Are we REFUSING to HEAR GOD because of our SECRET SINS?
August 21 Bible Reading: Jeremiah Chapters 43-45
“Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying: ‘As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you!’” (Jer. 44:15-16)
The events that occurred before, during, and after Jerusalem’s fall to Babylon are detailed in a chronological order in the chapters 37–45. Chapter 44 is the last record that Bible scholars have of the prophet Jeremiah in Egypt, and many believe that the prophet died in Egypt. In this chapter, Jeremiah reminded the Jews who were living in Egypt that their calamity and suffering came into their lives since they had resorted to idolatry, and they were still worshiping false gods in Egypt. As a punishment from God, they would be utterly destroyed, and except a few refugees none would return to the land of Judah (44:28).
It is interesting to note that the Jews did not deny that Jeremiah has spoken the word of the Lord (v. 16), but because of their sin of idolatry and their zealous determination to align themselves with the “queen of heaven” (v. 17); they were quick to distance themselves from Jehovah God. In other words, the Israelites openly declared themselves independent and self-sufficient apart from Jehovah God. Their wives also made it clear that they not only requested but also received the full consent and cooperation of their husbands (v. 19) in engaging in their idolatrous worship. This was a practice that began during the time of King Solomon, and the prophet Jeremiah strongly castigated the women for enticing their husbands into idolatry.
When they heard these strong accusations from the prophet Jeremiah, the Jews countered his words with an argument from their experience, as they were convinced that they were trouble free and had plenty of food when they worshipped the goddess Ishtar, the queen of heaven. This was a goddess of war and fertility who was worshiped with explicit sexual activity. The people reasoned that when they stopped worshiping the queen of heaven during the days of King Josiah’s reform, their king was killed and their land was overrun and destroyed. Thus, the people refused to listen to Jeremiah, claiming that they prospered more when they served the queen of heaven (v. 17). In fact, the people refused to listen to God because of their gross idolatry!
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the ‘Light of this world’, had the similar experience of the prophet Jeremiah: "(Jesus) was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:9-11). The reason why the Jews did not receive their long-awaited Messiah is given by Apostle John: "And this is the condemnation that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." (John 3:19-21)