Ok so I shared yesterday that I have been studying through Jeremiah. Well, yesterday’s reading really, really hit home. It always amazes me when I read the Bible how appropriate it is to understand it as the Living Word. Because it surely does live and breath along life’s path with us. I know I have read Jeremiah a few times, I am sure we studied it in seminary and translated much of it from Hebrew. But, I have don’t remember Chapter 44 being so rich and direct about marriage.
15 Then all the men who were aware that their wives were burning sacrifices to other gods, along with all the women who were standing by, as a large assembly, including all the people who were living in Pathros in the land of Egypt, responded to Jeremiah, saying, 16 “As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! 17 But rather we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths, by burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, just as we ourselves, our forefathers, our kings and our princes did in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food and were well off and saw no misfortune. 18 But since we stopped burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have met our end by the sword and by famine.” 19 “And,” said the women, “when we were burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and were pouring out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands that we made for her sacrificial cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her?”
Husbands and Wives Respond
So as we discussed yesterday, God promises to cut the Israelites off because they had followed after other gods. It is a story line that is developing all the way through Jeremiah’s prophecy. But lets look specifically how the husbands and wives respond to God’s declaration through Jeremiah.
All of the husbands that knew their wives were among those worshipping false gods, determined they were not going to listen to Jeremiah’s warnings about God. Instead, they chose to worship the “queen of heaven”. In their minds when they worshipped the queen of heaven, things went well for them. On the other hand, the wives response was that when they were worshipping the queen of heaven their husbands approved of it – so it was cool.
To me it paints a picture of husbands and wives that were more interested in keeping each other happy than satisfying their relationship with God. The husbands compromised their relationship with God to justify their wives idolatry and keep a happy home. The wives, then figured that if their husbands were not upset then it was ok. As they both compromised their relationship with God for acceptance by their husband or wife they became deluded in their understanding of the true source of their blessings. I have to do some more research about the queen of heaven in their understanding…But surely, it was the God of Heaven that had provided, protected and cared for them.
There is so much more that could be unraveled here, but I think just in what we see here there is plenty to reflect on. Compromise leads to a skewed sense of God’s work in our lives…
Spend some time thinking on that today: Do we compromise our relationship with God to keep harmony in our homes? Is that peace found in the thought that a happy wife equates to a happy life, leading us to compromise our relationship with God?