Jeremiah wonders why the wicked prosper. The Lord tells Jeremiah not to grow weary because He has a plan and Jeremiah is part of His plan, but it will be a long, hard road.
God says that He will punish all of Israel’s evil neighbors, but they too will have a chance to be redeemed – “‘And it shall be, if they will learn carefully the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people. But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation,’ says the Lord.”
The Lord has Jeremiah purchase a sash and wear it as a symbolic act of His message. Then He tells Jeremiah to go to the Euphrates and bury the sash. After some time, the Lord has him return and dig it up; thus illustrating how the Lord is going to destroy the pride of the people who at one time clung to Him, as the sash did Jeremiah’s waist, but left Him for pagan worship.
Then, as another symbolic picture, Jeremiah instructs the people to fill their jugs with wine. For as wine leads to drunkenness, the sins of the people will lead to their destruction.
In an attempt to lead the people to repentance, the Lord sends a drought. He tells Jeremiah not to intercede for them because judgment for their sins was inevitable. The false prophets, who keep telling the people that all is fine when it is not fine, will also experience God’s wrath, for they do not speak the word of the Lord but lies.
Jeremiah asks if the Lord has totally rejected Judah, and he prays for healing. The Lord says at this point, not even Moses or Samuel could intercede for them because King Manasseh led Judah to such a state of corruption that the people have completely abandoned the Lord. Therefore some will die by sword, some by famine, and some will be taken into captivity.
We end the reading with Jeremiah struggling because he is despised for speaking the words of the Lord – “O Lord, You know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In Your enduring patience, do not take me away. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke. Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts. I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand, for You have filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail?”
The Lord responds to His faithful servant, Jeremiah – “I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; and they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you to save you and deliver you… I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”
Those called by the Lord will experience opposition and persecution in this world. And although the Lord’s calling upon your life may be a hard road to follow, the Lord promises to carry you through it till the end. God always provides salvation for those who walk with Him by faith, trusting that He is using all things, even the tough trials, to accomplish His good plans and purposes.
More from Jeremiah tomorrow. Keep reading. (Jeremiah 12:1-15:21)