Thursday, July 9, 2015
If You Think It’s Bad For You…
“Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.” (Jeremiah 12:1-2)
Jeremiah knows God is righteous and will listen to his concerns. Like many others, he is asking why God allows wicked people to prosper. They seem successful and satisfied with the results of their deceitful and dishonest ways, and it seems like they have taken over permanently. Their philosophy and standards seem to be taking over, so that while they may easily speak about God, he seems to have little impact on their lives.
“But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter. How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end. ” (Jeremiah 12:3-4)
God knows how sincerely Jeremiah has tried to please him. He asks that those wicked ones be separated out like a shepherd would pull out a sheep he had decided to butcher to fatten them up for slaughter. How long is God going to allow them to continue to drain and damage the land, destroying both the ecology and the economy as a result of their wicked actions, because they believe God is incapable of stopping them.
“If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan? For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee. ” (Jeremiah 12:5-6)
If Jeremiah has become discouraged or upset with the success of the wicked in a land that still professes to believe in God, what will he do when satanic forces are in power? When the laws that once restricted the wicked are removed, and evil is given free rein, how will he respond? Their own leaders and associates have betrayed them, turning people against them, while purporting to be on their side, and cannot be trusted. It will only get worse.
“I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it. Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour. ” (Jeremiah 12:7-9)
If Jeremiah thinks it is bad where he is he needs to look at it from God’s perspective. God has been forced to walk away and allow the child he loves to suffer the consequences of her actions. He has allowed her to be controlled by those who hate her. She has become like a wild lion, attacking the father that loved her, with the result he has withdrawn from her. Just as a flock of chickens will destroy one that is different, other nations were attacking Israel, but God would not intervene because they had rejected him like a runaway teenager. Any parent who has dealt with this situation can understand God’s distress.
“Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart. ” (Jeremiah 12:10-11)
Those charged with caring for God’s people had instead destroyed the church. They had taken the authority and honor that belonged to God and thrown it to the ground like a piece of trash. When they finished, his church and nation had as little to offer as a barren dessert. God’s people cried out for relief as things keep getting worse, but nobody took his judgment for their disobedience to heart and made any changes.
“The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace. They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD. ” (Jeremiah 12:12-13)
Outsiders have come against Israel, capturing and killing so that no one is safe. Their efforts to provide for themselves all fail, like they were planting wheat but only weeds grew. All their effort and suffering produces little or no benefit, and even that will become a source of embarrassment when they face God’s wrath.
“Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that 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. And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land. And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people. But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD. ” (Jeremiah 12:14-17)