What use to Me is frankincense from Sheba or sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please Me.” (Jeremiah 6:20, HCSB)

The people of Judah at the time of Jeremiah come in for severe condemnation from God through Jeremiah.  They still have the forms of religion, they are offering sacrifices and burnt offerings, but their hearts are divided between Yahweh and other gods.  They even buy expensive frankincense and sweet calamus [a plant with scented leaves] to offer up, but God has no place for outward devotion without inward commitment.  Devotion to Yahweh is demonstrated in trust and obedience, not in burnt offerings and sacrifices, be they ever so expensive.

The South Asia Commentary writes here:

Our churches in South Asia can learn a great deal from this passage. We may be very careful to execute all rites and rituals perfectly so as to pre-empt obstacles. But ironically, these empty rituals bring on obstacles! What matters more to God is that we are obedient to his word. If that is not of paramount importance in our lives, then we are on the same godless path as the people of Judah.

 

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