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Chinese9/1/2006English
經文:耶利米書七至八章
鑰節:「在基列豈沒有乳香呢?在那堸Z沒有醫生呢?……」(8:22)
提要

        耶利米得上帝的默示記載在第七章的講章中,他用許多嚴厲的言詞攻擊猶大人民,這很可能是他不受歡迎的一個主要原因。他站在耶和華殿的門口──祭司得以進入的地方。一般人民來「敬拜上帝」,或者來參加重要節期的聚會,都聚集在外院。敬虔的王約西亞曾經修理和潔淨過污穢的華麗聖殿(王下23:4~6,10),到他兒子約哈斯繼位時再受污染,成為摻雜敬拜偶像的惡事和敬拜上帝混合在一起的地方。他在陀斐特谷恢復敬拜摩洛神的外壇,包括使人經火的獻祭,像他的曾祖父瑪拿西所行的(7:9~10,30~31;王下21:3~6;參利20:2~5)。

        他們一方面犯拜偶像的罪和行可憎的事,另一方面來到聖殿在上帝面前作虛偽的敬拜(參約4:24)。上帝主要的要求是順從祂的心意,而不是他們的祭物。所以,祂告訴他們可以吃燒過的祭物,因為他們沒有清潔的心,他們的獻祭是徒然,不為祂所悅納的(7:21~23;賽1:11~13;何6:6;詩51:16~17)。上帝喜歡他們聽從祂的話,祂要真正作他們的上帝,使他們作祂賜福的子民(7:23;出19:5~6)。

        那些撒謊的先知和腐敗的祭司注重聖殿和敬拜行為的外表,並不是真正敬拜上帝,因為聖殿祇是象徵上帝的同在,所以他們使百姓的心遠離了上帝。那些撒謊的先知對百姓說些重複帶迷信調子的「虛謊的話」:「這些是耶和華的殿……」(7:4,8),使聖殿成為盲目崇拜的對象。他們說聖殿不可能毀壞,因為上帝會保護它,像幾年前亞述人攻打耶路撒冷時得祂保護一樣(參王下19:32~35)。

        為要證明他們的錯誤,上帝提及示羅衰落的往事,就是當征服迦南之後在那堻]立祂早時的會幕,到士師時代還留在那堙]書18:1;撒上2:22);但因以色列人的罪和會幕受到褻瀆的緣故,那堣ㄕA有祂的同在,正如當年他們把約櫃當成崇拜之物抬上戰場,祂就不繼續與約櫃同在一樣(撒上4:3,10)。同樣,上帝的同在離開了耶路撒冷的聖殿,因它也受了罪的污染,包括他們的不公平和欺壓貧困的行為(像寄居的和孤兒寡婦,7:5~6;參申14:29;24:19~21)。像耶穌一樣,耶利米看見聖殿成為「賊窩」(7:11;太21:13)。所以,上帝不能再容忍。祂甚至不要耶利米為他們禱告,因他們在罪中已成為冷淡無情、沒有感覺和頑梗不馴的人,以至於上帝看他們已到了不能悔改的地步。所以上帝的烈怒要臨到他們(7:16,20,32~34)。

        第八章開始描述所臨到的審判。敵人要來挖掘墳墓,且要殺害許多人,使他們在地面上成為「糞土」一樣(8:1~3)。因為他們不留心聽真先知的警告,而且誤用他們的自由意志,違背了上帝的旨意,連候鳥都不如,所以審判會臨到他們(8:5~7;參賽1:3)。他們都夠愚蠢,特別是那些「假」文士以為有智慧自己可以解釋律法(羅2:17~19),但他因此使百姓陷於罪中仍不知慚愧(8:8,7:10)。他們連同那些說假話和拜偶像犯罪的祭司及先知要受重的刑罰,因為在眾百姓中他們應該比較曉得才對(8:10~12)。

        當耶利米生動地描述巴比倫人即將到來侵吞那土地和人民的時候,他為那些拒絕上帝的話將受害的同胞悲傷,而且為他們不可救藥的屬靈沈疾哀哭,甚至基列的乳香,意指上帝的恩慈和憐憫的醫治不能治癒他們因悖逆所潰爛的傷口,惟有那等候他們前來求醫的大醫生才能治癒。

禱告

        親愛的天父,感謝您藉著相信主耶穌,我們可成為聖靈的殿。我們決心相信您,求您的同在不要離開我們──您的殿,像耶利米時代的遭遇一樣。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Jeremiah 7&8
Key Verse:"Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?..."(Jeremiah 8:22)
Overview

        In Jeremiah's divinely inspired sermon, recorded in chapter seven, he made many strong statements against the people of Judah, which was likely one of the major reasons for his unpopularity. He stood at the entrance way to the inner court, into which he as a priest was permitted to enter. The common people, who had come to "worship the Lord", or perhaps to attend one of the great feasts, were congregating in the outer court. The beautiful Temple which had once been restored and purged by the godly King Josiah (2 Kings 23:4-6, 10) had again become defiled under his son Jehoiakim, who permitted syncretic worship by mixing idolatrous abominations with the worship of God. He also reinstated worship to the god Molech in the valley of Tophet; this practice included human sacrifice, just as his grandfather Mannaseh had done (7:9-10, 30-31; 2 Kings 21:3-6; cf. Lev. 20:2-5).

        Along with committing such wicked idolatry and abominations, they would come hypocritically to worship God in the Temple (cf. )ohn 4:24). It was obedience to Him that God demanded first and foremost, not their sacrifices. Therefore, He told them that they might as well eat their burnt offerings for their offerings were in vain, being unacceptable to Him because of their unclean hearts (7:21-23; Isa. 1:11-13; Hos. 6:6; Ps. 51:16-17). God desired them to obey Him so that He would truly be their God and that they might be His people whom He would bless (7:23; Ex. 19:5-6).

        The lying prophets and corrupt priests had turned the people's hearts away from God by putting their focus on the building and the outward acts of worship rather than on the Lord, whose presence the Temple merely symbolized. It was likely these lying prophets who taught the people the "lying words" of the repetitious and superstitious chant: "The Temple of the Lord" (7:4, 8), thus making the Temple a fetish. They thought the Temple was indestructable, since God would protect it as He did when the Assyrians attacked Jerusalem many years before (cf. 2 Kings 19:32-35).

        To prove them wrong, the Lord pointed to the destruction of Shiloh, where His original Tabernacle was erected after the conquest of Canaan and where it remained during the period of the judges (Josh. 18:1; 1 Samuel 2:22); but because of Israel's wickedness and the Tabernacle's defilement. His presence was no longer there, just as His presence was no longer with the Ark when they took it into battle as a fetish (1 Sam. 4:3, 10). Likewise, the Lord's presence had left the Temple in Jerusalem, for it too had been defiled by sin, including their injustice and unmerciful oppression of the needy (stanger, fatherless, widow, 7:5-6, cf. Deut.14:29; 24:19-21). Like Jesus, Jeremiah saw that the Temple had become "a den of thieves" (7:11; Matt. 21:13). Therefore, God would no longer be tolerant. He even stopped Jeremiah from interceding on their behalf, for they had become so calloused, insensitive, and hardened in sin that they had reached the point where God saw they would not repent. Thus His burning wrath would indeed come upon them (7:16, 20, 32-34).

        Chapter eight begins by describing the coming judgment. The enemy would desecrate the graves and kill so many that they will be "like refuse" on the ground (8:1-3). This will come upon them because they have not heeded the warnings of the true prophets, and because they have abused their free will and rebelled against God's will-something that even the migratory birds do not do (8:5-7; cf. Isa. 1:3). They were all so foolish, especially the "false" scribes who thought they were wise in giving their own interpretations of the law (Rom. 2:17-19), but in so doing they unashamedly led the people into sin (cf. 8:8-7:10). They, along with the priests and prophets who spoke falsely and sinned with idolatry, would suffer grave punishments, for they, of all people, should have known better (8:10-12).

        As Jeremiah vividly describes the coming invasion wherein the Babylonians would devour the land and its people, he laments for his stricken people who have rejected God's words,and he mourns because of their incurable spiritual disease. Even the balm of Gilead, implying God's gracious and merciful healing touch, could not heal their festering wounds caused by their rebelliousness against the Great Physician, who longed that they would come to Him for healing.

Prayer

        Dear Father, thank You that through trusting in Jesus we are made temples of Your Holy Spirit. We determine to remain true to You, that Your holy presence would not depart from us, Your temples, as happened to the temple in Jeremiah's day.


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