Judah’s Persistent Idolatry (Day 15)

Read Jeremiah 7:16-29
   The Queen of Heaven was a name for Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and fertility. After the fall of Jerusalem, the refugees from Judah who fled to Egypt continued to worship her. A papyrus dating from the 5th century B.C., found at Hermopolis in Egypt, mentions the Queen of Heaven among the gods honored by the Jewish community living there. 
   Verse 19 answers the question, Who gets hurt when we turn away from God? We do. Separating ourselves from God is like keeping a green plant away from sunlight or water. God is our only source of spiritual strength. Cut yourself off from Him, and you cut off life itself. 
God had set up a system of sacrifices to encourage the people to joyfully obey Him. He required the people to make these sacrifices, not because the sacrifices themselves pleased Him, but because they caused the people to recognized their sin and refocus on living for God. They faithfully made the sacrifices but forgot the reason they were offering them, and thus they disobeyed God. Jeremiah reminded the people, and us today, that unless they were prepared to obey God in all areas of life, acting out religious rituals was meaningless. 
   From the time of Moses to the end of the Old Testament period, God sent many prophets to Israel and Judah. No matter how bad the circumstances were, God always raised up a prophet to speak against their stubborn spiritual attitudes.