-Jeremiah pleads his case with the LORD counting on His righteousness and justice (Jeremiah 12:1). This prophetic ministry was so difficult and grieving to Jeremiah, and we see his despair in this chapter as the weariness of the task breaks him in several ways. It is much like what we see in the prophet Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:1-4), Job (Job 21:4-21), and King David (Psalms 37). Jeremiah has questions as to why it seems, at least temporally, the way of the wicked prospers, the treacherous are at ease, the evil ones take root, grow and even produce fruit even though the LORD is far from their mind (Jeremiah 12:2). The prophet appeals to his King because he knows that the LORD knows him and his sincerity of heart towards God. He prays an imprecatory prayer for vengeance because of the injustice he sees and has experienced (Jeremiah 12:3-4). *Application* Any of us who have worked in prophetic ministry understand exactly the challenges and frustrations that Jeremiah speaks of in this passage. We must always see the big picture and understand God’s perspective on things. Don’t get bogged down in the temporary. See the end result of your faithfulness and keep trusting in the goodness of God in these times of sadness and desperation when all seems so negative. God eventually turns all things around, vindicates, restores, and makes it all worth it in the end (Revelation 21:1-8).
-God’s reply begins in verse five with an unexpected answer to the beleaguered prophet. He indicates in figurative language that times will go from bad to worse in the near future, so buckle up and get ready for more strenuous and intense hardship (Jeremiah 12:5). God informs him that even his brothers (countrymen, those who should share the same faith) and the household of his father (relatives) have dealt treacherously (done him wrong) with him as they speak favorable to him, and that they should not be believed because of their deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 12:6). Because of these travesties, God is forsaking His house, abandoning His inheritance, and raging against His people in hatred. His shepherds have ruined His vineyard (God’s productive field in Israel for faith) by trampling it down and making it a pagan wilderness of idolatry (Jeremiah 12:7-10). The land becomes desolate before Him as punishment for their transgression with destroyers due to the anger of the LORD (Jeremiah 12:11-13). They will be uprooted (Jeremiah 12:14), but God does, in the end, give that reoccurring glimmer of hope in verses 15 & 16. “And it will come about 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 (false gods), they will be built up in the midst of My people.” However, there is a caveat if they still refuse to listen they will be again uprooted and destroyed (Jeremiah 12:17). *Application* God’s plan is wrapped strangely up in His foreknowledge and sovereignty. His will is going to be done despite the mess ups of His people. His corrective actions are always for our good and we need to understand this. His compassion never ending and His restoration Divine. Stay true to the King and realize His nature is both jealous and ever-loving.
Verse to Memorize: Jeremiah 12:15