The Way of The Wicked Doesn’t Prosper

The idea of hell and judgment are nowhere to be found in Betty Eadie’s bestseller, Embraced By The Light, on the N.Y. Times bestseller list for more than 40 weeks, including 5 weeks as #1. In November 1973, Eadie allegedly died after undergoing a hysterectomy, and returned … More

Judgment

Jeremiah wanted to know why a holy God would allow the false prophets and unfaithful priests to prosper if God was angry with their sins (vv. 1-4). His question, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” was also asked by Job, the psalmist and other prophets besides Jeremiah. Jeremiah was concerned for his people. He saw vegetation withering, animals dying, and the land parched while evil leaders were prospering from the losses of others.

God was not operating on man’s terms but the challenges Jeremiah faced were for building character and thereby maturing him in the Lord (vv. 5-6). He illustrated this with Jeremiah racing with mere men on foot and complaining about that. If then wearied, how would he race against horses, the king, his court and his evil priests? Or if Jeremiah stumbled in a safe place, how would he endure if he were in the dense growth like along the Jordan River?

Jeremiah boldly declared God’s judgment upon the nation (vv. 7-17). God said, if the heathen nations quickly learn God’s people’s ways and claim God as their God in place of Baal then they would be strong among God’s people. However, any nation refusing to obey God will be expelled again and finished said the Lord. “But if any nation will not hear and obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, says the Lord (v. 17).”

Application

Our enemy, Satan, and the world are against God and His people today just as in Jeremiah’s day. How can I fearlessly and courageously declare God’s standard of judgment upon sin with patience, gentleness and commitment to loving the Lord and the souls of people in the place God has me now.

Jeremiah 12:1-17 (English Standard Version)

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. But you, O LORD, know me; you see me, and test my heart toward you. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and set them apart for the day of slaughter. How long will the land mourn and the grass of every field wither? For the evil of those who dwell in it the beasts and the birds are swept away, because they said, "He will not see our latter end." "If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you; do not believe them, though they speak friendly words to you." "I have forsaken my house; I have abandoned my heritage; I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies. My heritage has become to me like a lion in the forest; she has lifted up her voice against me; therefore I hate her. Is my heritage to me like a hyena's lair? Are the birds of prey against her all around? Go, assemble all the wild beasts; bring them to devour. Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard; they have trampled down my portion; they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. They have made it a desolation; desolate, it mourns to me. The whole land is made desolate, but no man lays it to heart. Upon all the bare heights in the desert destroyers have come, for the sword of the LORD devours from one end of the land to the other; no flesh has peace. They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns; they have tired themselves out but profit nothing. They shall be ashamed of their harvests because of the fierce anger of the LORD." Thus says the LORD concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: "Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land. And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, 'As the LORD lives,' even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people. But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the LORD."

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