The people of Israel rejected the warning from God not to seek refuge in Egypt after he had chastised them. They rebelled against God and challenged Prophet Jeremiah that God had failed them; therefore they have no obligation to follow his instruction. Israelites claimed independence from God as the Bible reported,
“Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying: “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you! But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.” The women also said, “And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands’ permission?” (Jeremiah 44:15-19).
God promised to punish the Israelites for their disobedience, as they chose to abandon their homeland in contrast to his direction. God promised to humiliate the rebels as they en-route to a forbidden land – Egypt.
Jeremiah prophesied on God’s behalf, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: ‘You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, “We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!’ Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: ‘Behold, I have sworn by My great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “The Lord God lives.” Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them. Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs. And this shall be a sign to you,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that my words will surely stand against you for adversity.’ “Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy who sought his life.’” (Jeremiah 44:25-30).
All people must honor God for who he is and what he can do. God is Jehovah the Maker of heaven and earth; he deserves to be respected! God is the supreme authority that all people must serve.
God, unlike humans, have limitless power. He has the autonomous power to do whatever he likes. Nobody can compete with him! The fact that the Creator has decorated the humanity with some beauty and power does not mean we should take him for granted. We still have the obligation to obey God’s instructions so that we can qualify for his benefits and also avoid his punishment. Indeed, God blesses a person who obeys his instructions. Meanwhile, a person who dishonors God by refusing to acknowledge his supremacy will lose the privilege to obtain his favor. Hence, humanity will do ourselves a good deed of favor by diligently honoring God; obeying his instructions, and faithfully serving him.
Dear God, please give me the ability to humble myself before you so that I can prosper! Do not let me claim a rivalry with you so that I won’t be destroyed. Enable me with the strength to honor you and follow your instructions. As I make an effort to satisfy your desires, please release your overwhelming benefits into my life so that I can have every reason to testify to your goodness in the land of the living. For in the name of Jesus Christ I make my requests. Amen.
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