Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20050112.htm
JEREMIAH: STAYING UPRIGHT AMIDST EVIL PRESSURES
Part IV: Prophecies Concerning Judah
K. Properly Handling Vicious Reprisals From FAMILY Members For Doing God's Will
(Jeremiah 12:1-6 in light of Jeremiah 11:1-23)
Lesson: When Jeremiah was viciously opposed not only by his priestly colleagues but even by his relatives, he was NOT to get BOGGED DOWN by WORLDLY concerns over earthly lust gratification issues that so often harms one's spiritual walk; rather, he was to HEED GOD his ultimate objective!
- The Apostle Paul predicted that all who live godly lives will be persecuted for it, 2 Timothy 3:12.
- Well, facing persecution from coarse sinners with whom we have no personal ties is much easier than facing it from colleagues who know God's truth but who resist our obeying the Lord (Jeremiah 11:1-23).
- Even more difficult is the trial of facing such persecution from family members; Jeremiah had to bear such a cross, and we gain insight from his experience in doing so from Jeremiah 12:1-6 as follows:
- Properly Handling Vicious Reprisals From FAMILY Members For Doing God's Will, Jer. 12:1-6.
- After Jeremiah learned of the plot by fellow priests in his hometown of Anathoth to kill him for his words that critiqued Judah's turning to idols after Josiah's reform (Jer. 11:1-23 - last lesson), Jeremiah expressed dismay to God over the temporal material prosperity of his foes, 12:1; Bib. Know. Com., O. T., p. 1144.
- This complaint revealed that some of the false worldly viewpoint of his foes had rubbed off on Jeremiah, negatively impacting his happiness and effectiveness in ministering unto the Lord (Jeremiah 12:2-4):
- Jeremiah expressed a high a value on temporal prosperity seen in his complaining to God about how his foes who had been divinely doomed (cf. Jeremiah 11:21-23) enjoyed such temporal prosperity:
- God had already pledged to take vengeance for Jeremiah upon his foes at Anathoth, Jer. 11:21-23.
- Yet, Jeremiah was upset at the temporal prosperity of these evil foes before that judgment, 12:2!
- Thus, Jeremiah urged God to drag these evildoers off like sheep to be slaughtered similar to how they had planned to treat him in leading Jeremiah like a lamb to the slaughter, 12:3 with 11:20; Ibid.
- This high concern about his foes' temporal prosperity was itself a form of evil worldliness that had originated in his foes and had been in part adopted by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 12:4-5!
- Jeremiah asked God how long the land would have to put up with the evil of his foes, for they felt God was indifferent to their sin and would not care what happened to them in the end, Jer. 12:4.
- Thus, the focus of these foes on this temporal life had led them to doubt God would hold them accountable in the end, a form of worldliness, cf. 1 John 2:15-17a; this mindset in turn had infected Jeremiah' own viewpoint that he in turn had complained to God about their temporal prosperity!
- God addressed this sin in Jeremiah, JARRING him into realizing the futility of putting a high value on this temporal life so as to lead him to trust God without being concerned over temporal prosperity, 12:5f:
- God responded, using "two metaphors" (Ibid., p. 1145) to make the point that Jeremiah's faith in God was CURRENTLY too weak for the rigors of the ministry he yet had to face (as follows):
- God asked if Jeremiah had run with men and was tired what he would do when he faced horses, 5a.
- God then asked him if he had become weary in a land of peace, how would he fare in war when one's path in life would be as difficult as trying to negotiate a path through Jordan's thickets, 12:5b.
- Then, applying these metaphors to his situation, God revealed Jeremiah's problem was worse than he knew: God wondered how he would handle realizing that not only were his townspeople against him, but even his relatives had plotted to kill him! (12:6a) God revealed Jeremiah's getting bogged down by the lust for temporal prosperity was too trivial a concern in view of the stakes he actually faced!
- God thus inferred Jeremiah was to trust God and let Him deal out justice without Jeremiah's getting all lathered over lusting for temporal prosperity in his foes, be they his townsmen or his relatives!
- Then the Lord urged Jeremiah not to trust even his relatives, but to heed and trust Him, Jer. 12:6b.
Application: May we forsake placing a value on TEMPORAL blessings that so often trips us up in our walk with God when conflicts with CLOSE colleagues or RELATIVES arise! We must focus WHOLLY on loving and heeding God so that we stay true to HIM even in such difficult battles!