Jeremiah 44: Wrongfully Attributed
In Jeremiah 44, the people of Judah are already in trouble because they disobeyed the word of God and ran away to Egypt. Then, once they got there, they picked up idolatry with some of the Egyptian gods, and when Jeremiah called them out on it, here is how they responded:
Jer 44:16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
Jer 44:17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
Jer 44:18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
Jer 44:19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
Just for the sake of completeness, I give you Jeremiah’s response as well.
Jer 44:21 The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind?
Jer 44:22 So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.
Jer 44:23 Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.
The basic argument was that worshiping the idol worked before, so why should we stop? When we were doing it in Jerusalem, there were no consequences. In fact, everything seemed to be going well, so why not worship the goddess?
Jeremiah must have been mind-blown. The people were attributing the previous blessings to someone other than God, but where did the evidence point? The God of the Bible had been right about everything so far in regards to both the good and the bad. It was obvious that He knew what He was talking about when He spoke to Jeremiah. Wouldn’t that seem to imply that maybe He was the one in charge of everything, including the previous blessings, if every time He said something, it came to be?
I think that the biggest problem here was that the people were simply opposed to God as an explanation. We see that today in the natural sciences. It isn’t that there is a lack of evidence for the existence of some kind of intelligent designer behind the universe, but ideologically, many people are opposed to the supernatural by default. It is a presuppositional bias that obviously colors the way you interpret the results because you disqualify certain possibilities based on philosophy.
I hope that this never happens to us. I hope that we can recognize God for who He is and are not actively trying to attribute what He does to ourselves or anyone else.