Burning Sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven

Burning Sacrifices to the Queen of HeavenText: Jeremiah 44:15-18

Jeremiah repeatedly condemned the people of Judah for their sin – idolatry in particular. This particular false god was identified as the “queen of heaven.” They did not refute the charge of idolatry; they just refused to listen or acknowledge the negative consequences of their behavior. Those who are caught up in false religions today do the same thing. In their error, they refuse to accept certain things.

They Refused to Accept…

The Possibility That Jeremiah Might Be Right

  • As for the message that you have spoken to us…we are not going to listen to you!” (v. 16)
  • Jeremiah was the spokesman for God (Jeremiah 1:4-9) – of course, there were false prophets; if Jeremiah was prophesying falsely, they could have tested him and exposed him (Deuteronomy 18:22); but they were not interested in doing this; they just refused to listen
  • Whoever speaks what is true is right (simple concept) – God’s word is true (John 17:17); we must test teachings according to the word (1 John 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22); many ignore the possibility that one might be right because they are unwilling to check (Acts 17:11)

The Possibility That They Might Be Wrong

  • We will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths…” (v. 17)
  • They were only interested in doing what they said they would do – on one hand, keeping one’s word is good (Matthew 5:37), provided that the promised action is right; if not, it is better to repent and do what is right than to remain consistent in error (Acts 23:1; 26:19-20)
  • We must be willing to admit the possibility that we can be wrong – this takes honesty (Luke 8:15) and humility (James 1:21)

The Possibility That Long-Held Practices Might Be Wrong

  • Burning sacrifices…just as we ourselves, our forefathers, our kings and our princes did…” (v. 17)
  • What is right is not determined by how long a practice has endured or who practices/practiced it – keeping man-made traditions invalidates the word of God (Matthew 15:6)
  • It is good to hold onto those things which are right (2 Thessalonians 2:15) – but we must reject those things which are wrong, no matter who had accepted them in the past

God for Who He Is – The Only True, Living God

  • Burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven” (v. 17)
  • The “queen of heaven” was a fictional character – yet they served her instead of God; the Lord is the only true, living God (Jeremiah 10:10); therefore, He is the only one worthy of worship
  • We must guard ourselves from idolatry (1 John 5:21) – serve God only (Matthew 6:24), wholly (Matthew 22:37-38; Romans 12:1), and in truth (John 4:24)

The Fact That Sin Will Be Punished by God

  • We had plenty of food and were well off and saw no misfortune. But since we stopped…” (v. 17-18)
  • They misinterpreted the meaning behind their circumstances – they believed their false religion was the cause of their prosperity, so trouble came when they quit; in reality, trouble came because God’s patience finally ran out (v. 21-23)
  • God will judge us and punish sin – there is an appointed time for this (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9); we should not interpret circumstances in such a way so as to deceive ourselves as they did; life is not always fair (Ecclesiastes 8:14), but the final judgment will be fair (Acts 17:31)

Conclusion

  • Idolatry continues to be a problem, though manifested in different ways
  • It causes people to reject the truth and remain comfortable in sin
  • We need to accept God for who He is and His word as He has revealed it

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