Wretched Reasons for a Wrong Resolve
Jeremiah 44:17
But we will certainly do whatever thing goes forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven…

When we come to a good resolution there can always be found good reasons for it. But when we come to a had resolve the reasons for it do not always appear so bad as they are. They can be plausibly urged and maintained, and appear very valid until they are more closely examined and the light of God's Word is brought to bear upon them. Then they appear what they really are. That Word is the Ithuriel's spear, which detects and declares what seemed to be something altogether different. Thus is it with the reasons urged here by the miserable exiles in Egypt for their persistence in their idolatry. Note -


(1) that they would not hearken to the prophet of God; and

(2) they would go on paying their vows, and burning their incense "unto the queen of heaven." Now,

(3) this was a resolve proved to be wrong by the plain Word of God, the example of the noblest men of their race, the experience of their forefathers, and by the sorrows that had come and were yet to come upon themselves. But they urged -

II. THEIR REASONS. These were:

1. Their vows. As if a sinful vow could be made less sinful by keeping it; cf. Herod's vow to Herodias's daughter. Bad promises are ever better broken than kept.

2. Custom, which they said had in its favour:

(1) Antiquity. Their fathers did so. Yes; some of them had; but not all, nor the best.

(2) Authority. Their kings, princes, etc. But this, also, largely false.

(3) Unity. They all did it, But there were a faithful few still.

(4) Universality. It was done everywhere. Not everywhere, hut, no doubt, extensively and very much, it was true, in Jerusalem, the metropolis of their land. All this was but a portion of the truth.

3. They pleaded advantage. They were better off when they acted thus; only trouble came when they worshipped God. No doubt sentence against their evil work was not executed speedily, and for a while their prosperity was not interrupted. Hence they perverted this forbearance of God - as men do still - into a pretext for going on in their evil way. Then when the judgments did come, and under the lash of them they gave up their idols, it was only an outward abandonment, not a genuine repentance, and such con. duct did not bring back the forfeited, favour of God. Hence, they said, it had been better not to have forsaken their idols at all

III. AND THESE WRETCHED REASONS ARE IN FORCE STILL. How many excuse and defend their idolatry of the world and self and sin on the ground of custom, of gain thereby, and of loss if they act otherwise! And the force of these so called reasonings is great indeed with "men of this world." Where, then, can be found that reasoning which will beat back and beat down their fatal force? In this alone - the Divine Spirit acting through a consistent, believing, happy Church. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto 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 had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

WEB: But we will certainly perform every word that is gone forth out of our mouth, to burn incense to the queen of the sky, and to 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 had we plenty of food, and were well, and saw no evil.

The Apparent Profitableness of Sin
Top of Page
Top of Page