The sons gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the Queen of Heaven; they pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke Me to anger.
The text vividly portrays the worship rendered to the heathen goddess, whose sumptuous and licentious worship had so fascinated those to whom the prophet wrote.
I. IT IS A WARNING. For it shows the deadly contagion of sin. Now, when the head of the household goes after evil, he speedily draws in and down wife and children, until the whole family is corrupted, and they become a household of wickedness. The text reveals whole families engaged in the worship of idolatry, each member taking an active and eager part. They become so many societies for the propagation of ungodliness. In the sanctity or the sin of the parent the children are sure to share. In the first, by the grace of God; in the second, by the fatal force of a father's example. A father can lift his children up to heaven or he can drag them down to hell, and some do. See the text.
II. BUT IT IS A MODEL ALSO. In what we are here told, the heathen shame the Church. Idolatrous worship may well put to the blush much of the worship of God. For in the worship told of in the text, false and horrible as it was, nevertheless we see much that we might well copy.
1. It was a worship that made all work. What a busy hive of workers each household is seen to be! But where is the counterpart of this in the Church of Christ? A whole family eager and active for Christ - the father, the mother, and all the children - would be a unique fact. How lazy, how indolent, is the greater part of our religion!
2. The children were interested in it. We are heartbroken that the great masses of our countrymen stand aloof from the worship of God. Did we interest them in it when they were children? We had them all in our hands, as we have their children now. Are our modes of worship, our representations of God's truth, our methods of instruction, such as shall make them love God's worship when they grow up? What would we not give to see our children so eager in God's worship as were the children told of in the text in idol-worship?
3. Both sides of the house were agreed on this great question. Husband and wife were of one mind, and each did what they could to further it. It was the general rule. Is it so now in regard to God and his service? Does the husband never hinder the wife? Does the wife always help the husband on the heavenward road?
4. There was fit work for each, and each did it. The children could gather sticks, the men kindle the fires, and the women, etc. When will there arise in the Church some who will point out some fresh and wise methods of enlisting all in her work? We have now two or three regular plans in operation; but if any be unfit or unwilling for them, as many are, there is nothing else for them. What we need is what these idolaters in their sad worship seem to have found - a work for every one, and every one at his work. But meanwhile let each one who is standing in the vineyard idle, not because unwilling to work, but because no one has hired him, no one has pointed him to the work for which he is really fit - and there are many such - let him take his case to the Lord, and ask, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" and he may rest assured, no matter whether he be little child or grown-up man, an answer will come to him soon. - C.
The children gather wood. I.
GOD IS SETTING UP A KINGDOM IN THIS WORLD. A very glorious and gracious kingdom.
1. Righteousness. Teaches us to do justice.
2. Peace — to love and pursue it.
3. Joy. God makes all happy who come into His kingdom.
II. GOD EXPECTS US ALL TO WORK TO SET UP THIS KINGDOM. Christ came to set it up; ministers preach and labour for it; missionaries go to heathen; all God's people aid.
III. CHILDREN CAN DO SOMETHING TO SET UP THIS KINGDOM.
1. You can pray; that God would make you willing subjects of this kingdom.
2. You can talk; speak to others about Jesus, pardon, God, heaven.
3. You can work; give to missionary society, etc.
IV. CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS HAPPY WHEN TRYING TO SET UP THIS KINGDOM. Why? Because make others happy. Angels are happy, because employed making others happy. God is happy, for He blesses every one. And, when we act like God, we ourselves are happy.
V. GOD WILL NEVER FORGET THE LABOURS OF LITTLE CHILDREN FOR HIM. When children wanted to come to Jesus, He noticed their disposition, and said, "Never prevent a child from coming to Me"; then took in arms and blessed. When they sang in temple He noticed their song, and said, "Hearest thou what these say?" God loves,everything done by children, because it is a proof of their obedience and love.
"Queen of Heaven," i.e.
, Ashtaroth, or the Moon. The Israelites fell into this idolatry in the time of the Judges. Solomon was carried away by it. Josiah suppressed it. We may learn a useful lesson from these young idolaters.
I. THEY WISHED TO BE USEFUL IN RELIGION.
II. THEY DID WHAT THEY COULD.
III. WHAT THEY DID WAS OF SERVICE. What can you do? For example, in —
IV. GOD DOES NOT DESPISE CHILDREN'S WORK. This fact is one which should be seriously pondered by children, parents, teachers.
Eccentric Preachers.It is said that Matthew Wilks, one of the founders of the London Missionary Society, chose this text when he preached the anniversary sermon; and in those days when trite and commonplace remarks from the pulpit were considered orthodox, and anything that was a little fresh and novel was looked upon with suspicion, every eye in the large assembly expressed astonishment at the preacher's selection. He had not proceeded far, however, when the feeling of astonishment gave way to pure delight, when all seemed convinced that the text, though uncommon, was by no means inappropriate. I have not seen the sermon; I only know that he dealt with it in the following manner. He said, I will contrast your objects with those of the worshippers of the queen of heaven. I will compare your ardour with theirs. I will muster your agents. And it was this part of the subject, in which he referred to the agents, namely, men, women, and children, which gave rise to the system of auxiliary institutions which now pervade the whole country, and combine in its support young and old, rich and poor.
To make cakes to the queen of heaven.(A talk with Children): — The people who lived in Jerusalem at this time, alas! worshipped the sun, and called it Baal, also the moon, and called it Ashtoreth, — just as our ancestors did at one time in this country, calling the day upon which they worshipped the sun Sunday, and the day upon which they worshipped the moon Monday. In Jerusalem, at the time referred to in our text, the people used to offer cakes to the moon. These cakes were always made round to resemble the moon. This offering was considered to be a very important one, and all wanted to have a share in making the cakes and presenting them. Now the first thing that had to be done was to get plenty of firewood. You cannot make a cake without fire, and you cannot get fire without fuel. Thus I think I can hear a Jewish mother say, "Now, my children, I want you to get some good firewood for tomorrow — wood that will burn brightly; I am going to make some cakes for the queen of heaven, and — who knows? — perhaps there may be a few tit-bits left!" Off the children go. That's just the work they like; they can stoop easily, or jump over the hedge or fence, and tear their clothes without having much scolding, as they are gathering wood for their mother. Little Hannah gathers her apron full, and Dan or Benjamin as much as he can carry in his arms, and they return home full of glee. They have done their part. But the following morning the fire had to be kindled. It required strong arms to kindle a fire by rubbing two pieces of wood vigorously together. The fathers could do that best; for they had muscular arms, and they gladly did their part. Then there was need of clean and gentle hands to knead the dough, and there were none who could do that as well as the mothers, aunts, and the elder sisters. It was their turn now, and the children would look earnestly on and wonder whether the dough would go far enough to make the necessary number of cakes for the "queen of heaven," or the moon, and one or two over. They little knew that the mother or sister had put in an extra handful of meal for that purpose. Then there was the baking and the consumption of the odd cake or two by the little wood gatherers. But beyond all this, there was a great pleasure reserved for them all — the privilege of presenting to the moon the cakes in the making of which they had all had a part, and which were as round and as perfect as a woman's hand could make them. Children have their part to do still. Often, as in this case, the work begins with children. They cannot do much; they cannot kindle a fire, or make a cake or a loaf; but they can gather wood, supply the fuel, and others will kindle the fire and provide an offering fit for the altar of God. You cannot as yet, at least, go forth to distant lands as missionaries and Zenana workers, and take the bread of life — not as a gift to God, but as a gift from God — to the heathen; but you can enable others who are older than you to do all this. You can contribute your pence to the missionary society, etc.
PlacesEgypt, Jerusalem, Shiloh, Topheth, Valley of Hinnom, Valley of Slaughter, Zion
TopicsAnger, Bread, Burn, Burning, Cakes, Causing, Dough, Drained, Drink, Drink-offerings, Fathers, Fire, Gather, Gathering, Gods, Heaven, Heavens, Kindle, Knead, Kneading, Libations, Moving, Offerings, Order, Paste, Pour, Provoke, Queen, Sky, Sons, Spite, Women, Wood, Working, Wrath
Outline1. Jeremiah is sent to call to true repentance, to prevent the Jews' captivity.
8. He rejects their vain confidence,
12. by the example of Shiloh.
17. He threatens them for their idolatry.
21. He rejects the sacrifices of the disobedient.
29. He exhorts to mourn for their abominations in Tophet;
32. and the judgments for the same.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJeremiah 7:18
7350 drink offering
5790 anger, divine
6218 provoking God
LibraryAn Earnest Warning About Lukewarmness
I should judge that the church at Laodicea was once in a very fervent and healthy condition. Paul wrote a letter to it which did not claim inspiration, and therefore its loss does not render the Scriptures incomplete, for Paul may have written scores of other letters besides. Paul also mentions the church at Laodicea in his letter to the church at Colosse; he was, therefore, well acquainted with it, and as he does not utter a word of censure with regard to it, we may infer that the church was at …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 20: 1874
The Sinner Stripped of his Vain Pleas.
1, 2. The vanity of those pleas which sinners may secretly confide in, is so apparent that they will be ashamed at last to mention them before God.--3. Such as, that they descended from pious us parents.--4. That they had attended to the speculative part of religion.--5. That they had entertained sound notion..--6, 7. That they had expressed a zealous regard to religion, and attended the outward forms of worship with those they apprehended the purest churches.--8. That they had been free from gross …
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul
The Life of Mr. Hugh Binning.
There being a great demand for the several books that are printed under Mr. Binning's name, it was judged proper to undertake a new and correct impression of them in one volume. This being done, the publishers were much concerned to have the life of such an useful and eminent minister of Christ written, in justice to his memory, and his great services in the work of the gospel, that it might go along with this impression. We living now at so great distance from the time wherein he made a figure in …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
The Valley of Hinnom.
A great part of the valley of Kedron was called also the 'Valley of Hinnom.' Jeremiah, going forth into the valley of Hinnom, went out by the gate "Hacharsith, the Sun-gate," Jeremiah 19:2; that is, the Rabbins and others being interpreters, 'by the East-gate.' For thence was the beginning of the valley of Hinnom, which, after some space, bending itself westward, ran out along the south side of the city. There is no need to repeat those very many things, which are related of this place in the Old …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
The Knowledge that God Is, Combined with the Knowledge that He is to be Worshipped.
John iv. 24.--"God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." There are two common notions engraven on the hearts of all men by nature,--that God is, and that he must be worshipped, and these two live and die together, they are clear, or blotted together. According as the apprehension of God is clear, and distinct, and more deeply engraven on the soul, so is this notion of man's duty of worshipping God clear and imprinted on the soul, and whenever the actions …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
The Everlasting Covenant of the Spirit
"They shall be My people, and l will be their God. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me."--JER. xxxii. 38, 40. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye …
Andrew Murray—The Two Covenants
Whether a Vow Should Always be About a Better Good?
Objection 1: It would seem that a vow need not be always about a better good. A greater good is one that pertains to supererogation. But vows are not only about matters of supererogation, but also about matters of salvation: thus in Baptism men vow to renounce the devil and his pomps, and to keep the faith, as a gloss observes on Ps. 75:12, "Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God"; and Jacob vowed (Gn. 28:21) that the Lord should be his God. Now this above all is necessary for salvation. Therefore …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
Appendix iv. An Abstract of Jewish History from the Reign of Alexander the Great to the Accession of Herod
The political connection of the Grecian world, and, with it, the conflict with Hellenism, may be said to have connected with the victorious progress of Alexander the Great through the then known world (333 b.c.).  It was not only that his destruction of the Persian empire put an end to the easy and peaceful allegiance which Judæa had owned to it for about two centuries, but that the establishment of such a vast Hellenic empire. as was the aim of Alexander, introduced a new element into …
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his commandments.' Deut 27: 9, 10. What is the duty which God requireth of man? Obedience to his revealed will. It is not enough to hear God's voice, but we must obey. Obedience is a part of the honour we owe to God. If then I be a Father, where is my honour?' Mal 1: 6. Obedience carries in it the life-blood of religion. Obey the voice of the Lord …
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments
PART I In the early days of the Gospel, while the Christians were generally poor, and when they were obliged to meet in fear of the heathen, their worship was held in private houses and sometimes in burial-places under-ground. But after a time buildings were expressly set apart for worship. It has been mentioned that in the years of quiet, between the death of Valerian and the last persecution (A D. 261-303) these churches were built much more handsomely than before, and were furnished with gold …
J. C. Roberston—Sketches of Church History, from AD 33 to the Reformation
Some General Uses from this Useful Truth, that Christ is the Truth.
Having thus cleared up this truth, we should come to speak of the way of believers making use of him as the truth, in several cases wherein they will stand in need of him as the truth. But ere we come to the particulars, we shall first propose some general uses of this useful point. First. This point of truth serveth to discover unto us, the woful condition of such as are strangers to Christ the truth; and oh, if it were believed! For, 1. They are not yet delivered from that dreadful plague of …
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life
First Ministry in Judæa --John's Second Testimony.
(Judæa and Ænon.) ^D John III. 22-36. ^d 22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judæa [That is, he left Jerusalem, the capital of Judæa, and went into the rural districts thereof. We find him there again in John xi. and Luke xiii.-xviii. He gained disciples there, but of them we know but few, such as Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Simeon, and Judas Iscariot]; and there he tarried with them [It is not stated how long he tarried, but it may have been from …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
Barren Fig-Tree. Temple Cleansed.
(Road from Bethany and Jerusalem. Monday, April 4, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXI. 18, 19, 12, 13; ^B Mark XI. 12-18; ^C Luke XIX. 45-48. ^b 12 And ^a 18 Now ^b on the morrow [on the Monday following the triumphal entry], ^a in the morning ^b when they were come out from Bethany, ^a as he returned to the city [Jerusalem], he hungered. [Breakfast with the Jews came late in the forenoon, and these closing days of our Lord's ministry were full of activity that did not have time to tarry at Bethany for it. Our …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
Concerning the Ministry.
Concerning the Ministry. As by the light or gift of God all true knowledge in things spiritual is received and revealed, so by the same, as it is manifested and received in the heart, by the strength and power thereof, every true minister of the gospel is ordained, prepared, and supplied in the work of the ministry; and by the leading, moving, and drawing hereof ought every evangelist and Christian pastor to be led and ordered in his labour and work of the gospel, both as to the place where, as to …
Robert Barclay—Theses Theologicae and An Apology for the True Christian Divinity
The Scriptures Reveal Eternal Life through Jesus Christ
John v. 39--"Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." Eph. ii. 20--"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets." As in darkness there is need of a lantern without and the light of the eyes within--for neither can we see in darkness without some lamp though we have never so good eyes, nor yet see without eyes, though in never so clear a sunshine--so there is absolute need for the guiding of our feet in the dangerous …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
"To what Purpose is the Multitude of Your Sacrifices unto Me? Saith the Lord,"
Isaiah i. 11.--"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord," &c. This is the word he calls them to hear and a strange word. Isaiah asks, What mean your sacrifices? God will not have them. I think the people would say in their own hearts, What means the prophet? What would the Lord be at? Do we anything but what he commanded us? Is he angry at us for obeying him? What means this word? Is he not repealing the statute and ordinance he had made in Israel? If he had reproved …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
"All Our Righteousnesses are as Filthy Rags, and we all do Fade as a Leaf, and Our Iniquities, Like the Wind, have Taken us Away. "
Isaiah lxiv. 6, 7.--"All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Not only are the direct breaches of the command uncleanness, and men originally and actually unclean, but even our holy actions, our commanded duties. Take a man's civility, religion, and all his universal inherent righteousness,--all are filthy rags. And here the church confesseth nothing but what God accuseth her of, Isa. lxvi. 8, and chap. i. ver. …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
Covenanting a Duty.
The exercise of Covenanting with God is enjoined by Him as the Supreme Moral Governor of all. That his Covenant should be acceded to, by men in every age and condition, is ordained as a law, sanctioned by his high authority,--recorded in his law of perpetual moral obligation on men, as a statute decreed by him, and in virtue of his underived sovereignty, promulgated by his command. "He hath commanded his covenant for ever." The exercise is inculcated according to the will of God, as King and …
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting
Motives to Holy Mourning
Let me exhort Christians to holy mourning. I now persuade to such a mourning as will prepare the soul for blessedness. Oh that our hearts were spiritual limbecs, distilling the water of holy tears! Christ's doves weep. They that escape shall be like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity' (Ezekiel 7:16). There are several divine motives to holy mourning: 1 Tears cannot be put to a better use. If you weep for outward losses, you lose your tears. It is like a shower …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
Letter ii (A. D. 1126) to the Monk Adam
To the Monk Adam  1. If you remain yet in that spirit of charity which I either knew or believed to be with you formerly, you would certainly feel the condemnation with which charity must regard the scandal which you have given to the weak. For charity would not offend charity, nor scorn when it feels itself offended. For it cannot deny itself, nor be divided against itself. Its function is rather to draw together things divided; and it is far from dividing those that are joined. Now, if that …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
The interest of the book of Jeremiah is unique. On the one hand, it is our most reliable and elaborate source for the long period of history which it covers; on the other, it presents us with prophecy in its most intensely human phase, manifesting itself through a strangely attractive personality that was subject to like doubts and passions with ourselves. At his call, in 626 B.C., he was young and inexperienced, i. 6, so that he cannot have been born earlier than 650. The political and religious …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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