Jeremiah 44:1-30 – Have it Your Way

Read Jeremiah 44:1-30

stairway in black & white appearing to go into the sky

God loves these people despite the fact they turn on him so blatantly! I feel sorry for Jeremiah being caught up in the flight from Judah to Egypt. I keep hoping that he is one of the ones who’ll get away and be able to return to Judah, escaping the death and suffering his people will encounter because of their choice to continue with the idols.

What were these people thinking? What was it about idol worship that was so attractive? Maybe it was easy and helped them “fit in” with their neighbors. How could they disrespect God on purpose? Can you sense Jeremiah’s own hostility toward his fellow Judeans? This will be Jeremiah’s last address to the rebellious Jews in Egypt.

Sadly, as I contemplated on what these willful people were doing to ignore God, I couldn’t help but think of the hoards of people still today who choose something else over God. I have been guilty of that, too. Happiness that comes from focusing on other things — such as attaining success, our jobs, our sports teams, our video games, or even our ministries — is dim compared to the joy we receive from God.

If you’ve never experienced that joy, you don’t know what you’re missing. There are so many people who haven’t felt the unexplainable peace God bestows on those who believe in him. I want everyone to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit empowering them. Psalm 62:5-6 says, “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.”

In our reading today, the people assumed their joy and success came from their idols. “For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.” If the people had no respect for God in the first place, they certainly wouldn’t pay attention to Jeremiah’s messages.

We are each given a life to live. While God desires for us to live for him, not everybody cares about what God wants. 1 John 2:17 powerfully proclaims, “And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”

God gave us the freedom to choose the way we live and who we listen to. God never forces us into obedience. However, he is clear about what angers him in these messages he’s given Jeremiah. He is angry with the choices his people are making. They have rejected him.

Have you turned away from God? Are you feeling like your faith is a bit stale? Think about what motivates you to take action. Is God in your story? You can feel spiritually fit and empowered when the Holy Spirit’s fire is burning bright inside you. I don’t want to have it my way; I want it to be God’s way!

Will you be like the Judeans and seek your own way which ends in despair? Or will you cling to the hope we have in Christ? Isaiah 40:31 says so beautifully, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

colorful animation of prayer hands and hearts and flowers

Let’s pray … Lord, forgive me for those times that I focus more on things of the world than on you. True peace and joy can be found only as I seek you and your will for my life. I cherish each moment I can spend with you. Guide my steps today and open my mouth to share about your goodness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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