Jeremiah 12:2 Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
Jeremiah 11:3 And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,
Jeremiah 11:4 Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:
Jeremiah Chapter 12
I was listening to a Christian radio station, and heard two questions given by a seminary professor after studying the book of Jeremiah. These two “important questions were:
1.) Jeremiah stood at the gate of the temple and spoke of specific sins that were committed by the people of Judah, and therefore would suffer God’s judgment.
2.) Are you prepared to face the judgment for your sins?
I was appalled that a distinguished professor would think these were the most important questions one would ponder after studying Jeremiah.
First, the sins were not the reason for the judgment, anymore than a gun is the reason for murder. The people faced judgment because they chose their own “conventional wisdom” over God’s Word. The sin was the result of this choice.
Secondly, if we choose conventional wisdom over God’s Word, we will face judgment weather we are prepared for it or not.
Judah’s conventional wisdom came from three main voices
1.) Voice of the False Prophets: Ezekiel 13:3, 10; Jeremiah 27:15
False Prophets deny God’s Word with their message: Jerusalem will not be destroyed
This we would call today a “positive message”
2.) Voice of Contemporary Psychology: Jeremiah 29:29-30; Ezekiel 18:10
Excuses - “Fathers have eaten sour grapes and their children’s teeth are set on edge” – Our fathers were idolaters, and that is the reason we practice idolatry. Today, it is also a denial of individual responsibility. (Example: Blame it on parents, culture, Christians, etc.)
3.) Voice of the Danger of Idolatry – Attribute God’s Power and Majesty to idols
Josiah, the last good King of Judah had caused reform at the height of Judah’s decline. Josiah destroyed the high places where idolatry and religious sexual orgies, as well as, the sacrificing of children to their idols. Josiah also took up an offering and completely remodled the neglected temple in Jerusalem. During this remodeling, the lost Book of the Law was found and read to the King. Josiah had instigated reformation without knowledge of God’s Written Word, but after God’s Word was found, and read to the King, Josiah repented.
Josiah, then, caused the Word of God to be read to the priests and all the people of the land. The people became very religious, and even agreed to a covenant with Josiah and God, but unfortunately, the people did not repent of their idols.
Religion broke out in Jerusalem, and it is recorded in II Chronicles:
II Chronicles 35: 16 So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the LORD, according to the commandment of king Josiah.
II Chronicles 35: 17 And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.
II Chronicles 35: 18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah
God is not happy with an outward acknowledgement of Him and empty praise. This caused Jeremiah to say:
Jeremiah 12:2 …. thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
In other words, the people were going to the temple and worshipping
God on the Sabbath, but worshipping their idols and conducting their lives according to the dictates of their evil heart during the rest of the week. Does this sound familiar? This is religion, but far from the covenant God gave the Israelites.
The good king, Josiah, made an error and was killed in battle. A series of four evil kings reigned in Judah until judgment day. These kings and all the people rejected God’s Word and His prophet. Jeremiah suffered much during this time
Have you noticed the hatred for Christians today? The United States is in the process of rewriting its own history. The revolution was born out of a revival, not the enlightenment, as the French revolution. This rewriting of history, sadly, is great evidence that the federation is choosing their own “conventional wisdom” over God’s Word. If there is no repentance, judgment will be its future.
But the Righteous God does not completely forsake the people of Judah, he only “sets them aside” for a time period, while God’s overall plan unfolds. Jeremiah refered to these people as a “green olive tree” that had angered the Lord..
Jeremiah 11:16 The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
Jeremiah 11:17 For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.
The Apostle Paul expanded on this and gave us the application in the Book of Romans. We have included this application at the end of this lesson.
I. A Question For The Righteous God
Jeremiah 12:1 ¶ Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?
Jeremiah does not understand why the people who want to torture and kill Jeremiah are allowed by God to prosper. Many ask God this same question today. God is the One to ask this question. While an answer may not be there until later, God will give peace on this allowance.
II A Comparison Between:
A. Those Who Adhere To “Conventional Wisdom” And Torture Jeremiah
Jeremiah 12:2 Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
B. Jeremiah And Those Whose Heart Is Toward God
Jeremiah 12:3 But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.
Jeremiah 12:4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.
Because the people believed the words of the false prophets over God’s Word, (That Jerusalem would not be destroyed), they faced drought and famine, because they did not believe God was in ultimate control of everything.
IV. God’s Answer To Jeremiah
Jeremiah 12:5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?
Basically, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Hebrew word picture here is asking Jeremiah, if the footman (people who have come against you in Anathoth), wait until you experience the hatred from the horsemen (The people who will come against you much more in Jerusalem)
If you think you have had trouble in the “Land of Peace”, (Those people who have come against you in Anathoth), just wait until you experience the land of “The Swelling Of The Jordan” (The woods in which wild beasts roam)
Evidently, the Jordan River overflows and floods at or around harvest time. Over the years, this has produced a heavily wooded area and brush in which lions and other beasts can hide and hunt prey. In fact, the river, in many places, could not be seen without crossing a significant portion of the woods.
V. Just Wait – Even Your Own Family
Jeremiah 12:6 For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee.
Christ went through the same type of thing as Jeremiah did.
Psalm 69:8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
John 7:5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.
The Ungodly Dispises The Person Who Will Not Compromise With God’s Word.
VI. God’s Dearly Beloved
Jeremiah 12:7 ¶ I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies.
God dearly loves His people, but they face righteous judgment because of their own choosing. The Righteous One does not withhold love or righteous judgment.
VII. God’s Heritage
Jeremiah 12:8 Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it.
God’s heritage behaves towards God like a lion roaring at Him, It is so annoying that He leaves that place
Jeremiah 12:9 Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird<05861>, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.
05861 עיט ‘ayit ah’ yit - from 05860; n m;
fowl 4, bird 2, ravenous bird 2; 8
1) bird of prey, a swooper
A bird that is different from the rest is hated and picked on by the rest who basically all look alike. What made Judah different from the nations surrounding her, was The Word of God. Judah stuck out like the speckeled bird. God protected His heritage, but they desired to be like the Heathen surrounding them. God allowed the other birds to dine on the unfaithful speckled bird.
VIII. God’s Vineyard
Jeremiah 12:10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
Jeremiah 12:11 They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart.
Isaiah prophesied using this same metaphor (Of the vineyard)
Isaiah 5:1 ¶ Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
Isaiah 5:5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
IX. It Is God Who Pronounces Judgment On His People
Jeremiah 12:12 The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace.
Jeremiah 12:13 They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
X. It Is God Who Pronounces Judgment On The Heathen
Jeremiah 12:14 ¶ Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them.
XI. But God Judges Righteous Judgment
Jeremiah 12:15 And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land.
Jeremiah 12:16 And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people.
Jeremiah 12:17 But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.
XII. The Green Olive Tree And The Wild Olive Tree
Romans 11:2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
Romans 11:3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
Romans 11:4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Romans 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
Romans 11:8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
Romans 11:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
Romans 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Romans 11:12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Romans 11:14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
Romans 11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
Romans 11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Romans 11:18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Romans 11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
Romans 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
Romans 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
Romans 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
Romans 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Romans 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Romans 11:28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Romans 11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Romans 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
Romans 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
Romans 11:33 ¶ O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Romans 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Romans 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.