Righteous are you, O Lord,
when I complain to you;
yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
and far from their heart.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Jeremiah begins Chapter 11 with more of God’s complaints against Judah. They have broken his Covenant – the Covenant he made with His people after he rescued them from Egypt. After the law was given and the people were about to enter into the promised land, Moses reminded them of the Covenant. Deuteronomy 28 lists the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience. Even after Judah watched Israel fall – they still did not heed Jeremiah’s warning that the curses of Deuteronomy 28 were soon to fall upon them as well.
The people of Judah hated Jeremiah’s message, and men from Jeremiah’s hometown conspired to kill him but the Omniscient God warned Jeremiah and vowed to protect His word and His prophet (Jer. 11:19-23).
We find Jesus, in the beginning of John 16, also warning of trouble to come. He warned his disciples that they will suffer persecution. It would seem that walking in obedience is not an easy road!
I think we can resonate with Jeremiah when he complains to God in the beginning of Chapter 12 that it doesn’t seem fair when the evil ones prosper in this world. Jeremiah asks, “How Long?” How long before we see justice? How long before you make things right? How Long?
God rebukes Jeremiah and warns that things will get worse before they get better – but God’s final word is never one of wrath for His covenant people. He promises in 12:14-15 that after his people are scattered – he will pluck them up and have compassion on them.
This was Jeremiah’s hope. But we have a hope that Jeremiah wouldn’t see in his lifetime. When Jesus was speaking to his disciples about a joy that would come after sorrow (John 16:16-22) – they didn’t understand that he was speaking of his death and resurrection. But we know. We know the joy of his resurrection and the hope of his return. We have the Helper to guide us into all truth and give us the strength to persevere through the sorrows of this world.