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"Some People Never Learn"
Jeremiah 44

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.

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.


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).


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 in Egypt.

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.

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