Jeremiah 44-45

We Will Do Whatever We Want.

“We will not listen to your messages from the Lord! We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like — just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles!” ­– Jeremiah 44:16-17 NLT

Talk about stubborn. A rag-tag remnant of people from the nation of Judah have run away to Egypt to hide from the wrath of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Jeremiah the prophet has gone with them and delivers a message from God regarding their continuing idol worship. Here they are, living in exile in the land of Egypt, and God has to warn them yet again that He is about to destroy them because they are STILL worshiping idols instead of Him. They may have survived destruction in Judah, and think that they’ve escaped with their lives, but God assures them that they will suffer the same fate as before. “For not one of you will survive – not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms” (Jeremiah 44:7b NLT). But wait, there’s more. God continues, “I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease” (Jeremiah 44:13 NLT). In other words, they could run, but they couldn’t hide. And their response? “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord! We will do whatever we want! (Jeremiah 44:16 NLT). They were going to keep on doing what they were doing, regardless of what God had to say about it. And this wasn’t something new. They admit that they had been worshiping idols all along – even when they were back in Judah. Why? Because from their perspective, they were better off when they were worshiping idols instead of God. They truly believed that it was when they stopped worshiping idols that everything began to fall apart for them. But God let’s them know that it was their idolatry that was the source of all their troubles. He had finally had enough and had brought judgment on them. That was why Judah had fallen, Jerusalem had been captured, the Temple  had been destroyed and their friends and family members were living as captives in Babylon.

Every prophecy that Jeremiah had made had been fulfilled. Every threat of judgment God had given had come about. Yet they still refused to listen and obey Him. They continued to turn to other gods for hope, healing and deliverance. More than likely they were praying and offering incense to Ashtoreth, the goddess of love and fertility. In the midst of all their sorrow and suffering, they had found comfort in a pagan goddess of sexuality. This “Queen of Heaven” had replaced the God of Heaven, and the attributed to her any and all blessings they had enjoyed. But God was going to set things right. This goddess of fertility and love was not going to protect them from the wrath of God. He would bring on them war, not love, and famine, not fertility. God was going to do to the Queen of Heaven what He had done to the gods of Egypt. He would take their god on head-on and reveal it for what it was – worthless, powerless and lifeless. He alone is God. He alone can save. He alone should be worshiped and obeyed.

Father, You are constantly destroying the idols in our lives. You reveal them for what they are – weak and worthless replacements for You. Open our eyes to see just how many we have in our lives and to turn from them and back to You – the only true God. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

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