The people had turned away from God to the idols of the nations around them. But when the idols failed them, they cried out to God for help. When He confronts them of their infidelity to Him they make excuses and try to blame God for their choices.  God speaks in Jeremiah 17 children2:29 saying, “Why do you contend with me? You have all transgressed against me, declares the LORD.” Feinberg is right, “In spite of all she has done, Judah thinks she has a case (rîḇ, same verb as in v.9) against God (v.29). She found fault with God because she could not manipulate him to her pleasure. She murmured at his judgments and chastisements, though the fault was hers.”[1]

We all know that the New Testament points out the sinfulness of all man. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Isaiah in the Old Testament made a similar assertion when he said “there is none righteous no not one.” In this verse today we get a similar indictment: “You have all transgressed against me, declares the Lord.” But instead of acknowledging the declaration as true and repenting of their sin, the nation would much rather argue with God over the issue.

It’s always been that way. It’s primordial. Eve blamed the serpent, Adam blamed Eve and then it’s obvious that he also blamed God: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave …” (emphasis added). It’s all your fault God! I like what Hughes says in his commentary on Genesis: “In doing this Adam was like Satan, who had argued that a better God would not withhold anything from his people.” At least Eve didn’t blame God, she just blamed Adam. Hughes goes on, “Note at this point that neither Adam nor Eve showed a hint of contrition.” It’s always someone else’s fault. Hughes says, “Will Rogers once remarked that there are two eras in American history—‘the passing of the buffalo and the passing of the buck.’ Actually, the passing of the buck took place in primeval history as well. And it has remained endemic to the human race.” It started with Adam and found a home with God’s people, Israel, as well. It hasn’t ended yet. We all have a tendency to want to “blame God for placing us in circumstances that we regard as too much for us.”[2]

[1] Charles L. Feinberg, “Jeremiah,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 6 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 395.

[2] R. Kent Hughes, Genesis: Beginning and Blessing, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 79–80.