Punishment for Idolatry
Jeremiah 44:17-19 “We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.” “Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, without our husbands knowing it and helping us? Of course not!” Jeremiah 44:25 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!”
Jeremiah as depicted in the Sistine Chapel
Idolatry, or the worship of idols by God’s people, yes, even His chosen nation is a horrific sight in the LORD’s eyes. Worship of idols, images of men, women, children, animals, these are all detestable to God.
In these passages from Jeremiah, it shows how His people chose to disobey a loving God and exchange Him for carved images. They had the vain illusion that their idols were providing and caring for them. But as Jeremiah pointed out, God, in His loving mercy, chose to withhold His wrath and wait if His chosen people will turn from their wicked ways. That was the reason these people thought that it was alright to worship idols or other gods. The LORD was waiting upon them to realize how wrong they were. If you will read the passage, the people, especially the wives, completely disregarded Jeremiah’s warning.
God, in a sovereign act, even pleaded with the Israelites through His prophets that the Israelites would repent. No, they did not. They pointedly rebuked Jeremiah and acknowledged even with pride what they were doing. All because they thought their god, in this case, the Queen of heaven or Ashtroeth, was giving all that they need. A pitiful and shameful act.
Let us not be disillusioned that we are doing well even if we know that we are disobeying God and His word. It is important that we base all our actions based on Scripture. We need to read God’s word, the Bible, everyday. If we make a mistake, let us not be like these Israelites who were stubborn to do what they thought was right. We will not escape God’s fury much like these people. Who knows, God may just be waiting for you to change.