Idolatry and worshiping works of ones own hands seem to go together. Now days, it can be said that we no longer have other gods by name, that we don't see idolatry like this anymore. Rather, where there is the worship of the work of ones own hands there is likely idolatry. Logic today has been twisted, that we all could worship the same God just in different ways. We know however how Jehovah looks upon this twisted belief, it being another god just as vile as Baal or Malack. This is part of what makes Jehovah so despised amongst these so called worshipers. These are not the worshipers of Jehovah. How can they be the worshipers of the one true God?
At least in Jeremiah's case he was chosen out before he was even formed in the womb. In this case chosen to be a prophet. And he became a prophet at a very early age with great impact and miraculous confirmations. How much further amongst us does this extend? We are not told directly here. Are we chosen before the womb? This argument is used pro and con in the abortion debate. The suggestion that a mother's rights trump God's (even if not pre-selected in every conception, merely rather on the possibility) should cause alarm. Only the hardened soul can completely wipe this fact off the board without at least some resemblance of consideration. Then there is the consideration that even if not chosen, even if not chosen to be a prophet or great historical figure, God saw fit for that conception to occur.
Is it not in God to have feelings as well? We go about as if we are the only ones that feel violated and forgotten and grieved and spoiled. Is it that He is unaffected by what we say and do or is it that it just doesn't matter to us? Is it even in our way to direct our own steps? We demand of Him to be righteous enough not to be affected by these things that we do, to be above it all, but not of Him to be righteous enough to actually do something about all of this.
It all sounded well and fine at the time. God promises all of this and all they had to do is simply obey. They did not though in that day nor did they in Jeremiah's. No where along the way did they, they could not. This is the nature of sin. Despite all the good intentions from both parties the sin nature will not do that which is in the best interest. It always works against that thinking that it alone is in the right/has it's best interest at heart. It may not always be a conscious decision as well but, more as an impulse of the flesh that is intellectually justified after the fact. The purpose of God's dealings are to prove to us this nature so that the necessity and redemption of His Son's blood may be depended upon.
The chief complaint seem to be of the worship of false gods. From that branch out a multitude of other whoredoms and transgressions. As God has amplified Israel/Judah that all the nations of all the times might watch and hear of His dealings, such a nation as this called by His name and home of His tabernacle hear on Earth cannot be allowed to much leeway. Double measure blessings. Double measure curse and reproof. Today, we should know well the Lord's feeling towards other gods and false worship, but instead we seem to glory in it.
The Lord promises that He will do all this but, it will not be without purpose, they will be brought back into their inheritance for one more test. Should they not pass that final test, He will utterly pluck the nation out of the land. He did just that. For nearly two thousand years Israel had been plucked/scattered and destroyed. Even the land itself largely became a desolate place. So when He had said 'But if they will not obey...' we could have guessed what their response was when they came back from this first testing was going to be.
The antidote for national pride is national shame. In shame the false reasonings and consequences cannot be ignored. The base of wicked's power is broken up and the people are forced into a moment of thinking for themselves. People will reflect upon the words of these many prophets. How can transgression be explained away when the case against them is so well presented beforehand?
If one were to listen to the many prophets of that day one would think everything to be all right. A prophet like Jeremiah would stand out because he would be contrary. The people tend to pick and choose their prophets based upon what serves them best. One wold think that God works in numbers, so if the majority of prophets all said one thing that this would likely be the word of God. Most generally this could not be further from the truth.
Remember again why this has come about. This is not just the Lord being mean. He has given them plenty of opportunity which they have in no way ceased. There is idolatry in the temple, there is a lack of any judgment toward the needy and oppressed, they have hired themselves their own prophets, there is insolence and hardness of heart towards God and they will not turn from it. He has proven Himself to be patient for their return yet they have not. How does one deal with such a people to turn them without such stunning and obvious force?
It is not that the Lord would have to perform this evil, He would have to simply remove His good. Think of how much good He has over our lives and what it would mean if those particular things were no longer there. Think about Judah then which has received these things in double measure.
Whose heart is deceitful above all things? Did He qualify or pin point certain hearts? Move this forward to the time Jesus Himself stood upon this earth with a crowd gathered round Him. Was their any in the gathering not of a deceitful heart? Those that wanted Him killed in God's name? Those who followed just for the free fish? The hypocritical zealots? Even the disciples arguing over who will be the greatest? Whose heart is deceitful above all things? The heart...Our hearts!
Instead of turning to the Lord they intend to take it out on Jeremiah. This is how the evil imaginations of the heart work. Will the message go away? Will God not raise up a hundred more prophets just like him? What can be hoped to be gained if this is indeed the word from God? This is the problem, there is no word of God so thinks the heart. The word of God is whatever we want it to be. God is intending to judge them, they are intending to judge God.
The sight of Jeremiah breaking the ancient potters vessel at the east gate should burn in the hearts of Judah even to this day. The words he then proclaimed echoed true. Unfortunately, they still did not listen, whatever they had thought to gain from worshiping Baal was more convincing than loosing it all, being captive, and becoming so desperate as to eat their own children. Was it really?
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