Jeremiah 12 Judgment On Apostates And Pagan Nations, But Hope For Remnant.
Jeremiah declares the LORD as righteous when he pleads with him, but now he enters into some honest questions about how the LORD acts in history, about his judgments. Here Jeremiah is reminiscent of Job, questioning why those who only pay lip service to the LORD but act treacherously, nevertheless prosper and are seemingly secure (vv. 1-2). Then Jeremiah seeks to plead his integrity, and ask the LORD to bring judgment upon his enemies (v. 3), all because the whole land was suffering a covenantal curse based on the actions of these apostates (v. 4). The LORD’s answer is straight forward – Jeremiah needed to shape up, for if he was not up for the task of dealing with the apostates within the nation, what would he do when called to preach to the nations (v. 5). Even his own blood brothers were opposed to him, but he was not to believe their words, for they were empty (v. 6).
The LORD had forsaken his house, because they had forsaken him – honouring him with their lips but their hearts were given to idolatry, and the LORD used the nations to be instruments of his just punishment (vv. 7-9). Since no one was taking these matters seriously, to the heart or core, then it would continue until the land became desolate, devoid of true peace (vv. 10-12). They sowed grain and reaped thorns, they labour for nothing (v. 13). This also is a symbol, for the LORD planted them in the land (v. 2), but they produced no fruit to show a true change in them, instead there were only weeds (v. 13). However, the nations took no thought to the cause of Israel and Judah’s punishment, so they also would be plucked up like weeds, and scattered abroad. Then a remnant of the covenant people would return to the promised land (v. 16). This is how the LORD has always acted (v. 17).