Zichronot: Timeless 1: What If?
Then all the men who were aware that their wives were sacrificing to other gods, as well as all their wives, answered Jeremiah. There was a great crowd of them representing all the people who lived in northern and southern Egypt. They answered, “We will not listen to what you claim the Lord has spoken to us! Instead we will do everything we vowed we would do. We will sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the goddess called the Queen of Heaven just as we and our ancestors, our kings, and our leaders previously did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and had no troubles.
But ever since we stopped sacrificing and pouring out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven, we have been in great need. Our people have died in wars or of starvation.”
The women added, “We did indeed sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven. But it was with the full knowledge and approval of our husbands that we made cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her.”
Then Jeremiah replied to all the people, both men and women, who responded to him in this way. “The Lord did indeed remember and call to mind what you did!
He remembered the sacrifices you and your ancestors, your kings, your leaders, and all the rest of the people of the land offered to other gods in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.
Finally the Lord could no longer endure your wicked deeds and the disgusting things you did. That is why your land has become the desolate, uninhabited ruin that it is today. That is why it has become a proverbial example used in curses. You have sacrificed to other gods! You have sinned against the Lord! You have not obeyed the Lord! You have not followed his laws, his statutes, and his decrees! That is why this disaster that is evident to this day has happened to you.” (Jeremiah 44:15 – 22)
The people were arguing that they lived wonderful and peaceful lives even when they worshipped idols, and that matters had only become worse since Jeremiah began to rebuke their ways.
Jeremiah argued that they had no way of knowing “What If” – How much worse things would have been if they had no obeyed the prophet.
The key word in Jeremiah’s response is “Remember” – the prophet explained that God has an entirely different view of time. Only He can answer “What if”?
Many of us wonder “What If” as we review our actions and choices, and the events of the past year. When we begin the Teshuva – Returning to God – process, we can fall into a trap of guilt and self-blame.
God has a different view of time. He uses this time of Zichronot – Timelessness – to evaluate what we have become and guide us into the future in a manner that will benefit us despite the mistakes of our past.
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