Jeremiah 7:19 “But am I the one they are provoking? declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?”
This whole passage is very interesting. Verse 16 is the rather infamous command to Jeremiah not to pray for the people of Judah. Jeremiah received that command twice, here and in 11:14. God seldom gives such a command, but these were very special circumstances. It is also remarkable to me that the specific idolatry listed here is worship of “the Queen of Heaven,” when that is one of the titles the Catholics use for Mary! This was in all probability the fertility goddess called Asherah. It’s very ironic that her idol was a pole, a phallic symbol! I know that official Catholic doctrine is that Mary is never to be worshiped, but only “highly venerated,” but titles such as this are dangerous to say the very least. All of that brings us to this verse, which to me straightens out my thinking about all the times of judgment on the descendants of Abraham. God is here saying, very clearly, that the people were doing this to themselves. We come back to the reality that every one of God’s commands is for our good, not His. It’s really no skin off of His nose if we obey Him or not, but the consequences to us are huge. Any parent will tell you that it grieves them to see their children do things that bring harm on themselves. God is exactly the same way. God told Jeremiah not to pray for the people because He knew they would have to taste the full consequences of their actions before they would learn their lesson and stop doing them. Bill Whittle and others are saying the same thing about some of the socialist policies that are being attempted in the US today: people will have to taste the consequences before they will understand how stupid and wrong they are.
God has occasionally let me taste the consequences of my actions, but in general He has been incredibly gracious. I have certainly had no valid excuses for any of my sins! I have known for a long time that all of God’s commands were for my good, but I’ve still been stupid enough at times to listen to the very persuasive liar who is out to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) Recognizing my own weakness, I am to be gracious toward those around me, but never fail to speak the truth in love. Failing to warn people when they are headed for destruction is hardly loving! I certainly hope that I am never told to stop praying (by God anyway) for people.
Father, thank You for this Word. Thank You for the Bible as a record of how You have dealt with Your children down through the centuries. It really feels like things are drawing to a culmination. May I be sensitive and obedient to You for however You want to use me, whether these are indeed the Last Days or not, so that Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!