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.
The Lord’s rage continues as Jeremiah tells us what will happen because of the sinfulness. It’s not a pretty picture. Did the people not think about the consequences to their actions? It’s hard to know what motivated the people to choose idols, mere images of foreign gods, over the one true God. We can look at people making similar choices today and wonder why, for instance, they chose to sleep in versus getting up for church.
That’s a simplistic example. I used to feel extremely guilty when I found myself too busy to spend quality time with God. I’m not sure I thought about what the consequences might be. Would God stop loving me? Would he let bad things happen to me? Would he stop fighting my battles?
Not every passage is going to be uplifting, but God’s word will speak to you. It’s important for us to understand the history of God’s people so we can learn from their mistakes. We may not want to think about all the wars and defeats they endured, but it gives us insight.
When we look at the patterns we’ve seen on our journey through the history books of the Bible, we soon see that no victories were won when Israel’s or Judah’s leaders were not following God. But when these rulers would reach out, even with a single prayer like Jehoahaz did in this reading, God acknowledged them. God loves his people. Any glimmer of obedience was rewarded.