Last night I read with interest Jeremiah 12. You may recall the verse, “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?” I’ve heard this used in discipleship studies as a call to perseverance in times of difficulty. That’s probably a good usage for that. But, as so often with the bible, it is easy to go on auto-pilot when reading and miss some really important stuff.
This chapter starts out with a complaint by Jeremiah to God in which he is questioning why God puts up with the evil people and their deeds. From his vantage, Jeremiah sees them prospering and holding no fear of the Lord in their hearts. He asks how long God will allow this because even the earth itself is crying out because of their deeds. To which the Lord answers something interesting. The way I read it is God tells Jeremiah to toughen up because the situation is far worse than he imagines – not only do the people of Israel rebel, but so do Jeremiah’s own family members. In fact, the Lord says, even they will turn on you.
Jeremiah 12:5-6 “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you; do not believe them; though they speak friendly words to you.”
It sounds to me as if Jeremiah’s family is trying to lure him to being arrested or something even worse. In fact, the situation is so bad that he is to trust no one.
Jeremiah then goes on to answer his own question.
v. 13 They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns; they have tired themselves out but profit nothing. They shall be ashamed of their harvest because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
Then the Lord goes on to reassure him (and others) that he will indeed have mercy on some. He will pluck his people from the land of the captors. Incredibly, he will even give those folks an opportunity to repent. God has his chosen nation in Israel, but he has always offered mercy to all who accept it under his conditions. Read this carefully.
v. 14-17 “Thus says the Lord concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: “Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land. And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people. But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord.”
It’s frightening to me to wonder where our nation is in all of this. Is there yet an opportunity to repent or are we awaiting our destruction? Indeed, the entire book of Jeremiah was his preaching of their impending destruction and their refusal to listen. Reading it is like re-watching a movie. You know what is going to happen only to be helpless to change the script. Is the United States a foregone conclusion of destruction?
Everyone knows this Supreme Court nomination is about abortion. That, really, is the only issue. Everyone is talking about a couple Senators who might vote against Kavanaugh. Nobody is talking about Democrat Senators who may break party rank to essentially vote to repeal legalized, unbridled, tax-subsidized abortion as we know it. I would be surprised if any do. The whole debate, today, boils down to whether he said/she said accusations are so egregious to derail the whole process long enough to risk losing a couple Senate seats in the November elections. One side is hoping against hope that is exactly what happens. The other side is trying to prevent that. That’s all fine and good and par for the course in the game we call politics.
Yet, isn’t there a deafening silence for the sake of the unborn in all of this?
Father, please forgive this wicked nation. Please, change the hearts of our politicians. We need you. This whole situation is hopeless apart from you. Please intervene. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers