IT’S NOT FAIR!
Lord, help me to see Your hand at work around me.
Read Jeremiah 12:1–17
12 You are always righteous, Lord,
when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease?
2 You have planted them, and they have taken root;
they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
but far from their hearts.
3 Yet you know me, Lord;
you see me and test my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!
Set them apart for the day of slaughter!
4 How long will the land lie parched
and the grass in every field be withered?
Because those who live in it are wicked,
the animals and birds have perished.
Moreover, the people are saying,
“He will not see what happens to us.”
5 “If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?
6 Your relatives, members of your own family—
even they have betrayed you;
they have raised a loud cry against you.
Do not trust them,
though they speak well of you.
7 “I will forsake my house,
abandon my inheritance;
I will give the one I love
into the hands of her enemies.
8 My inheritance has become to me
like a lion in the forest.
She roars at me;
therefore I hate her.
9 Has not my inheritance become to me
like a speckled bird of prey
that other birds of prey surround and attack?
Go and gather all the wild beasts;
bring them to devour.
10 Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard
and trample down my field;
they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland.
11 It will be made a wasteland,
parched and desolate before me;
the whole land will be laid waste
because there is no one who cares.
12 Over all the barren heights in the desert
destroyers will swarm,
for the sword of the Lord will devour
from one end of the land to the other;
no one will be safe.
13 They will sow wheat but reap thorns;
they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.
They will bear the shame of their harvest
because of the Lord’s fierce anger.”
14 This is what the Lord says: “As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance I gave my people Israel, I will uproot them from their lands and I will uproot the people of Judah from among them. 15 But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. 16 And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’—even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal—then they will be established among my people. 17 But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThese are challenging verses! What might God be angry about in our world?
Life isn’t fair! Why do some people who don’t seem to care about God have such great lives? That was what Jeremiah wanted to know (1,2). Why didn’t God do something to punish them (3)? God’s answer wasn’t good news for Jeremiah (5,6)! But it does reveal something of God’s own pain as he looks at this world.
Things weren’t about to get easier. Jeremiah couldn’t even trust those closest to him (6). But God’s concerns and his own betrayal were greater issues than those facing Jeremiah. His righteousness and justice meant that, at last, he would turn away from his unfaithful, chosen people—his inheritance—whom he loved (7–9). God describes a desolate landscape where “no one cares” and people feel unsafe (11,12). As the enemies invaded, his people would reap the results of their disregard of God (13).
Yet, there is good news. In the midst of hard times, God was on Jeremiah’s side (3a). And, for the future, God would be merciful and stay faithful to his covenant with his people. One day, God would bring them home to their own country (15). And, even those who had led them into idolatry would be welcomed into God’s family if they listened to him (16).
Are you enduring difficult times? Where do you see glimpses of God’s good news? Make a list of your blessings today.
Praise God; ask him for his strength to live faithfully.