13 “‘Yet the people of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. They did not follow My decrees but rejected My laws—by which the person who obeys them will live—and they utterly desecrated My Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out My wrath on them and destroy them in the wilderness. 14 But for the sake of My name I did 15 Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land I had given them—a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands— 16 because they rejected My laws and did not follow My decrees and desecrated My Sabbaths. For their hearts were devoted to their idols.
Some background for this chapter is necessary (for me) to make sense of this chapter all the way through chapter twenty-three. The easiest way is to look at the very first verse of the chapter.
1 In the seventh year, in the fifth month on the tenth day, some of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and they sat down in front of me.
So when was this, were they in captivity? What was going on in so that the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord? Why is the date important? Beginning with the date according to Coffman’s Commentary
“The date of this chapter is July-August. 591 B.C.”;
It is an amazing historical coincidence that, “According to Jewish tradition, the fifth month on the tenth day of the month was the date of the `Sentence of Wandering’ pronounced upon Israel in Numbers 14:29, also the date upon which the Temple was burnt by the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 52:12-13); and, according to Josephus, the date when the Romans burnt the Temple in 70 A.D.”
And yes, this is a time when the Israelites were in captivity and while in captivity were likely rejoicing over the victory of the Egyptians in the Sudan along with rumors that Palestine would be conquered by Pharaoh-Passammetic. Why the celebration? Many believed Zedekiah would become loyal to Pharaoh and no longer to Nebuchadnezzar resulting in their hope their captivity and exile would come to an end. (From Coffman’s Commentary).
Thus the inquiry that was likely on their minds was, “Are we going to be freed soon and returned to our homeland – Israel?” But we don’t know as the Lord refused to permit them to make an inquiry. Instead He listed a short history of how His people had sinned against Him again and again until this time of war, destruction, and exile. All of which brings us to our verses of the day and especially the cause of all their problems: For their hearts were devoted to their idols.
Something for all of us to consider, are their idols our hearts (my heart) are devoted to excluding God? Is it football on Sundays? Having a perfect lawn? Success and position at work? Or is it the size of one’s bank account? Let us look and if we find our hearts devoted to any idol and not to our God, then let us rid ourselves of such an idol or idols.
It’s Friday, have a Great Weekend and remember to Go To Church … enjoy the Praise and Worship along with corporate prayer and teaching from the Word of God.