing His grace. The instruction happened in the practice of
life.  So, this instruction is not a sitting down, and a listening  to
the  reading  of the Torah and its explanation. No, this  instruction,
Moses speaks of, is not a passive listening, but an active experience.
God's  words became noticeable in their daily life. There is no better
instruction then having experienced something. You may tell someone of
God's  justice  and  of  God's grace. But  when  one  experiences  His
justice,  he  will never forget it anymore. And when  one  experiences
God's  grace; that will become a thing written in his memory and heart
     Many places in the Scripture repeat God's grace in finding Israel
in  the  desert,  keeping  them alive in the  howling  wilderness,  in
leading them about and instructing them.
-   It  is  the  LORD, your God, "Who led thee through that great  and
    terrible   wilderness,   [wherein  were]   fiery   serpents,   and
    scorpions,  and drought, where [there was] no water;  who  brought
    thee forth water out of the rock of flint; (Deuteronomy 8:15)
-   It  is  the  LORD, your God, "Who fed thee in the wilderness  with
    manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee,  and
    that  he  might  prove thee, to do thee good at  thy  latter  end;
    (Deuteronomy 8:16)
-   In  their  prayer to God, the Levites say: "Thou gavest  also  thy
    good  spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna  from
    their  mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.  Yea,  forty
    years  didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, [so  that]  they
    lacked  nothing;  their  clothes waxed not  old,  and  their  feet
    swelled not. (Nehemiah 9:20,21)
-   The  Psalmist,  praising  God since He  is  good,  and  His  mercy
    endures  forever,  retelling the history of  Israel,  says:  "They
    wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found  no  city
    to  dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then
    they  cried  unto  the LORD in their trouble, [and]  he  delivered
    them out of their distresses. (Psalms 107:4-6)
In  these texts, it appears that God gave His spirit, to instruct  the
people, see Nehemia. According to Psalm 107, they experienced that God
is  a Helper in distress, when they cried to Him when they were hungry
and thirsty, and when God delivered them.

It  is  possible to speak of God at a distance, but that has not  much
value. As long as God is far of us, we babble of Him, imagine to  know
him,  and boast of our knowledge of Him. But now, let God come closer.
Instantly, when we experience His majesty, our mouth falls  closed.  A
sudden  silence  will  there be, as soon as God draws  near.  All  our
prattling of him vanishes, as soon as we see Him. When looking around,
it  seems that everybody knows God. Book after book appears. But  this
all is work at a distance. Let once God come in our sight; let He once
make  Himself  known  to us, and all our imagined knowledge  vanishes.
Then  it  is time for God to speak, and to instruct us; to remove  our
wrong  concepts  of  Him  out our minds, and  to  fill  it  with  true
knowledge of Him and with His love.

2.  Jeremiah 7 - Jeremiah's sermon to disobedient Israel

Next follows a sermon of the prophet Jeremiah. God publicly warns  the
people,  and admonishes them to true conversion. They have to  forsake
all hypocrisy. The example of Silo is set before them. God forbids the
prophet  to  pray  for  the  people. He rejects  their  offerings  and
requires obedience instead thereof. He speaks of their abominations in
Tofet, in the valley of the son of Hinnom.

    1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
Already  in the beginning of the sermon, it is clear that Jeremiah  is
speaking nothing but God's words. That requires attention, for  not  a
mere man is going to speak, but God Himself.
    2  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.
The  place of the sermon is the gate of the temple, the Lord's  house.
This public place is used, so that many may hear the words of God. God
will  not speak in the hidden. Everybody who enters in to worship God,
will hear it, so that they cannot say later on, "We have not heard it.
    3  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
"Thus says the LORD", people! These are not Jeremiah's words, but  the
Lord's.  Listen then the more. "Amend your ways". So, there  was  much
wrong in them. For, when you have to amend your ways, those ways  must
be  erroneous. People, forsake your sins, and only then you may  dwell
in  this  place. Only when amending your present sinful ways, you  may
stay here. If not, you will be driven away.
    4  Trust  ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of  the  LORD,
    The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, [are] these.
The  false  prophets and priests made the people rely on  the  temple.
They said: "People, you see that God's temple is here. So, God Himself
is  here.  Fear not. As long as God is here (whereof the temple  is  a
visible sign) you need not fear". Using these lies, the false prophets
allowed  the people to continue in their vices. Why should they  amend
their  ways?  Wasn't  God here? Weren't they the chosen  people?  "The
temple  of the LORD are these buildings." The false prophets made  the
people  rely on some stone, gold, silver and wood, instead of  on  the
living  God.  According to them, God would never  forsake  His  chosen
people.  So,  why should one amend his ways? But now,  Jeremiah  says:
Trust ye not in these lying words.
    5  For  if  ye  throughly amend your ways and your doings;  if  ye
    throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
    6  [If]  ye  oppress  not the stranger, the  fatherless,  and  the
    widow,  and  shed not innocent blood in this place,  neither  walk
    after other gods to your hurt:
    7  Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land  that
    I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
Having  the temple standing here will not cause you to dwell  in  this
place.  Only  a  throughly amending of your ways will do  it.  If  you
really amend your ways, says God, then I will cause you to dwell here.
I  gave  this  place  to your father for ever and  ever.  But  if  you
continue in your sins, that "ever and ever" will be shortened, and you
will  be driven away. Don't then amend your ways with words, but  with
deeds.  Execute justice; oppress not the stranger, the fatherless  and
the widow. Don't shed innocent blood. Don't serve idols which but hurt
you. Then you will live here.
    8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
They  trust not in God, but in lying words. Trusting God would profit,
but the lying words of the self-made prophets don't.
    9  Will  ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely,
    and  burn  incense unto Baal, and walk after other  gods  whom  ye
    know not;
    10  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?
People, says the prophet, you commit all these sins, and after  having
done so, you enter God's house to stand before His face. It that going
together? Sinning and standing before God? No, of course not. God  and
sin  have  nothing  to do one with another. Will  you  steal,  murder,
commit  adultery, swear falsely, burn incense unto Baal, serve  idols,
and  then enter God's house? You serve other gods and your own  lusts,
and  then  enter My house. What is that? Even worse is what they  say:
"We  are delivered to do all these abominations". We are delivered out
of  Egypt; we are God's people; God is gracious so as to forgive sins.
When  God forgives our sins, that means that we may continue in  these
abominations,  they  think. We are delivered  from  evil,  so  God  is
propitious to us, and we have no need of repentance. We are  delivered
to  do  all  these  abominations. This is the  mode  of  reasoning  of
    11  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
The  people, who were no more or less then robbers, gathered in  God's
house.  By  doing  so, they made the temple a den of robbers.  Robbers
came  together in their den, to discuss the next theft.  So  also  the
people gathered in God's house, discussing their vices. Is this house,
which is "God's house" now made by you the "robber's house"? Behold, I
have  seen it, says the LORD. I have seen your former sins, and I have
also seen this one. Your heap of sins increases.
    12  But go ye now unto my place which [was] in Shiloh, where I set
    my  name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness
    of my people Israel.
People, do you trust in this place; in this temple? Look now unto  the
former  holy place, to Shiloh. It is utterly destroyed now. They  also
trusted  in that place. They also committed the greatest crimes  while
going to that place. Look, and see that Shiloh is destroyed. Though  I
dwelled   there,  that  could  not  prevent  their  destruction.   The
destruction of Shiloh is an example of your future destruction, if you
not amend your ways.
    13  And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD,
    and  I  spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard
    not; and I called you, but ye answered not;
    14  Therefore will I do unto [this] house, which is called  by  my
    name,  wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I  gave  to  you
    and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
You  have  continued in your sins, people. I have sent My prophets  to
you;  I  have spoken to you; I have tried to convince you with all  My
strength. But you heard not. I called you, but you answered  not.  You
paid  no attention to My voice. Because you have done all this, I will
now   bring  destruction  on  this  place.  Look  to  Shiloh.  It   is
annihilated. So also will I annihilate this place, wherein you  trust.
This  temple  of stone will not save you. I will give it over  to  the
enemies, who will burn it. Let Shiloh be your example. Trust no longer
in this house, but amend your ways.
    15  And  I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast  out  all
    your brethren, [even] the whole seed of Ephraim.
Ephraim  (that  is Israel) was already carried away.  Now  Judah  will
follow. God will cast them away, out of His sight. There is no greater
punishment than being cast out of God's sight. It is like death.
    16  Therefore 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.
The  prophet was a man, who loved his people. Though they  not  ceased
sinning, yet the prophet ceased not praying for them at the throne  of
God's  grace.  He always made intercession for them,  that  God  might
spare them. But now, God forbids the prophet this prayer, so that  the
total  destruction may come upon them. As long as one is praying,  God
will delay the end; but now, God forbids praying.
    17  Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in  the
    streets of Jerusalem?
    18  The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and
    the  women  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.
They  don't  serve the idols in the hidden, but they do  so  publicly.
Neither  shame nor fear keeps them back. The whole family  helps.  The
children  gather  wood for the fire that the father kindles;  and  the
women  prepare the dough for the cakes of the idol. The whole city  is
defiled. Everybody joins in the same vices. They forsake God.
    19  Do  they  provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: [do  they]  not
    [provoke] themselves to the confusion of their own faces?
God  said, "They provoke Me to anger by their idolatry". But  now,  He
says: "No, not Me, but they hurt themselves".
    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.
God's  anger will be poured out on Jerusalem and the other cities.  No
thing will be spared. No beast, no trees, no fields, nothing. All will
participate  in  the same destruction. And the cause?  Their  constant
    21  Thus  saith  the LORD of hosts, the God of  Israel;  Put  your
    burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.
    22  For  I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in  the
    day  that  I  brought  them out of the land of  Egypt,  concerning
    burnt offerings or sacrifices:
    23  But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and  I
    will  be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye  in  all
    the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
The  people  were  zealous enough in performing the outward  rites  of
bringing  offerings.  That was not the problem. But,  while  offering,
they forgot the main point: Obedience. "Obey My voice", said God. That
is  much  more  important than the killing of beasts,  what  you  call
offerings. "Walk in My ways", said God. "That is what I ask  of  you".
When you do this, it will be well unto you.
    24  But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked  in
    the  counsels  [and] in the imagination of their evil  heart,  and
    went backward, and not forward.
God  spoke,  and  they  hearkened not. God commanded,  and  they  were
disobedient.  God  gave them a good, nay a perfect counsel;  but  they
walked in the counsels of their own evil heart. God said: "Go forward,
follow Me, walk in My ways". But they went backward, away from God. In
short, they were against God in all things.
    25  Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land  of
    Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants  the
    prophets, daily rising up early and sending [them]:
Look,  what an efforts God has spent on them. From the beginning until
now,  He  has sent all His servants, the prophets. It was  nearly  His
daily work, so to speak. But though God spent much labour to them, yet
they forgot their Maker.
    26  Yet  they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their  ear,  but
    hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
God  stood  and  called them. But they hearkened  not.  They  did  not
incline  their ear. They were stiff-necked. They followed not the  law
of  God, but their father's example. Having that example daily  before
them,  they became accustomed to that. It was then easier for them  to
make it worse then their fathers.
    27  Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they
    will  not  hearken to thee: thou shalt also call  unto  them;  but
    they will not answer thee.
The  prophet is told that they will not listen to him. When he  speaks
all  these  words to them, they will not hearken. Like they have  done
with God, they will do with God's servants. When God called, they gave
no answer. When the prophet will call them, they also will not answer.
    28  But  thou shalt say unto them, This [is] a nation that obeyeth
    not  the  voice  of the LORD their God, nor receiveth  correction:
    truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.
When  a  nation  does  no longer obey God's voice,  nor  receives  His
correction,  then  their  end is near. When they  don't  accept  God's
truth, but walk in their own vanities, then they will soon come to  an

    29  Cut  off  thine hair, [O Jerusalem], and cast [it]  away,  and
    take  up  a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected
    and forsaken the generation of his wrath.
Cutting  off  your  hair,  and lamenting,  that  are  signs  of  great
mourning. Why should they mourn so much? Because God has rejected  and
forsaken them. They were God's people, but now they are nothing.  They
have  broken the covenant, and God has rejected them. No wonder, since
they have rejected God.
    30  For  the  children of Judah have done evil in my sight,  saith
    the  LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which  is
    called by my name, to pollute it.
Commonly  the people do evil in the hidden. Some shame restrains  them
from  doing it publicly. But the children of Judah, rejecting the law,
did  evil  in  God's  sight. No shame or fear restrained  them.  Worse
still, they polluted the temple by putting their abominations there.
    31  And  they have built the high places of Tophet, which [is]  in
    the  valley  of  the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons  and  their
    daughters in the fire; which I commanded [them] not, neither  came
    it into my heart.
It  came so far, that they burned their children, which God had  given
them. God gave them sons and daughters, and they passed them on to the
idols.  God gave them children, that they might be brought up to  live
in  the service of God, that God might be praised. But the people  had
shaken off all human feelings, and burned their sons and daughters  in
the fire.
    32  Therefore,  behold, the days come, saith  the  LORD,  that  it
    shall  no  more  be called Tophet, nor the valley of  the  son  of
    Hinnom,  but  the  valley of slaughter: for  they  shall  bury  in
    Tophet, till there be no place.
    33  And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of
    the  heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall  fray
    [them] away.
When  the  enemy comes, he will put and end to all. Have  they  killed
their  children  in Tophet? Also the enemy will kill all  the  people.
Have  they put and end to the lives of their children in Tophet?  Also
their  own  bodies will be buried there, till the place is full.  Then
the  beasts have food, eating their dead bodies.We see what a terrible
results  the forsaking of God has. May we be kept back from doing  the
    34  Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and  from
    the  streets  of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the  voice  of
    gladness,  the  voice  of the bridegroom, and  the  voice  of  the
    bride: for the land shall be desolate.
At  the moment, everybody feasts, is glad, marries, and does all  what
his  heart desires. But then, it will be all over. The land  will  lay
desolate. No voice will be heard anymore.

What has sin brought into the world! And what still brings it! This is
the  end  of the sermon in Jeremiah 7. Silence. No voice anymore.  The
land shall be desolate.
Let  we  then,  having this as an example before our eyes,  amend  our
ways, and return to God.

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-051.txt