Week 43 Day 5
Thursday (Jeremiah 11:18 – 22)
Jeremiah confronted the people with the Lord’s summary of choices and consequences.
Jeremiah shared God’s description of the terrible end for Jerusalem and Judah.
Jeremiah asked the Lord for a wisdom-teaching “Lord, you have always been fair whenever I have complained to you. However, I would like to speak with you about the disposition of justice. Why are wicked people successful? Why do all dishonest people have such easy lives? … The Lord answered, “If you have raced on foot against men and they have worn you out, how will you be able to compete with horses? And if you feel secure only in safe and open country, how will you manage in the thick undergrowth along the Jordan River?” – essentially, he was reminded that it was not in his strength or wisdom that he would complete the ministry of God.
Jeremiah was told how to reply when the people feigned ignorance of the reason for their terrible punishment “Why has the Lord threatened us with such great disaster? What wrong have we done? What sin have we done to offend the Lord our God?’” he was to “… tell them that the Lord says, ‘It is because your ancestors rejected me and paid allegiance to other gods. They have served them and worshiped them. But they have rejected me and not obeyed my law. And you have acted even more wickedly than your ancestors! Each one of you has followed the stubborn inclinations of your own wicked heart and not obeyed me.”
The Lord promised to have Jeremiah’s back – and He demonstrated it to Jeremiah – first making him aware of a secret plot against him, then describing the terrible consequences for the plotters. (The blessing and suffering experienced by the people was always linked to their obedience.)
Jeremiah was publicly flogged and placed in the stocks at the order of the priest who was responsible for Temple security. When was released he announced the Lord’s specific curse upon that priest, his family, and his friends.
Is it possible that the Lord allowed the flogging of Jeremiah to jog him loose from his reluctance to pronounce condemnation upon the rebellious people?
When the term “destined” was used it did not imply fatalistic-predestination but merely God’s perfect awareness of where their choices and circumstances would lead. Just as the fire of hell is described as “never going out”, so it was written here “… you have made my anger burn like a fire that will never be put out.”, but it isn’t intended to teach that God’s anger would literally rage eternally.
Dear Lord, The responsibility for the destiny of the people was upon them, You had given them generations of grace and now temporal justice and law had to be satisfied. May I recognize that You still balance grace and justice and that there is a difference between Your present-day chastising and hard-knocks teaching and Your perfect and final eternal judgment. Reveal to me a place in my life where fear has caused me to resist telling Your story and testifying to Your truth. Amen. dmc2016