We will begin this lesson in Jeremiah 12:1 "Righteous [art] thou,
O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of [thy]
judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? [wherefore]
are all they happy that deal very treacherously?"

     In the previous lesson, we saw the grief of Jeremiah over what
was happening to these people. Jeremiah recognizes the fact at the
beginning of this verse, that the LORD is Righteous. God will allow us
to ask questions, but not to question His judgement. Notice, in the
following Scripture, that the judgements of the Lord are righteous.
Revelation 16:7 "And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so,
Lord God Almighty, true and righteous [are] thy judgments."  It seems
to Jeremiah that the heathen {wicked} of the world are the ones who
prosper. Many of us have thought the same thing from time to time. The
reason we feel this way, is because we do not see the end, we just see
the present. The end of Babylon is much worse than the destruction
which comes on Jerusalem and Judah here. Jerusalem and Judah are
restored from the remnant God left. Babylon will never be again, after
their destruction. God is loving, kind, gentle, forgiving, but He is
also just in His judgement. These Hebrews have committed spiritual
adultery, they must be punished.  Men may cry for justice, but what
they truly want is mercy.

     Jeremiah 12:2 "Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root:
they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou [art] near in their
mouth, and far from their reins."

     "Being far from their reins" just means that they are not being
directed of God. The reins direct a horse where he should go. The
control, here, is of the heart. The heart is really what a person is.
They do not have God in their hearts. All mankind was created by God.
In that sense, God planted them. They have grown, but it is a physical
growth, not a growth in God.

     Jeremiah 12:3 "But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me,
and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the
slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter."

     Jeremiah is aware that God knows all about him. He had been
obedient to the call God had made upon him. Jeremiah is very angry
with the Babylonians, who come and do this terrible thing.  Jeremiah
is saying, Lord sacrifice these evil ones, and not your family.
He does not understand that the problems that have come on Judah and
Jerusalem are to make them return to God.

     Jeremiah 12:4 "How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of
every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the
beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not
see our last end."

     Jeremiah wants to see immediate restoration to the land of Judah
and Benjamin. He is pointing out to God the great destruction that
took place, as if God did not already know. This destruction of the
crops, perhaps, had something to do with a drought, as well as the
overrun by the army.

     Jeremiah 12:5  "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have
wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and [if] in the
land of peace, [wherein] thou trustedst, [they wearied thee], then how
wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?"

     It appears that Jeremiah had gotten weary, before the race was
over. I hear many people, today, complaining about their troubles. The
little inconveniences and troubles we are having, now, will pale in
comparison to the great tribulation. This is the very same thing as in
the verse above. The swelling of Jordan is speaking of an even more
difficult time. It was sometimes a dangerous thing to cross Jordan.
The possibility of the lions attacking, coupled with the threat of
flood waters caused the danger. If they or any other person cannot
handle the little problems of life, how can they handle the big

     Jeremiah 12:6 "For even thy brethren, and the house of thy
father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have
called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak
fair words unto thee."

     We see in this Scripture, that Jeremiah had members of his own
family who did not believe he was a prophet. They said, they loved
Jeremiah, but they did not support Jeremiah's choice to follow God.
Jeremiah was in very good company in this. Jesus' half-brothers did
not believe Jesus was the Messiah, until He arose from the tomb.

     Jeremiah 12:7  "I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine
heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of
her enemies."

     There is a definite break in this from the last few verses. This
is the LORD saying, He has forsaken His house. His heritage is His
people. He has given His people over into the hands of their enemies.
Enemies is plural, so this indicates more than one country.

     Jeremiah 12:8 "Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest;
it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it."

     The lion in the forest attacks. This is what God's people have
done unto Him. They have sought other gods. They have been unfaithful
to Him. They have not feared and reverenced God. They have attacked
the very character of God. He suddenly is feeling wrath toward them. I
believe the "it" is speaking of their slander of God. God never
stopped loving His people. He removes His special care of them for a
time, to cause them to seek Him again.

     Jeremiah 12:9 "Mine heritage [is] unto me [as] a speckled bird,
the birds round about [are] against her; come ye, assemble all the
beasts of the field, come to devour."

     A speckled bird would be like one of no special species. This
would be the case, because they had given up exclusive worship of
Jehovah for worship of many false gods. An oddly marked bird will
cause the other birds to attack it. This is the case here. These
nations {birds} do come against Jerusalem and Judah to destroy them.
The beast of the field do come to devour, they are the heathen nations
that come to destroy.

     Jeremiah 12:10 "Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they
have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion
a desolate wilderness."

     We discovered in a previous lesson, that pastor was a tender of
the flock. It, also, means a keeper of the sheep. God's people are His
vineyard. Those God had left in charge over His vineyard, have
literally destroyed the vineyard. It is the very same thing as the
shepherd God had left caring for the sheep not feeding them the right
food. These pastors have not improved the spiritual side of these
people for God. They have, in fact, destroyed the people's
relationship with God. The 34th chapter of Ezekiel speaks of the same
thing. I will give you just one verse, but be sure to read it all.
Ezekiel 34:2 " Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel,
prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the
shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed
themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?"  This speaks of
the problems, when Jeremiah spoke, but it also deals with problems in
our churches today. Pastors should feed spiritual food to God's
congregation. They need a relationship with God, not religion.

     Jeremiah 12:11 "They have made it desolate, [and being] desolate
it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man
layeth [it] to heart."

     The moral sickness in our land today, and in Israel then, is the
same. Someone has to raise a standard of righteousness. There was no
one who did that then. I pray there will be someone come forth, who
will do something now. Our land is sick. The only cure is national
revival. Someone has to lead the way. Are you that one?

     Jeremiah 12:12 "The spoilers are come upon all high places
through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from
the [one] end of the land even to the [other] end of the land: no
flesh shall have peace."

     The "Sword of the LORD" is the Word of God. Vengeance of God was
carried out by the Babylonians, but it was really God. All of the
false worship in the high places was totally destroyed. Do you get the
picture? The Word of God can clean out all corruption in our land, as
well. The Word of God is the most powerful weapon there is against all
enemies. Crucify the flesh, that the spirit might live.

     Jeremiah 12:13 "They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they
have put themselves to pain, [but] shall not profit: and they shall be
ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD."

     Nothing prospers without the blessings of God. You can plant a
seed in the ground, but it is God that causes it to grow. When God is
angry, there is nothing you can do to benefit yourself, or anyone

     Jeremiah 12:14  "Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil
neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people
Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and
pluck out the house of Judah from among them."

     This looks ahead to the time that the LORD will come against the
enemies of His people. God will destroy their captors, and restore
Judah and Jerusalem to His people. God will take vengeance on the
heathens who took them captive. It is God who will take His people
away from the heathen captors.

     Jeremiah 12:15 "And it shall come to pass, after that I have
plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will
bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his

     God does not tell them when, but He does tell them He will
forgive them, and bring them back into the promised land. All who have
lived through the captivity, and all of their children, will be
forgiven of God and restored to their land. God is a God of judgement,
but He is, also, a God of forgiveness and salvation. This promises
unmerited favor from God.

     Jeremiah 12:16 "And it shall come to pass, if they will
diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD
liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be
built in the midst of my people."

     We see in this, that God offers forgiveness to the heathen, as
well as His people, if they will turn from the worship of Baal to
worshipping the One true God. This is an opening to God for the

     Jeremiah 12:17 "But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck
up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD."

     God is just to all mankind. He offered salvation to them. God
will not impose His will on others. It is their own choice to follow
God, or not. If they choose not to follow God, He will destroy them.
The nation, who refuses to worship God, will be destroyed.

                         Jeremiah 13 Questions

1.  What is the first thing Jeremiah recognizes about God in verse 1?
2.  God will allow us to ask questions, but He will not allow us to
    question His _____________.
3.  Quote Revelation chapter 16 verse 7.
4.  It seems to Jeremiah that the __________ of this world are the
    ones who prosper.
5.  Why do we feel this way sometimes, too?
6.  Men cry out for _____________, but what they truly want is ______.
7.  What does "being far from their reigns" mean?
8.  What does Jeremiah not understand about the Babylonian attack?
9.  Jeremiah had gotten __________, before the race was over.
10. The little problems we face now will pale in comparison to the
    _________ ____________.
11. Who, in verse 6, are opposed to Jeremiah?
12. God's heritage is compared to what animal, in verse 8?
13. Why does God remove His special care from His people for awhile?
14. An oddly marked bird will cause the other birds to do what?
15. Who is God's vineyard?
16. What chapter in Ezekiel speaks of shepherds who have not cared for
    their sheep?
17. The moral sickness in our land today is the same as what?
18. Are you the one to do something about it?
19. What is the "Sword of the LORD"?
20. What causes a plant to grow?
21. What happens to the enemies of God's inheritance?
22. After God has allowed them to be punished, what wonderful thing
    does He do for them?
23. Who does God offer forgiveness to, besides His heritage?