Monday, April 18
Jeremiah is the only prophet who allows a look inside the prophet’s heart. Sometimes God responds (12:5-6) sometimes the lament stands alone (20:7-18).
What do you like or dislike about the soul of this prophet?
What do you like or dislike about God’s response to Jeremiah in 12:5-6?
Do you express your innermost thoughts to God?
Jeremiah Complains to God
12 You will be in the right, O Lord,
when I lay charges against you;
but let me put my case to you.
Why does the way of the guilty prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
2 You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and bring forth fruit;
you are near in their mouths
yet far from their hearts.
3 But you, O Lord, know me;
You see me and test me—my heart is with you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
4 How long will the land mourn,
and the grass of every field wither?
For the wickedness of those who live in it
the animals and the birds are swept away,
and because people said, “He is blind to our ways.”[a]
God Replies to Jeremiah
5 If you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you,
how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you fall down,
how will you fare in the thickets of the Jordan?
6 For even your kinsfolk and your own family,
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.
Jeremiah Denounces His Persecutors
7 O Lord, you have enticed me,
and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me,
and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day long;
everyone mocks me.
8 For whenever I speak, I must cry out,
I must shout, “Violence and destruction!”
For the word of the Lord has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.
9 If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
then within me there is something like a burning fire
shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
10 For I hear many whispering:
“Terror is all around!
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
All my close friends
are watching for me to stumble.
“Perhaps he can be enticed,
and we can prevail against him,
and take our revenge on him.”
11 But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble,
and they will not prevail.
They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor
will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous,
you see the heart and the mind;
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
13 Sing to the Lord;
praise the Lord!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hands of evildoers.
14 Cursed be the day
on which I was born!
The day when my mother bore me,
let it not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man
who brought the news to my father, saying,
“A child is born to you, a son,”
making him very glad.
16 Let that man be like the cities
that the Lord overthrew without pity;
let him hear a cry in the morning
and an alarm at noon,
17 because he did not kill me in the womb;
so my mother would have been my grave,
and her womb forever great.
18 Why did I come forth from the womb
to see toil and sorrow,
and spend my days in shame?