After a stressful week it is great to be able to sit down and write about the Word and the almightiness of our God. In chapter 12 Jeremiah expresses questions and concerns that are very common! The question of why there is evil in this world, and why do some of these villains tend to prosper in this world as well is a very common thought amongst people. They think, “it there is a God then why would he allow evil in this world like murder, rape, hunger, etc.?” He does not directly answer this question of course but he answers this question in response to the people that Jeremiah was living with around him. God’s answer changes drastically in the New Testament, for we are given forgiveness through His Son, but at the time of Jeremiah the covenant was broken and the new covenant of Jesus has yet to happen, in spite of the prophecies of his arrival!
Jeremiah’s complaint to God about the wicked is how they do prosper, and based on God’s word, he would think that they would be the first to be slaughtered, rather than being pushed away from the slaughterhouse. Jeremiah of course used the metaphor of us all being sheep, which is seen so often throughout the Bible – I wonder how many times, if we were to count? Jeremiah wants to know how long these wicked individuals will continue to prosper. God’s gives a great anecdote in response (12:5):
“’If you have raced with men on foot and they have wearied you, how till you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?’”
God is saying that this is all preparation and in a way a test of the righteous. If His people succumb to the wicked ways, then where does their faith truly lie? God goes on to tell Jeremiah that the people that attack His people, they will eventually be put into ruin and plucked away – they won’t always be prospering.
Chapter 13 starts off with another interesting metaphor, and one that once I read the heading of this part of the chapter was immediately interested in where God was going with this. It is the metaphor of the ruined loincloth. God tells Jeremiah to buy a loincloth and wear it and then put it under some rocks at the Euphrates, and days later God then told Jeremiah to go and retrieve the loin cloth. When Jeremiah removed the cloth from under the rocks, it was completely soiled and was good for nothing. The LORD then told Jeremiah His reasoning for having him do this. He tells Jeremiah that His people that ignore Him and show Him little faith will be like this loin cloth by the end: good for nothing. God uses the loin cloth originally to show how His people are suppose to cling to Him like the loin cloth does to one’s body (the body being God and the cloth being His people), but they decide not to and then become good for nothing like the soiled cloth. Following this God begins to tell again of the exile that is coming for His people and how finally His people will experience fear. Another common metaphor throughout the Bible is how His people stumble versus striving, and in this instance of exile, His people will stumble!
The beginning of chapter 14 is labeled “Famine, Sword, and Pestilence.” Obviously these horrible things are what were common to the unfaithful people of God. I had to look up what pestilence meant, and dictionary.com said it is an epidemic, like that of the plague. God goes into detail about what is happening as a result of a drought that he has put on his people and how all are feeling ashamed, and he breaks down by various people why they would be ashamed of this. Farmers cannot grow crops, so they cannot support their families, and women cannot go to get water from the wells to provide for her family. Both are forsaking their families, like they have been doing to God. God then refocused on the false prophets that were around at this time. God says that there will always be false prophets, but faith in Him will prevent one self from following these false prophets. These prophets have ben telling the people of Judah that God is actually happy with how they have been behaving, and that God is going to allow them to prosper! If you have been keeping up with the book of Jeremiah or Hosea, or almost any other book in the Old Testament, then one knows that God is far from happy with His people. This all refers back to the covenant that has been broken between Him and His people and how lack of faith and trust in the LORD has caused all of this mayhem and will continue with mayhem through this exile that is to come.