Thursday, May 24, 2018

Yahweh sent the prophet Jeremiah to the children of Judah in Egypt to say, “Why are you now doing such great harm to yourselves by continuing to worship other gods?” (Jeremiah 44:7).  God told them that if they continued their idolatry, the following would happen.

1). They would cut themselves off “from the mainstream of Judah” (v.7).

2). They would be responsible for their own destruction (v.8).

3). Other nations will speak evil of and make fun of them (v.8).

4). It will show that they have not learned their lesson (vv.9-10).

God warned them that if they continued in their idolatry, He would punish them with death from war, starvation, or a terrible disease.  Yet, their reply to Jeremiah was, “We will not listen to you!  We promised to make sacrifices to the Queen Goddess!  And, we will do everything we promised. . .to worship her!” (vv.16-17).

Their argument was, when they worshiped the Egyptian goddess, 1) they were successful and 2) nothing bad happened to them.  When they stopped worshiping her, “Since then, we’ve had nothing but problems.” (V.18).  Their problems were wars, starvation, and disease.  Jeremiah told them their idolatry was responsible for their problems, not Yahweh.  He stated, “That is why this current disaster has happened to you people!” (23).

When bad things happen, folks usually blame God.  Some need God as a scapegoat when their bad decisions disrupt their lives!  They refuse to take responsibility for their own actions.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.  Rather than admit that we live in a broken world and some sorrow may interrupt our lives, blame is placed upon God’s shoulders because He should have stopped it.  Since He didn’t, it is His fault.  The Jews in Egypt were given a choice to stay in Palestine until things got better.  Better was too hard to wait on!  So, they went to Egypt seeking peace and safety.  They found out that it wasn’t there.  They thought their misfortune was caused by turning away from the Egyptian goddess, so they returned to idolatry to regain that lost happiness.  Why worship Yahweh?  He allowed the cities and towns to be destroyed?  It was easier to blame God than to acknowledge their faults.

Yahweh also informed Jeremiah to remind his scribe, Baruch that although he was moaning, “Woe is me,” life isn’t always as rosy as one would like.   Neither he nor Jeremiah had an easy life, but God promised to protect both men’s life.  When bad things happened to the righteous, it isn’t because God is punishing them, it is because they are living in a broken world where things aren’t always beautiful.  Grief and misery aren’t experienced because a righteous person isn’t faithful.  Jeremiah was faithful for fifty years despite multiple problems, rejection and death threats from kings, priests, and false prophets!

The books of Jeremiah and Daniel point out how righteous individuals suffer when a society’s majority decides to reject God.  The feet of righteous Jews developed blisters on them when they were march from Palestine to Babylon.  Daniel, Mordecai, and Esther’s faith were tested over and over.  Not every righteous believer lived to see a victorious conclusion.  Neither Daniel, Mordecai, Esther, nor the three who refused to bow their knees, saw the promise land again.

We are all presented with choices.  The biggest choice we make is where we want to spend eternity.  If we want to spend it with Yahweh, we must seek His plan for mankind.  That plan is given in the New Testament and its name is Jesus!