This week’s Sabbath reading from the prophets was Jeremiah 7:21-8:3. I began reading the portion and wondered about the backstory so I began reading in Jeremiah 7:16.
“So you, [Yirmeyahu,] don’t pray for this people! Don’t cry, pray or intercede on their behalf with me; because I won’t listen to you. Don’t you see what they are doing in the cities of Y’hudah and in the streets of Yerushalayim? The children gather the wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and, just to provoke me, they pour out drink offerings to other gods! Are they really provoking me,” asks Adonai, “or are they provoking themselves, to their own ruin?” (Jeremiah 7:16-19).
These words are actually an answer to prayer. In the past few days, I have been struggling with how to pray for a nation that no longer cares to hear what God has to say? How am I to pray for people that I know won’t repent because evil has been transformed into good? Is there even a prayer for a nation that considers righteousness wicked?
The answer God gave Jeremiah is “Don’t.” Don’t pray for them because He isn’t going to listen! For those who would argue that God hears every prayer, Adonai tells Jeremiah why He won’t listen and His words are for this exact day and time.
The people of God are worshiping the Queen of Heaven. The Queen of Heaven is Istar who is known now as Easter. The short story of the goddess Ishtar is that she had a son, Tammuz, who died in a wild boar attack. Those who worshiped the trinity of the mother Ishtar, the son Tammuz, and the father Nimrod mourned the death of the ‘son’ for a period of six weeks. That ‘mourning’ time is now known as Lent and, according to the prophet Ezekiel, is considered disgusting by Adonai.
“He brought me to the entrance of the north gate to Adonai’s house; and there before me were women weeping for Tammuz. ‘Human being,’ he asked me, ‘have you seen this? You will see practices even more disgusting than these'” (Ezekiel 8:14).
The designated reading for today:
“Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Isra’el: “You may as well eat the meat of your burnt offerings along with that of your sacrifices. For I didn’t speak to your ancestors or give them orders concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. Rather, what I did order them was this: ‘Pay attention to what I say. Then I will be your God, and you will be my people. In everything, live according to the way that I order you, so that things will go well for you.’ But they neither listened nor paid attention, but lived according to their own plans, in the stubbornness of their evil hearts, thus going backward and not forward” (Jeremiah 7:21-24).
There are no burnt offerings today because there is no Temple standing in Jerusalem. When there is another Temple, the sacrifices will begin again. It is even possible that this year, 2020, there will be a Passover sacrifice at the Temple mount for the first time since its destruction nearly 2000 years ago.
The significant part of today’s reading is “Pay attention to what I say … living according to the way that I order you.” Because of stubborn hearts and the desire of humans to live according to their own will, those who worship other gods and goddesses will continue to go backward. The Hebrew word for ‘backward’ refers to ‘turning away.’ The Hebrew word for ‘forward’ is lepanim and refers to ‘the face of Elohim.’ Rather than seeking the face of Adonai, they will turn away and cling to their false gods and goddesses.
“Therefore, say to them, “This is the nation that has not listened to the voice of Adonai their God. They won’t take correction; faithfulness has perished; it has vanished from their mouths. Cut off your hair, and throw it away, take up a lament on the bare hills, for Adonai has rejected and abandoned the generation that rouses his anger'” Jeremiah 7:28-29).
Such a nation will not heed the voice of Adonai. They won’t be corrected for their worship of Ishtar and Tammuz; they won’t be corrected for their worship of Saturn and Saturnalia. They like what they are doing and have justified their idolatry as honest worship. Their mouths no longer speak the Truth. For these, one should not pray, but only feel sorrow for their impending death because they have been rejected and abandoned by Adonai.
“For the people of Y’hudah have done what is evil from my perspective,” says Adonai; “they have set up their detestable things in the house which bears my name, to defile it” (Jeremiah 7:30).
The weekly reading continues with Adonai saying the ‘houses’ that bear His name are defiled because of detestable things. Defiled with the Queen of Heaven, Ishtar. Defiled with mourning for Tammuz, Lent. Defiled by Saturn. This generation rouses His anger.
“For the time has come for the judgment to begin. It begins with the household of God; and if it starts with us, what will the outcome be for those who are disobeying God’s Good News?” (1 Peter 4:17).
Peter says that judgment begins with the ‘house of God’ because throughout the world, the ‘houses’ claiming to be places of worship have embraced false gods and goddesses. As the fast of Tammuz comes to an end, the nations prepare for Ishtar by baking of cakes (hot cross buns), pouring out drink offerings, and preparing their ‘wild boar’ roasts. Adonai calls these things abominations and they will bring destruction.
We live in serious times. We need to be serious about God’s Word or suffer His anger.
“Now this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the light. Why? Because their actions were wicked” (John 3:19).
I wrote Journey With Jeremiah because so much of what Adonai teaches me comes from the prophet Jeremiah; today was no different.
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