“As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. Is it I whom they provoke? declares the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own shame? Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.” Jeremiah 7:16-20 ESV
And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the Lord is giving you. Deuteronomy 11:13-17 ESV
In colonial times in the United States, most people worked very hard to take care of their needs every day. In a family, everyone had a job to do, even little children. Small kids might weed the garden, wash the dishes, and feed the chickens, even when they were as young as three years old! Both boys and girls would learn how to knit when they were about four years old so they could help make some of the family clothes. Children were also very important to the process of making candles and soap, because their small fingers were good at picking the berries that gave them the wax they needed. Children worked hard, but so did their parents, and everyone in the family worked together to get things done. For example, when a family made clothes for itself, children would gather the materials they needed to make dye for the clothes. Women and girls would spin thread on spinning wheels, while men and boys used looms to weave the cloth. Then women would take the cloth and sew clothes for everyone.
God gives us families to work together and help each other, but when families turn away from God, they sometimes work together to do things that displease the Lord. This was happening in Jeremiah’s time in a terrible way. The people were turning away from the true God to worship false gods and goddesses, including a goddess named Ashtoreth, who was thought to be the queen of heaven and the wife of the false god Baal. One way of worshiping the queen of heaven was to make cakes for her, and this was a job the whole family got involved in. The children would gather the wood, and their fathers would take it to make a fire for their oven, while the mothers would make the dough to bake the cakes. God’s judgment was coming to the people because of what they were doing, and what they were teaching their children to do.
When children have Christian parents who teach them to know and love the Lord, it is a wonderful blessing. But even Christian families fall short of God’s plan sometimes. We might not worship false gods, but we argue and fight and hurt each other. We don’t always help each other or serve God together. But God loves all people, and he sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus took all the sins of the world to the cross with him and paid for them there. Because of Jesus, we have God’s forgiveness every day, and we can love and forgive each other, too. It’s the love and forgiveness that comes from Jesus that really makes a Christian family, and helps families to know and worship the Lord and help and forgive each other.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessing of our family. Help us to love and help each other, and to worship and serve you together. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.