Jeremiah 12

When we find it hard to understand God’s providences toward wicked men,
we should remember His sure Word that “whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
God often lets wicked men have a time of prosperity that by their pride and luxury they might fill up the measure of their iniquity,
and so be ripening for a terrible destruction.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

8 Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it.

9 Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.

10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

17 But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 12:1—Righteous art Thou, O LORD:… Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper?

​   “Let me talk with thee.” Religion is often misrepresented as unreasonable. But there is nothing to warrant the charge. On the contrary, the perpetual note of the Scriptures is, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). Doubtless there are many things revealed which never could have been discovered by reason, but there is nothing which may not be apprehended and appreciated by it. Man’s reason was made in the image of God’s. At present, however, our reasoning faculties are probably in their earliest stage of development, and we are much as infants admitted to some scientific laboratory or library.
   God demands that we should use our reason, not only on the facts of nature, but on those revealed in the Bible. He likes us to reason out things with Him. Much better this than to reason against Him. If instead of turning from Him to discuss with each other, men would only turn to Him, there would be given them either an insight into his ways, or grace to wait and trust. Job, Moses, Asaph, and Jeremiah did this; and with them all the same problem troubled them, Why do the wicked prosper?
   But there is one fact which can never be questioned. We must always begin our reasoning by saying, “Righteous art thou, O LORD.” This is a foundation fact which underlies his throne. We cannot question it. By the very conscience which He has put within us, and by the whole trend and drift of his Providence, he has put his Righteousness beyond question. As Abraham said, the Judge of all the earth must do right. But when we grant this, we may proceed to ask how certain facts which are permitted in the world are consistent with it. He may explain: or He may say, Not now, but presently. —Our Daily Homily