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prophet_jeremiah_003

What should we learn from Jeremiah 12?

First, let’s read Jeremiah 12.

Jeremiah’s Prayer
​ Righteous are You, O Lord, that I would plead my case with You;
Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You:
Why has the way of the wicked prospered?
Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease?
You have planted them, they have also taken root;
They grow, they have even produced fruit.
You are near to their lips
But far from their mind.
But You know me, O Lord;
You see me;
And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You.
Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter
And set them apart for a day of carnage!
How long is the land to mourn
And the vegetation of the countryside to wither?
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it,
Animals and birds have been snatched away,
Because men have said, “He will not see our latter ending.”
“If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out,
Then how can you compete with horses?
If you fall down in a land of peace,
How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
“For even your brothers and the household of your father,
Even they have dealt treacherously with you,
Even they have cried aloud after you.
Do not believe them, although they may say nice things to you.”
God’s Answer
“I have forsaken My house,
I have abandoned My inheritance;
I have given the beloved of My soul
Into the hand of her enemies.
“My inheritance has become to Me
Like a lion in the forest;
She has roared against Me;
Therefore I have come to hate her.
“Is My inheritance like a speckled bird of prey to Me?
Are the birds of prey against her on every side?
Go, gather all the beasts of the field,
Bring them to devour!
“Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard,
They have trampled down My field;
They have made My pleasant field
A desolate wilderness.
“It has been made a desolation,
Desolate, it mourns before Me;
The whole land has been made desolate,
Because no man lays it to heart.
“On all the bare heights in the wilderness
Destroyers have come,
For a sword of the Lord is devouring
From one end of the land even to the other;
There is no peace for anyone.
“They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns,
They have strained themselves to no profit.
But be ashamed of your harvest
Because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
Thus says the Lord concerning all My wicked neighbors who strike at the inheritance with which I have endowed My people Israel, “Behold I am about to uproot them from their land and will uproot the house of Judah from among them. And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land. Then if they will really 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, they will be built up in the midst of My people. But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord. (NASB) Jeremiah 12

Let’s ask ourselves some questions before we get going. Who or what is this passage about? When did it happen? Considering that the entire Bible is about Jesus and the gospel, what does this passage have to say about God?

This passage is about the prophet Jeremiah, his appeal to God, and God’s answer. It was written between 680-530 BC. Judah was guilty of idolatry. Jeremiah was to warn them of God’s impending discipline if they didn’t repent. In this passage Jeremiah is making a plea to God for the wicked to be punished, and for relief from them. God answers by telling Jeremiah that He will uproot the nation of Judah. In other words His discipline and justice is coming. He also tells Jeremiah if they repent He will build them up, but if they don’t, He will destroy them. In the first couple verses it seems like Jeremiah is angry about how the wicked are enjoying wealth and prosperity. If you look at the next section of scripture I think you’ll see that he is truly angry at their lack of love for God and His will. They are giving their love and worship to idols and Jeremiah is upset by this because he himself truly worships God. That is why in verse 3 his prayer becomes imprecatory.

“But You know me, O Lord;
You see me;
And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You.
Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter
And set them apart for a day of carnage!” (NASB Strong’s) Jeremiah 12:3


This is not the only place in the Bible where someone who loves God prays for the destruction of the wicked. David did as well for example. It is not uncommon for someone who loves God to feel this way. Today as Christians we can feel like this when we see evil being celebrated in the world. I pray for God to save them, but if it is not His will to save them, I pray for God to remove them from influence, or take them out of this world. We have learned that God is just and good. He is longsuffering and will give nations/peoples time and opportunity to repent and worship Him. He is just and will punish the wicked in His time. Prophets of God spoke difficult things to the wicked people that got them in hot water with them. If they love God, they will preach His word regardless of the personal consequences, and when they are concerned about them, they come to Him in prayer.

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