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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Jeremiah 2

Verses 1-37

Trimming

Jeremiah 2:33

What is trimming? It is the holding of a middle course or position between parties, so as to appear to favour each. The Jews trimmed between God and the idols. And the just God who loathes all that is not straight and upright shakes their equivocal souls with this stormy interrogatory, 'Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love?'

I. Expressions of Trimming. We often find trimming expresses itself in speech. Quite as often it shows itself in conduct Policy is the regulating principle of some men's action. They act with a view to universal conciliation. They would establish themselves upon the basis, always most insecure, of general approval. Silence is quite commonly the result of trimming. The trimmer knows well the value of taciturnity: but he prostitutes it into a vice.

Every sphere of life unhappily has those who trim their way to seek love. The religious trimmer is worst of all.

II. The Motive of Trimming. The motive which actuates a trimmer is here succinctly and accurately described. It is 'to seek love' to win favour, to gain commendation, to stand well with everybody.

III. The Folly of Trimming. This system cannot permanently attain the end it seeks. No 'love' worth having can be thus won. A trimmer is soon discovered, and his judgment does not linger. Contempt becomes his portion.

Moreover trimming destroys our individual testimony. It makes us echoes of other voices, but prevents us being voices ourselves. We bear no personal witness if we thus trim our way.

This mean habit also hinders the prevalence of truth.

And what an evil influence the trimmer has upon others! Hear how God impeaches him in the words which ensue upon my text; 'therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways'. Trimming is infectious: all evil is.

When we understand that the trimmer will be condemned at the judgment-seat of God, we are indeed convinced of the folly he works. Truth alone will stand the scrutiny of the 'Bar severe'.

IV. The Cure of Trimming. As the previous verse (v. 32) shows, it is forgetting God which leads to this trimming of our way. If we walk before Him we can never grieve Him by such folly.

Would we avoid this paltry habit we must seek depth of conviction.

To recall the examples of the heroic saints who scorned to trim their way is another means of health and cure in this regard.

The example of our Lord is the grand deterrent from this evil. He died upon the cross because He would not by trimming His way seek love. When we are tempted to be trimmers let us remember our Saviour's bright example and pursue it.

Dinsdale T. Young, The Travels of the Heart, p. 237.

References. II. 36. W. G. Rutherford, The Key of Knowledge, p. 30. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. lii. No. 3007. III. 1-23. Ibid. vol. xlii. No. 2452.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 2". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/jeremiah-2.html. 1910.