“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 heart and far from their heart” (12:1b-2, ESV).
In response, God seems to say, “If you think this is bad, just wait!”
“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” (12:5)?
Again God seems to be saying, “It is too late; things will only get worse.”
“I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies…she has lifted up her voice against me; therefore I hate her” (12:7b-8b).
As we agonize through Jeremiah at the calamitous fall of Israel from God’s beloved to complete disunity from God, rejection and judgment (read Chapter 13!), we have been asking, as always in this series, how might this compare with the disunity in America and in the church of Jesus the Messiah?
My feeling is that Jeremiah’s complaint more closely describes America today than the church. Why?
Because the wicked are surely prospering in America, bent fully on destruction of the republic as we know it in favor of a godless one-world government. It is in America where a voice is lifted up against God and all that he holds dear.
The church, on the other hand, especially on this 500th anniversary of the Reformation, is made up of true believers in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in disunity on all sides, but it is still waiting for the tools and inspiration to rise above our differences in perfect unity.
The church is aware of its shortcomings and is able to repent of its divisive ways:
“Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you” (14:7).
This repentance is vibrant in the church on a personal basis, even if not on a unified corporate basis:
“Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things” (14:22).
But if God is encouraged by individual believers, how does he feel as America has lifted up its voice against him in more and more ways?
“’Let my eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease, for the virgin daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound, with a grievous blow” (14:17).
Out pours the never-ending love of God, the very key to the Cycle!
God knows the location of every true believer in his son Jesus the Messiah, and here is his promise to his children, his bride, surrounded by growing rebellion against God:
“Behold, I will pluck them up from the land…I will have compassion on them…if they will diligently learn the way of my people, to swear by my name…even as they taught my people to swear by [godless idols like technology and killing unborn babies], they shall be built up in the midst [of the godlessness surrounding them]” (12:13-16, brackets my modern interpretation).
This is the promise of restoration to the good guys, to individual believers in a chaotic country.
What follows immediately is his warning to anyone who even touches his children, his bride, with evil intent:
“But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord” (12:17).
Individual true believers in Jesus the Messiah make God very, very happy, and will one day be in perfect unity together.
America has an important choice to make as a nation. Will we make God leap for joy in our repentance or weep endless tears in the tragedy of judgment?