The women said, “When we burned incense to the queen of the sky and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her, without our husbands?”
Then Jeremiah said to all the people—to the men and to the women, even to all the people who had given him an answer, saying, “The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, didn’t Yahweh remember them, and didn’t it come into his mind? Thus Yahweh could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you have committed. Therefore your land has become a desolation, an astonishment, and a curse, without inhabitant, as it is today. Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against Yahweh, and have not obeyed Yahweh’s voice, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil has happened to you, as it is today.”
When we decide to question God’s word, we put ourselves in serious danger. It’s important for us to understand the basis for good and bad reasoning. Good reasoning is based on fact, but if we choose to reason without believing in what God says, our reasoning is unhinged from reality. That’s because a mere human can’t be certain about anything. We make mistakes and we are often dishonest. We also may not know all of the facts that we should know in order to make a good decision. These things make our own understanding of the facts unreliable. Judah had rejected the word of God and decided to start reasoning without first accepting God’s facts. Hopeless confusion and destruction was now all that was left for them.
These people had convinced themselves that the queen of heaven was more likely to give them well being than God was because they perceived that whenever they worshiped her, their lives were better. God tried to remind them that the reason the their lives were worse was because He had seen them worshiping her and punished them in response to that. It would appear that the people’s ears were already closed to Jeremiah at this point, though. I would think that what Jeremiah was saying would be critical information to them. You would think that the fact that things got bad only after God was upset with them would change their minds, but because their hearts and minds were unwilling to even listen, they could no longer find their way back to the facts. They had lost hold of reality and had no way back. When we cut off the truth, how can we ever get back to it? All we have left, is to trust in our own assumptions about what is real and as we see here, our own thinking will lead to our destruction.
When I consider what happened to these people, it reminds me of a couple of important things for us to remember today. One is that we would all be lost and without hope had God not caused us to listen to His word and given us an opportunity to see things in a new light. We were all trapped in our own assumptions, but God, by His Holy Spirit, interrupted our assumptions and told us the truth in a way that we were able to understand. It’s important for us to remember that it was God who saved us from the prison of bad thinking that we used to live in. The other important thing to remember is that we could get lost again. If we decide to doubt God and trust in our own ideas instead, we will find ourselves in need of saving again. I don’t mean that we lose our salvation, but God may have to go out searching for us when we wander off. Thankfully, God won’t leave us and will bring us back to a place of faith again.