This thing commanded I them - Obey my voice - It was not sacrifices and oblations which I required of your fathers in the wilderness, but obedience; it was to walk in that way of righteousness which I have commanded; then I should have acknowledged them for my people, and I should have been their God, and then it would have been well with them. But to my commands,
4. They went backward and not forward. Instead of becoming more wise, obedient, and holy, they grew more corrupt; so that they became more profligate than their fathers.
Obey - These words are not found verbatim in the Pentateuch, but are a sum mary of its principles. Sacrifice is never the final cause of the covenant, but always obedience (Exodus 19:5-6; Leviticus 11:45. Compare Amos 5:25 (taken in conjunction with Joshua 5:2-7) proves that the ceremonial law was not observed during the 40 years‘ wandering in the wilderness. A thing so long in abeyance in the very time of its founder, could not be of primary importance.
The nearer the Christian lives to God, the more he advances in divine illumination of mind. He has more distinct sense of his own littleness, discerns his defects of character, and sees his duty in the light in which God presents it. The more closely he draws to Jesus, the more he has a near and clear sense of his own defects which had before escaped his notice, and he sees the necessity of humbling himself under the mighty hand of God. If lifted up it will not be because he lifts and exalts himself, but because the Lord exalts him. Having his eye fixed upon the purity and perfection of Christ Jesus, and acknowledging and obeying God in all his ways, he is not blinded to his own failures and imperfections. When his deportment in the eyes of men is unblamable and irreprovable, God reads the intents and purposes of the heart. TDG 16.3Read in context »
Thus it was that “in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem” the message of Jeremiah to Judah was, “Hear ye the words of this covenant,”—the plain precepts of Jehovah as recorded in the Sacred Scriptures,—“and do them.” Jeremiah 11:6. And this is the message he proclaimed as he stood in the temple courts in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim. PK 414.1
Israel's experience from the days of the Exodus was briefly reviewed. God's covenant with them had been, “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.” Shamelessly and repeatedly had this covenant been broken. The chosen nation had “walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:23, 24. PK 414.2
“Why,” the Lord inquired, “is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding?” Jeremiah 8:5. In the language of the prophet it was because they had obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God and had refused to be corrected. See Jeremiah 5:3. “Truth is perished,” he mourned, “and is cut off from their mouth.” “The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the judgment of the Lord.” “Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” Jeremiah 7:28; 8:7; Jeremiah 9:9. PK 414.3Read in context »