Man’s arrogance against God is often stunning. His conceit in thinking he can exist and prosper without the One who created him seems to be without bounds. This was true in ancient Israel; this hubris is alive and well today.
Following Babylon’s defeat of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar left a remnant of Jews in Israel under the direction of a governor. Rebels assassinated him and fled. One of the men who seemingly wanted to be obedient to Yahweh’s instruction to remain in Judah was named Johanan. He had even warned the governor of the plot to kill him. Johanan then pursued the rebels and rescued the people whom they had taken with them.
Johanan came to Jeremiah and asked him to inquire of the Lord what they should do next. It appeared as though their desire was to be obedient as shown in Jeremiah 42:5-6:
Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”
In good faith, Jeremiah went before God with this request. His response was conditional as it often was from Him with His people. Yahweh declared that if this remnant remained in Israel, He would not harm them; in fact, He would show them mercy. However, if they did not obey His Word and went down to Egypt, they could expect severe consequences. The Word of the Lord was quite explicit in this respect.
Rather than be grateful the Lord wanted to spare them, the remnant despised His Word, even going so far as to accuse Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch as setting him against them. It’s at this point that the narrative gives us a new picture of Johanan and the people with him. Up ‘til now it seemed as though they had Godly intent, however the text now describes them as insolent men (Jeremiah 43:2). It gets worse.
Johanan and the remnant fled to Israel, essentially kidnapping Jeremiah and Baruch, so they had to go with them. In Egypt where Johanan and the people thought they were safe, God reminded them through Jeremiah of all the disaster He had previously brought upon His disobedient children. He asked of this remnant in Jeremiah 44:8:
“Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, making offerings to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live, so that you may be cut off and become a curse and a taunt among all the nations of the earth?”
God then went further to say in Jeremiah 44:10-11:
“They have not humbled themselves even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in my law and my statutes that I set before you and before your fathers.
“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for harm, to cut off all Judah.”
At this point, if the people had any sense remaining, you’d think they would realize how much trouble they were in. But no. Listen to what happened in Jeremiah 44:15-17:
Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster.”
The Queen of Heaven was a pagan goddess whom the people had worshiped while in Israel. They reasoned that disaster had come upon their land because they had ceased to worship her and instead had turned to Yahweh. It seems as if the women led the men into this apostasy as shown in Jeremiah 44:19:
And the women said, “When we made offerings to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands’ approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out drink offerings to her?”
The men had abdicated their responsibility to lead the household and be a Godly example. They allowed the women to descend into this blatant apostasy; in fact, giving their approval!
This attitude really ticked off God. That was it! He would now bring absolute disaster upon them and allow only a very few to trickle back to Israel (Jeremiah 44:28).
The presumption that man knows more and is greater than God is blatantly evident today in the quest for transhumanism. The desire for Man 2.0 is an evolutionary desire to achieve immortality outside of the providence of God. It requires a technological, biological, and spiritual approach to who and what man is and can become. As one participant in this pursuit has said:
The future of every person and the future of humanity as a whole are connected to the transition to the divine, to God-like beings. (http://2045.com/dialogue/30097.html)
This effort is fueled by the innate need of man to fill that famous God-shaped void in his heart, but to do it through his own means and self-aggrandizement. It is a boastful and aggressive intent to replace God by any means necessary.
The ultimate aim is for man to ascend to a state of consciousness that is all-knowing and interconnected via neural network technology; where all things are possible to imagine and do; where man is no longer tethered to this world and has no limits as he lives forever.
I guarantee you that God will call a halt to this someday soon. However far the purveyors of this utopian ideal get, once the world enters the Tribulation, God will allow this nonsense to go so far and no further. The glorious future these men imagine will come crumbling down as they are eventually judged and cast into the Lake of Fire – not exactly what they’d planned!
Only by placing our hope, trust, and faith in Jesus Christ are we promised a glorious eternity. It will come not through man’s efforts, but by God’s alone. Depending on horses and chariots, Artificial Intelligence and man’s ingenuity, will accomplish nothing in the end.
Isn’t it comforting to know that there is a way to everlasting life, and it’s already been given to us?