Jeremiah’s Complaint to God
Verse 1 – Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?
Asaph and David both asked this same question in Psalm 73 and Psalm 37. So what’s the trade-off for living a wicked life compared to an eternity full of joy? Eternity is forever and its full of anguish for the unbeliever. There is no comparison or trade-off.
Verse 2 – You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; they grow, yes, they bear fruit. You are near in their mouth but far from their mind.
Verse 3 – But You, O Lord, know me; You have seen me, and You have tested my heart toward You. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.
Verse 4 – How long will the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, for the wickedness of those who dwell there, because they said, “He will not see our final end.”
God’s Reply to Jeremiah
Verse 5 – “If you have run with the footman, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in flooding of the Jordan?
If you (Jeremiah) are not able to encounter lesser dangers, then how can you overcome greater?
Verse 6 – For even your brothers, the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; yes, they have called a multitude after you. Do not believe them, even though they speak smooth words to you.
God’s answer was a challenge – if Jeremiah couldn’t handle this, how would he handle what was ahead? Do we not also, want swift justice when we have been done wrong? What we need to think about though is – did God deal swiftly with us when we weren’t living right? Did we get what we deserved? No to both questions. Thank the Lord He was patient and merciful on waiting for us to come to Him and change.
Verse 7 – ” I have forsaken My house, I have left My heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of My soul into the hand of her enemies.
God still referred to the nation of Judah as My house-My inheritance and the love of His life, but now, He was giving His chosen over to her enemies.
Verse 8 – My heritage is to Me like a lion in the forest; it cries out to Me; therefore I have hated it.
Verse 9 – My heritage is to Me like a speckled vulture; the vultures all around are against her. Come, assemble all the beasts of the field, bring them to devour!
Verse 10 – “Many rulers have destroyed My vineyard, they have trodden My portion under foot; they have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
Verse 11 – They have made it desolate; desolate, it mourns to Me; the whole land is made desolate, because no one takes it to heart.
Even after all the warnings of the coming judgment, the people still didn’t believe when they were invaded, that it was God’s judgment. The land that He had given them and made it prosper for them, would now be turned into wilderness.
Verse 12 – The plunders have come on all the desolate heights in the wilderness, for the sword of the Lord shall devour from one end of the land to the other end of the land; no flesh shall have peace.
Verse 13 – They have sown wheat but reaped thorns; they have put themselves to pain but do not profit. But be ashamed of your harvest because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
Thorns grow up on neglected land and Judah will experience the “thorny” effect of an invasion.
Verse 14 – Thus says the Lord: “Against all My evil neighbors who touch the inheritance which I have caused My people Israel to inherit – behold, I will pluck them out of their land and pluck out the house of Judah from among them.
The evil neighbors – Syrians, Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, and Philistines, who at times took advantage of Judah’s weakness.
Verse 15 – “Then it shall be, after I have plucked them out, that I will return and have compassion on them and bring them back, everyone to his heritage and everyone to his land.
Verse 16 – “And it shall be, if they will diligently learn the ways of My people, to swear by MY name, ‘As the Lord lives, as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people.
God was willing to even bless the Gentiles living among His people, the Jews.
Verse 17 – “But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation,” says the Lord.
Several of these nations did not obey and they were utterly destroyed – the Moabites, Ammonites, and the Chaldeans.