Jeremiah chapter 44: It is your duty to help your partner live a godly life.
In this chapter, we read the most profound disobedience against God’s word. We open the chapter with Jeremiah bringing God’s word to the Jews that were living in different towns of Egypt (Migdol, Tahpanhes, Noph, and Pathros). God talked in anger to these people and wondered how they could forget the bad things that had just happened to their Judah and all its cities due to the idolatry and other sins! And we observe that these people had come to Egypt against God’s counsel and were already worshipping the sun and other gods in Egypt, the same sins that had provoked God into punishing Jerusalem with fire by the enemy Nebuchadnezzar. God had used prophets to stop them from sinning but they had not paid attention to His word up to the last hour (verses 1-11).
God vowed that as He had punished Judah, His own holy place, He would surely punish all the sinners in Egypt, the land of sinners. While they hoped to have a day when they would return to Judah and enjoy their original peace, none would make that return for the Lord would finish them off using wars, hunger and terrible diseases (verses 11-14). And as we have already noticed, God was always serious and I am sure they were aware of that.
The second part of today’s message contains the reply of the stubborn hearts of these lost Jews. Men, women and children stood up on their two legs and denied not their sins nor did they say that Jeremiah was lying like they had done in the previous chapters. They, instead, stood up and vowed to continue with their idolatry just as their kings, ancestors and fore fathers had done. They somehow pointed out how prosperity and peace had prevailed when they offered those incense to gods yet when King Josiah started the reformation, trouble had started to set in till when they lost everything in the times of King Zedekiah (verses 15-18). Verse 19 portrays a speech by women who excused their burning of incense and offering drinks to gods after being approved by their husbands. Some writers say that this might have been a men’s speech as well only trying to say how public their actions were for they did it all in presence of kings, rulers, princes and leaders of Jews (did we do it without our men or our leaders). Whatever group spoke these words, they were words of excuse. But do we escape God’s punishment when we obey our friends` deception than God’s word?
Verses 20-24 bear Jeremiah’s own words in reaction to what the people had presented. Jeremiah reminded them that the peace and prosperity they once had while they still practiced some kinds of idolatry had been just because God was patient with them. Indeed, the bible says that the Lord is patient with us waiting on our salvation. But time came and God could not take it any longer and He had Judah punished severely. This was a direct reply to their excuses for their sins. Jeremiah Went ahead and spoke God`s direct word into their ears. Just as they were determined and had vowed to go on with their practices, God also was determined to be against them. He would finish them off till there would be none to speak His name in such dirty mouths (verses 25-28). Yet a few would be spared as it is always. For whatever punishment or destruction on God’s people, there are always the remnants.
It said that even though the Jews were worshiping other gods, they would still use God’s name especially when making their oaths. So they would say, God lives, the sovereign God and other words of deity yet their hearts were totally different. God’s means of stopping this would either be finishing them off so that none remained to speak of His name or make them forget or both. As we all know Egypt is cleared of Jews so His word came true. Also another character of a sinner is that he gets worse as he sins more to the point of forgetting any godly thing or oath or manner.
Finally, the Lord offers the sign of His coming to their punishment. The then Pharaoh of Egypt would be handed over to his enemy just as Zedekiah was handed over to Nebuchadnezzar. Remember that Pharaoh Hophra is one who motivated the resistance of Judah to Babylonian rule. It is said that part of his army first revolted against him in a civil war and the weakness he harvested from this paved a way for his complete destruction by Babylon in the few years that followed (verses 29-30).
Our today’s focus is on verse 19, “Our husbands knew what we were doing. We had their permission…” We have already discussed that this was nothing but an excuse. However, we want to look at it from another angle and find a lesson. When God gives us families and friends, He intends us to be helped in becoming more sanctified. A woman is to a source of inspiration to her husband and the same should a husband be to his wife. It looks like here spouses were helping each other to find hell or sin more. Instead of helping each other to know more about God and his laws, these husbands had authorized their women to the incense and drinks to gods. This does not leave men behind; they participated and served in their own ways.
The lesson we are trying to draw is that everyone should be responsible for his or her partner when it comes to obeying the Lord. We should give advice to each other and pray for each other so that we grow more and more. Yeah, sometimes one of us is really not interested but authorizing his or her fall is more dangerous. It is clear these husbands were no better than their wives and again they authorized the actions of their women.
I can never end without inviting you to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior. Say this prayer with me: “Oh God, I am sorry I have wronged you. I now see you sent your only son to die for me so I can live forever in happiness. I am a sinner and I regret it all. Please, forgive me Jesus and receive me in your family as your child. Thank you for loving me. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen”. If you have prayed this prayer, we believe you have been saved. Find a true church near you and be part of it for your spiritual sharing and growth.
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