Have you ever caught yourself wondering the same thing Jeremiah questioned God about? Sometimes it’s hard not to compare ourselves to others who have more “stuff” than we do. That’s why God gave us the commandment to be careful with coveting. Yet, I was surprised by Jeremiah’s honest questions before God. “Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy?”
It must have been hard for Jeremiah to look around at all the lavish living going on around him, knowing that those same people were all but snubbing God. He said, “You have planted them, and they have taken root and prospered. Your name is on their lips, but you are far from their hearts.” Jeremiah wanted to know where the justice was. Why do some people seem to have it so easy?
It can be dangerous to be chosen by God for service. Jeremiah learns about the threats to his life directly from God who also promises to punish these offenders. Have you ever been fearful to share your faith or do the work you are doing for the kingdom?
I wasn’t concerned until I read something recently that I live in one of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted. According to an article in Christianity Today, Mexico is 37th of the 50 countries on a watch list for extreme persecution. Despite that, I do not feel unsafe. I have confidence in the one who is fighting my battles.
How brilliant! God uses Jeremiah remind the people to remember the covenant. It is clear from their behavior that they have not given much thought to this covenant in some time. Maybe ever! The people have no excuse, the answers to life found in the covenant aren’t hidden from them.
“Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant!” Do they even fear or tremble at the curse? Does being obedient to God “show up on their radar” as something they aspire to be better at doing? If so, then they still have a chance to be saved from doom.
Jeremiah will witness the very thing he is preaching about. I wonder when he figured out that he wasn’t warning the people of something that would happen way into the future. His words were nearly coming true as he said them. My heart breaks for him being separated from his children never to see them again. I can relate to being apart from my kids now that they are grown, but we regularly connect thanks to the technical advances in visual communication!
But imagine the terror of uncertainty Jeremiah must have faced. Have you ever lived through a natural disaster or perhaps even lived in a war zone, where terror is fresh and real? Perhaps you were on high alert for something you expected to happen. It serves us well to see how Jeremiah handles this pressure.
What a description the LORD gives us of idol worship in Jeremiah’s day! Can’t you just picture how easily random pieces of wood became something people worshipped? So much emphasis was also placed on predictions of the stars that people’s minds were clouded from what mattered.
Our reading not only reveals idolatry for what it is in God’s eyes, but it reminds us who is sovereign and what we can do to help people who are misled by idols. It does us good to strengthen our own devotion to read Jeremiah’s words mixed in with God’s messages.