Day 175: Whatever It Takes

Jeremiah 44:11-18

“Therefore Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, even to cut off all Judah. I will take the remnant of Judah that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to live there, and they will all be consumed. They will fall in the land of Egypt. They will be consumed by the sword and by the famine. They will die, from the least even to the greatest, by the sword and by the famine. They will be an object of horror, an astonishment, a curse, and a reproach. For I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; so that none of the remnant of Judah, who have gone into the land of Egypt to live there, will escape or be left to return into the land of Judah, to which they have a desire to return to dwell there; for no one will return except those who will escape.’ ”

Then all the men who knew that their wives burned incense to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, even all the people who lived in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, “As for the word that you have spoken to us in Yahweh’s name, we will not listen to you. But we will certainly perform every word that has gone out of our mouth, to burn incense to the queen of the sky and to pour out drink offerings to 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 food, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of the sky, and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.”

So now it is obvious that these poor people who’s lives had been destroyed in Judah were really only interested in improving their own economy. Here, they openly rebel against God and choose to worship “the queen of the sky.” In the process of their rebellion, they actually admit that “we and our fathers, our kings and our princes” had worshiped this god “in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.” They were doing this when things were going well for them. They believed that when they stopped these practices, it caused things to get worse and worse, so they decided to reject God completely.

God does and will improve the economy of those who love Him, but the key is that we are supposed to love Him. If we love money and our own ability to make things happen, then we can expect our economy to be destroyed. Those who obey God and seek His will, will eventually see their economy improve, but it will only happen when God decides to do it.

Now it was Jeremiah’s word against the word of the people and notice that the issue was finances and security. The truth was finally out in the open for all to see. The people of Judah had decided to trust in their own ability to get wealth by serving gods of their own making, but God was calling them to trust in Him and His word and see His salvation. Rather than seeking God and trusting in Him, the people decided to do whatever had to be done in order to improve their standard of living Doesn’t this sound familiar?

Day 68: The Truth about the Economy

Jeremiah 14:1-9

This is Yahweh’s word that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought.
“Judah mourns,
and its gates languish.
They sit in black on the ground.
The cry of Jerusalem goes up.
Their nobles send their little ones to the waters.
They come to the cisterns,
and find no water.
They return with their vessels empty.
They are disappointed and confounded,
and cover their heads.
Because of the ground which is cracked,
because no rain has been in the land,
the plowmen are disappointed.
They cover their heads.
Yes, the doe in the field also calves and forsakes her young,
because there is no grass.
The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights.
They pant for air like jackals.
Their eyes fail,
because there is no vegetation.
Though our iniquities testify against us,
work for your name’s sake, Yahweh;
for our rebellions are many.
We have sinned against you.
You hope of Israel,
its Savior in the time of trouble,
why should you be as a foreigner in the land,
and as a wayfaring man who turns aside to stay for a night?
Why should you be like a scared man,
as a mighty man who can’t save?
Yet you, Yahweh, are in the middle of us,
and we are called by your name.
Don’t leave us.

In this passage, we hear a complaint by Jeremiah about the conditions in Jerusalem. We read that God had sent a famine that was so bad that even the wild animals were dying. Jeremiah calls on God. He confesses Israel’s sin, recognizes that God is Israel’s Savior and asks Him not to leave them. We read God’s response in the next section. This was a horrible day for Israel, but in this passage we learn some very important things that our generation needs to keep in mind.

Do you think that if you work hard you will have a good economy and everything you need? This passage demonstrates that this is not true. The fact is that God must give us rain. In fact, He must give us everything that we will need to get wealth. Yes, we must apply our labor as well, but if it weren’t for God’s gifts, our labors would result in nothing. That’s what happened to Israel at this point. No matter how hard they worked, they couldn’t find water. No matter how well they plowed the field, nothing would grow. They probably couldn’t even hunt wild animals because they were sick and dying. Yes we need to work, but more importantly, we must trust in God to give us the ability to work productively.

This passage also demonstrates for us that God will allow those He loves to suffer because of sin. God allowed Israel to suffer even though He loved them so much. God also loved the animals, but God will allow animals that are under the care of man to suffer because of man! I am sure God hates this, but He has allowed it to occur and I believe it just adds to the failure of man. We are the sinners in this world and the animals were to be our responsibility. Jeremiah knew that God loved these wild animals and it could be that He purposefully brought it up to God because he knew that God loved them as well. Even so, Israel had sinned and God had to deal with it.