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AM Bible Study Archives
"Some People Never Learn"
Wednesday AM Bible Study
May 25, 2005
The rebellious people who aligned themselves to Johannan were now in Egypt.
They had disobeyed God with a high hand. And they took Jeremiah and Baruch
as captives to Egypt with them, along with others of the remnant in
Jerusalem. The people under Johannan had thought that they'd have a better
chance of returning to Jerusalem one day if they stayed under the security
of Egypt - better at least, they thought, than the captives in Babylon. But
it wasn't to be. They thought to do all this as a substitute for
repentance. And God promised to send the king of Babylon to capture even
the land of Egypt and to punish these rebellious ones anyway.
It was then that, in great mercy, God issues a warning call to the
rebellious Jews once again. But here, we learn a sad lesson in the
depravity of the human heart: Rebukes from God only exasperate the
desperately wicked. They don't lead them to repentance; but only to more
hardness of heart.
I. THE WORD FROM GOD: "HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN . . .?" (vv. 1-14).
A. The people couldn't get far from a word from God - especially when they
took God's prophet with them. His word came through Jeremiah to the people
living in the major cities of Egypt - where they thought they were safe and
secure (v. 1).
B. God calls them to remember what they and their fathers had done, and
how they were punished because of their wickedness (vv. 2-6).
C. God asks if, knowing all this, why they would now burn incense to other
gods in Egypt (vv. 7-10). God promises that He will punish them as He had
punished before (vv. 11-14). Only those who escape (possibly those who were
brought to Egypt against their will and who would not worship with the
idolators) would return to Jerusalem.
II. THE RESPONSE OF THE REBELS: "WE WILL NOT LISTEN . . .!" (vv. 15-19).
A. The wives, apparently, were the first in this sin of idolatry. Their
husbands said flatly that they would not listen to the word from the Lord.
They would keep their foolish vow to burn incense to the queen of heaven (a
fertility goddess, probably Ashtoreth). They insist that all their troubles
came about when they stopped doing so (vv. 15-18).
B. The wives said the same - offering as a defense that they had the
permission of their husbands to keep this vow (v. 19).
III. THE RESPONSE OF THE LORD (vv. 20-30):
A. God tells them the truth about their calamity (vv. 20-23). He tells
them that the calamity was because of their sin; and not because they failed
to burn incense to an idol. The burning of the incense, in fact, was the
demonstration of the condition of their hearts.
B. God gives them what they want (vv. 24-26). They would end up keeping
their vow. And the name of the Lord would no longer be mentioned among them
C. God turns them over to the king of Babylon - saving only a remnant (vv.
27-30). He was going to watch over them for adversity, and not for good.
They would all be consumed in Egypt and would not return to Judah. And
what's more, the Pharaoh would fall into the hands of his enemies - and thus
the Jews would lose their security in Egypt.
* * * * * * * * * * *
All of this illustrates the terrible truth that God's punishment to
hardened sinners is to remove His hand and give them what they want (Rom.
1:21-25). May God keep us far from hard-heartedness toward Him.