A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
Truth is Only in God’s Word not People’s Interpretations Jeremiah 44 SCC 7/30/17
REFUSING TO HEAR GOD OUT SURFACES A REBELLIOUS NATURE
Verse 1-3 The Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time in Egypt with a message to all the Jews living in the land of Egypt v 1. Other Jews had migrated to Egypt earlier to escape the Babylonians. The Lord gave Jeremiah another message for all of them. God reminded His chosen people that He had brought calamity on them, and that the land lay in ruins v 2. He had done this because of their wickedness to burn sacrifices and to serve other gods v 3.
PT: Notice at least ten times it says they ‘burned/were burning sacrifices’ to other gods. This was an act of devotion to these gods that competed with the devotion for their God. So, we have an example of how people like to hang onto their sin—even be devoted to it—even though it is exactly what God has said they should not do! Its this competition that irks God so much about his people. Why be devoted to that which only destroys and ignore God and His counsel which bring life? Yet we do it all of the time. The problem is there are consequences that go along with that choice. Check your devotion to Christ.
Verse 4-6 This destruction had come after the Lord had sent His servants—the prophets—repeatedly, to warn the people that He hated what they were doing v 4. Yet they did not listen and repent; they continued sacrificing to pagan god’s v 5. Their failure to repent was the cause of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem v 6 I sent you all My servants the prophets, again and again, saying, Oh, do not do this abominable thing which I hate. But they did not listen.
Verse 7-8 The Lord asked why, then, His people continued to practice idolatry in Egypt doing great harm to yourselves leaving yourselves without remnant v 7. If they continued to practice idolatry, the Lord would cut them off completely and would make them an object of ridicule v 8.
Verse 9-10 He asked if they have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers...of all the people in Judah v 9: their ancestors, the kings and their wives, and themselves and their wives. They had failed to feel contrite or to repent even to the present day v 10. They had not feared God or obeyed His covenant but they have not become contrite ... nor have they walked in My law.
THIS REBELLIOUS NATURE COMPETES WITH GOD AS TO WHATS RIGHT
Verse 11-12 God announced His opposition, set my face against you, cut off, I will take away, to His people that had fled to Egypt v 11. All these fleeing Jews would die by war or by famine, and would become illustrations for the other nations of what it means to be cursed both the powerful and the poor v 12.
Verse 13-14 The Lord would punish His people in Egypt, as He had punished them in Judah, with: warfare, starvation, and disease v 13. All but a few refugees, of the remnant who had fled (not earlier ones as permanent home) to Egypt to live there temporarily would die in Egypt and I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt... none will return except a few refugee’s v 14.
Application: Does God’s law change when you move to another location? I don’t think so!!! What about the poor people in the foreign land who have never heard? Does that change God’s law that no one can come to the Father except through Jesus and Jesus alone (John 14:6)? If God’s law is true, then it is true absolutely—for every person, in every place, and at all times.
Verse 15-16 The men were aware that the women were burning sacrifices to other gods and did nothing to stop them all the men who were aware that their wives were burning sacrifices v 15.
PT: When those closest to you continue to let you sin, they don’t love you. A Christian parent may accept an adult child’s behavior in order to “keep the relationship,” even though the behavior is contrary to the Word of God, such as homosexuality or fornication.
This bunch also refused to listen to Jeremiah as for the message that you have spoken to us of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you v 16!
PT: Previously, they accused Jeremiah of telling a lie 43:2 for telling them the truth. Now they confess unwillingness to listen to Jeremiahs warning. In fact, they know better than he what to do. That’s the essence of a rebellious spirit. I won’t listen. I will do my own thing instead!
Verse 17-18 They intended to continue to worship the Queen of Heaven because back then they had plenty of food and life pleasant v 17. After they had stopped they experienced shortages, and many of them had died in war and famine v 18 challenging Gods ultimate sovereignty but since we stopped burning sacrifice to the queen of heaven…we have lacked everything. So the people blamed their difficulties on their failure to continue these pagan rituals.
Verse 19 And, said the women, when we were burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven ...was it without our husbands? The women had carried on these idolatrous worship practices with their husbands’ full knowledge and approval. The women seem to have meant that since their husbands approved of their actions why should Jeremiah object? They concluded that they were punishments from the idols for forsaking them. An ironic twist of the truth.
Application: As in the time of the Judges, when everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Jug 21:25) and Romans 1:25 for they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and 1 Timothy 4:3-4, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires so the women seemed to believe if the husbands approved of it, that made it right to do. Today we have the same thinking that if elders or a particular teacher or pastor says something is right, then it is right in God’s sight. Truth is only in God’s Word, not in peoples’ words!
COMPETING WITH GOD WILL ONLY RESULT IN PERSONAL CALAMITY
Verse 20-23 Jeremiah says their conclusion is wrong. They thought disaster came when they did not sacrifice to the idols. Jeremiah says disaster came because they did sacrifice to the idols. What they and their forefathers had done had not escaped Gods notice the Lord was no longer able to endure it, because of the evil of your deeds v 20-22. Their calamity was because you have burned sacrifices and have sinned against the Lord and not obeyed the voice of the v 23.
Application: Events do not come with interpretations. They brought the wrong interpretation to their situation. They and God thought the exact opposite of their situation. We must make judgments based on the Word of God. The temptation is to justify our reasons for not doing that.
Verse 24-27 God told the people, go ahead and confirm your vows, and certainly perform your vows v 24-25 but understand, there are consequences, they would not be able to invoke the Lord's name as their highest authority as a nation v 26. God is watching over them for harm and not for good… until they are completely gone v 27. They would all die.
Verse 28 Only a few of the Judean remnant living in Egypt would survive. The Lord's people will know whose word will stand, Mine or theirs. They had said that if they worshipped the Queen of Heaven, they would prosper, but He had said they would perish.
Application: When unbelievers have met their end, then they’ll know whose word will stand God’s or theirs as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’ So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom 14:10-12).
Verses 29-30: The Lord promised His people a sign to confirm that what He had said would happen—would happen v 29. Pharaoh Hophra would experience a fate as that of King Zedekiah v 30. This was the Pharaoh who had promised support to Zedekiah but was turned back by Nebuchadnezzar. The fulfillment would prove that God is against the idolatrous Jews in Egypt.
Application: A sign is good if we know the correct interpretation of the sign. Jesus said, an evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign (Matt 12:39). Why? Signs need interpretation. The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, we want to see a sign from You, even though Jesus had been doing all kinds of miracles. They did not see those things as signs He was God. They misinterpreted the signs.
1. Direct defiance against God underscores the inevitable judgment that will fall upon those refusing to acknowledge and support the way of the Lord.
2. This serves as a final, strong warning against the practice of idolatry. Idolatry is creating an image of God to my own liking and agreeing that this is reality.
3. Ultimately, God knows what he means and if we get that wrong, it is to our own personal and spiritual peril. Disagreeing with God that leads to rebellion against God, changing what God means is the sin of the age because it is the spirit of the age.