Imagine that! Jeremiah actually asked God the “Why” question. He was puzzled. How, if God was in control, WHY did He allow heartless, sinful, evil people to rule and prosper? It’s one of the questions of the ages. The cool thing is that God actually answers him — sort of. It’s a lesson we can all learn from! Let’s dig in…
Jeremiah 12 – Jeremiah Questions the Lord’s Justice
Lord, you always give me justice
when I bring a case before you.
So let me bring you this complaint:
Why are the wicked so prosperous?
Why are evil people so happy?
2 You have planted them,
and they have taken root and prospered.
Your name is on their lips,
but you are far from their hearts.
3 But as for me, Lord, you know my heart.
You see me and test my thoughts.
Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered!
Set them aside to be slaughtered!
4 How long must this land mourn?
Even the grass in the fields has withered.
The wild animals and birds have disappeared
because of the evil in the land.
For the people have said,
“The Lord doesn’t see what’s ahead for us!”
The Lord’s Reply to Jeremiah
5 “If racing against mere men makes you tired,
how will you race against horses?
If you stumble and fall on open ground,
what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?
6 Even your brothers, members of your own family,
have turned against you.
They plot and raise complaints against you.
Do not trust them,
no matter how pleasantly they speak.
7 “I have abandoned my people, my special possession.
I have surrendered my dearest ones to their enemies.
8 My chosen people have roared at me like a lion of the forest,
so I have treated them with contempt.
9 My chosen people act like speckled vultures,
but they themselves are surrounded by vultures.
Bring on the wild animals to pick their corpses clean!
10 “Many rulers have ravaged my vineyard,
trampling down the vines
and turning all its beauty into a barren wilderness.
11 They have made it an empty wasteland;
I hear its mournful cry.
The whole land is desolate,
and no one even cares.
12 On all the bare hilltops,
destroying armies can be seen.
The sword of the Lord devours people
from one end of the nation to the other.
No one will escape!
13 My people have planted wheat
but are harvesting thorns.
They have worn themselves out,
but it has done them no good.
They will harvest a crop of shame
because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
A Message for Israel’s Neighbors
14 Now this is what the Lord says: “I will uproot from their land all the evil nations reaching out for the possession I gave my people Israel. And I will uproot Judah from among them. 15 But afterward I will return and have compassion on all of them. I will bring them home to their own lands again, each nation to its own possession. 16 And if these nations truly learn the ways of my people, and if they learn to swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’ (just as they taught my people to swear by the name of Baal), then they will be given a place among my people. 17 But any nation who refuses to obey me will be uprooted and destroyed. I, the Lord, have spoken!”Jeremiah 13 NLT
The Life of a Prophet
The life of an Old Testament prophet was tough and very frustrating at times. The only prophet that really had good results was Jonah. After his bout with the big fish, he went to Nineveh and the king and the people actually repented and they were spared God’s judgment. All the others had a hard time trying to convince people. God didn’t make it easy for them either.
God doesn’t really answer the question. So, we shouldn’t feel bad when God doesn’t answer our “why” question. He basically tells Jeremiah that he ain’t seen nothing yet! Jeremiah needed to toughen up. He needed a war-time mentality.
Satan’s plan is to make life hard for us so we will blame God and turn away from Him. We must do the opposite! Paul told us…
In the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT
No one cares anymore. Both apathy and apostasy are increasing. We as Christians need to care. We must serve God as best as we can and it will mean sacrificing something. (Check out the video from Voice of the Martyrs at the bottom.)
Jesus told us…
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 NLT
This next part is like Jeremiah’s Journal…
Jeremiah 13 – A Linen Belt
This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt (a sash) and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” 2 So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.
3 Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: 4 “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath (at the Euphrates River) and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.
6 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” 7 So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless! 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’
12 “Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’ 13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.’”
Threat of Captivity
15 Hear and pay attention,
do not be arrogant,
for the Lord has spoken.
16 Give glory to the Lord your God
before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble
on the darkening hills.
You hope for light,
but he will turn it to utter darkness
and change it to deep gloom.
17 If you do not listen,
I will weep in secret
because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly,
overflowing with tears,
because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.
18 Say to the king and to the queen mother,
“Come down from your thrones,
for your glorious crowns
will fall from your heads.”
19 The cities in the Negev will be shut up,
and there will be no one to open them.
All Judah will be carried into exile,
carried completely away.
20 Look up and see
those who are coming from the north.
Where is the flock that was entrusted to you,
the sheep of which you boasted?
21 What will you say when the Lord sets over you
those you cultivated as your special allies?
Will not pain grip you
like that of a woman in labor?
22 And if you ask yourself,
“Why has this happened to me?”—
it is because of your many sins
that your skirts have been torn off
and your body mistreated.
23 Can an Ethiopian change his skin
or a leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good
who are accustomed to doing evil.
24 “I will scatter you like chaffJeremiah 13 NIV
driven by the desert wind.
25 This is your lot,
the portion I have decreed for you,”
declares the Lord,
“because you have forgotten me
and trusted in false gods.
26 I will pull up your skirts over your face
that your shame may be seen—
27 your adulteries and lustful neighings,
your shameless prostitution!
I have seen your detestable acts
on the hills and in the fields.
Woe to you, Jerusalem!
How long will you be unclean?”
The Point of the Linen Belt
All this was to show Jeremiah what God was going to do to the pride of Judah and Jerusalem. Just like the fine, linen belt easily became rotten and useless, so will Judah and Jerusalem.
Everyone Seems Drunk
What God did for the leadership of Judah and Jerusalem back then, He’s doing to the leadership of our world today. History is repeating itself! Pastor Tom Hughes, one of the Bible Prophecy preachers I watch mentions Jeremiah 13:13 in this video in regards to our current leadership in America…
No more mercy! Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
God promises darkness will cover the Jews. They rejected His light, so they’ll taste of dense dark. Three types of darkness are spoken of in Scripture.
First, is a natural darkness. Ephesians 4:18 describes an inherent darkness that comes with not knowing Christ. “Having their understanding darkened being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them.” All men are born in sin, and are apart from God. They’re in the dark from the start.
Second, is a deliberate darkness. In John 3:19 Jesus said, “The light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” This is a darkness men have chosen. The light of God exposes our sin and makes us uncomfortable. Thus, sinful men prefer the darkness.
Then third, there is a judicial darkness. This is the darkness referred to in Jeremiah. God sentences a rebellious people to stumble into spiritual darkness. They’ve rejected the light, thus God enacts a spiritual darkness. This is what happens in the end times, during the Great Tribulation. 2 Thessalonians 2 tells us, “For this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” They chose darkness rather than light, so God imposes a darkness.Sandy Adams (bold emphasis mine)
Like a Leopard Can’t Change His Spots
We are sinners at heart. We can’t change ourselves, we can’t change our sinful nature. Sandy Adams explains…
In 17:9 Jeremiah says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” A better translation is “incurably wicked.” There’s nothing I can do to change myself. I can reform my actions for a time, but how can I change my nature? I need a new nature! And this is the miracle of the new birth. We can change, but it takes God’s Spirit to change us. He cuts out our rebellious heart, and gives us a compliant one. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, in John 3:7, “You must be born again.” We’re reborn spiritually by God’s Spirit.Sandy Adams
Finally, God reveals again how He feels about how Israel committed adultery by worshiping the pagan gods of their neighboring countries. That’s how God must feel about the Roman Catholics who cheat on Jesus with Mary. Jesus is King! Mary is NOT queen! I pray that God will open the eyes of Roman Catholics so they can see that all the bowing, candle-lighting, praying to and venerating Mary to the same level or higher than Jesus is an abomination to God. It’s idolatry, it’s paganism, it’s a sin. Period.
And you ask “Why”.
It’s time to turn away from your sin and turn to Jesus and get a NEW LIFE!
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.