Jeremiah’s Complaint

Jeremiah 12: 1-2 (ESV)
"Righteous are you, O LORD,
    when I complain to you;
    yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
   Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
You plant them, and they take root;
   they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
   and far from their heart." 

Jeremiah’s complaint is a common one for us today as well. We look around and see those who appear far from God prospering in our society while many good Christians seem to struggle with so many things. Citing Isaiah 29:13 in verse 2, Jeremiah pleads his case as he wishes to see those who only pretend to love God be set apart for a day of slaughter. Jesus referred to this same passage of Isaiah in Matthew 15:8 when he spoke of the hypocritical Pharisees.

When you read a little further in Jeremiah 12:5-6, God answers Jeremiah twofold. The first is to rebuke Jeremiah for such thinking and to basically tell the prophet to toughen up. There is no offer of sympathy for having such feelings and that what he is dealing with now is nothing like what is to come:

“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?"

In Jeremiah 12:7-13, God reminds Jeremiah that He alone will judge His people. This is a precursor to how God will judge all of us in His due time and that destruction is coming. Verse 7 can be seen as an anticipation of what Christ will do as the forsaken sin-bearer for all (Matthew 27:46).

We need not worry about what is fair. As Jesus stated in Matthew 5:45, “For he makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”. God shows common grace to all of his creatures and we are expected to imitate God and love both neighbor and enemy, which we can further translate enemy into a non-believer.

Let us no longer worry about the unjust receiving their due reward. Trust in the Lord and His Word and do not dwell on such things. For to do so reveals a faith not firmly planted in the truth found in His revealed Word.

“Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me. That is what Paul meant when he said we were to be living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men. I would not give much for all that can be done by sermons, if we do not preach Christ by our lives. If we do not commend the Gospel to people by our holy walk and conversation, we shall not win them to Christ. Some little act of kindness will perhaps do more to influence them than any number of long sermons."
                                                                                                                                  ~D.L. Moody