“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: You and your wives have accomplished in deeds what you declared in words, saying, ‘We are determined to perform the vows that we have made, to make offerings to the queen of heaven and to pour out libations to her.’ By all means, keep your vows and make your libations! Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all you Judeans who live in the land of Egypt: Lo, I swear by my great name, says the LORD, that my name shall no longer be pronounced on the lips of any of the people of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, ‘As the Lord GOD lives.’ I am going to watch over them for harm and nor for good; all the people of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall perish by the sword and by famine, until not one is left. And those who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all the remnant of Judah, who have come to the land of Egypt to settle, shall know whose words will stand, mine or theirs! This shall be the sign to you, says the LORD, that I am going to punish you in this place, in order that you may know that my words against you will surely be carried out.” Jeremiah 44:25b-29
Idolatry makes God angry. Persistent idolatry, performed after being warned, results in dire consequences. When God responded, “By all means, keep your vows and make your libations!”, He wasn’t giving permission. God was saying keep this up and it will cost you! The folks he was speaking to had already separated themselves from God by going to Egypt against His will, they had separated themselves from God by worshiping other gods and they further cut themselves off by continuing to worship those idols after God instructed Jeremiah to tell them to stop. Separated from God they were vulnerable. Being separated from the flock makes it easy to be picked off. God doesn’t want us to be picked off, that’s why the shepherd lives 99 to look for 1. But when that one runs away from the shepherd, the shepherd can’t offer protection. Sooner or later destruction comes, maybe from the elements, or a wild beast or starvation. It’s no different for God’s people. O that I listen and obey God, that I hear His warnings when I am disobedient, that I return to His Way not my own. That I worship God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and only God.