Today’s three chapters break neatly across three unique themes. Chapter 10 focuses on the folly of idolatry compared to worshipping the God who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom… None of this is unfamiliar territory, but there is a spiral effect at work: each time idolatry, injustice, and Jeremiah’s intercession are addressed, the tone is just a bit sharper, the rebuke a little stronger.
In chapter 11 the LORD uses a fascinating descriptor: “A conspiracy exists,” He says, “among the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem… The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers.” This reminds us that, from the LORD’s perspective, obedience to Him was not a choice; for Israel, for Judah, it was not one option among many. Therefore, “What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done many vile deeds?” In fact, he again commands Jeremiah, “Do not pray for this people… for I will not listen.” The coming disaster that they cannot escape, is – from the LORD’s perspective – deserved.
In chapter 12 Jeremiah again raises his voice in complaint: “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” Read what follows closely. This is not an abstract complaint about the state of the world. This is a criticism of how the LORD manages things: “…You plant them, and they take root; they grow and produce fruit…” Listen just as intently to the LORD’s response: there is a gentle reprimand of the prophet, a greater rebuke of his nation, and finally a promise that justice will have the final say.
As I’ve often reminded, the subject of this Bible is the LORD. It is not Judah, or Jeremiah, or the voice out of the north country. The primary subject is neither Judah’s failure nor Jeremiah’s despair. This was sublimely affirmed in yesterday’s benediction: “but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” I encourage you to listen intently to how His words reveal His character and priorities in today’s passage.
Our verse for this week is Lamentations 3:22-23: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Jeremiah 10 through 12. Now let’s read it!
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.