The People’s Stubborn Response
Open Your Bible
Jeremiah 44:1-30, Jeremiah 45:1-5, Psalm 79:1-13, Isaiah 5:5-7
BY Erin Davis
It is part of my parenting philosophy to never ask this question: “Why?”
When my toddler draws all over the wall with a Sharpie…
When my pre-teen opts to stuff all of his dirty laundry under his bed instead of in the hamper nearby…
When my kindergartener bursts into sudden tears because he can’t find the green crayon…
I’ve found that asking, “Why?” is more often than not met with bewildered stares, rather than deep, philosophical answers. And yet, in Jeremiah 44, when the Isrealites countered the news of God’s imminent judgment by digging in their heels, God, our loving Father, looked at His children and lovingly asked, “Why?”
“Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves?…
Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands” (vv.7–8, ESV).
Our all-knowing, all-powerful God knew the answer, of course. But like all parents who struggle to fathom why their child would make a choice that leads to destruction, God voices His exasperation over His children’s persistent rebellion. The Isrealites in Jeremiah’s time were no different from us. Since the garden of Eden, all of humanity has been grossly warped by sin. Our very cells are broken; we run in glad rebellion away from the things of God. Like the apostle Paul, we are left to wonder, Why can’t I live the life Christ has called me to live? (Romans 7:15–20).
When our questions lead to discouraging answers, and we face the fact that the destruction we read about in Jeremiah is a picture of the punishment we deserve, Scripture invites us to ask a better question. Not why, but who. Who can save us from our sin and spare us from the punishment we deserve?
Jesus! Our righteous Savior, who took the punishment we earned, so that we might be spared the righteous judgment of the Father. When the weight of our sin feels crushing and the reality of our rebellion overwhelms us, we don’t need to bother with asking, “Why?” Instead, we can rest in the hope found in asking, “Who?”
“Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies” (Romans 8:33). Jesus alone is the answer, and nothing can separate us from His love (v.34,38).