Devotional Commentary on Jeremiah 12


In this chapter, Jeremiah is fully aware that the Lord is right: “Righteous are You”. He then wants to speak to the Lord not only about the Investigative Judgment (rib) but also about the Executive Judgment (mishphath). “Because/when I will Investigatively [speak] to You specifically/restrictively  [ak] will I speak Judgments [plural]”. It is thus not the Investigative Judgment that is Jeremiah’s conversation with God, maybe because both of them already knows the verdict of Israel and Judah clearly; it is the punishment aspect of the Executive Judgment that he wants to talk about (verse 1).  Investigating the people of God’s relationship with God [since 1 Peter 4:17 says that the 1844 Investigative Judgment of biblical theology of Daniel 8:14 will start with the house of God not the outright evil] Jeremiah recognize that God is the Gardener “You have planted them” (verse 2a) but God is only in their mouths not in their thoughts (verse 2b).


As a faithful human, Jeremiah knows that in the Investigative Judgment [rib] with God, he will one day since 1844 also be included, so he says “and You have known me” (verse 3a). “You see me, and You try my heart with You” (verse 3b). If we are in a constant relationship with God, He sees us always. Sin will turn God away from us and all heavenly help that we could have gotten.


Jeremiah was speaking thus far but now in verse 3c it is the Lord speaking about the Executive Judgment: “Draw them out like sheep to the slaughter and prepare them for the day of slaughter”. The Day of the Lord [yom Yahweh] in the Bible is the hell described also in Revelation by John after the millennium. It is “because of the evil of the inhabitants” that animals “are ended”. The planned Executive Judgment of all evil by God is for cases like this in Jeremiah’s day: “For the said [the Lord is speaking]: ‘He will not see our end’” (verse 4). God is too gracious to condemn us, He will embrace us despite our sins and continuous planned sinful acts and licentious habits in a life of prosperity and secularism. That is what they are saying and thinking.


The Lord continues with Jeremiah saying that the punishment the people of God will get for their sins is that instead of running against footsoldiers how are they going to compete with horses? Instead of living in a peaceful land, how will they survive in the Transjordan? (verse 5).


Although Jeremiah’s father Hilkiah was a Highpriest, the Lord indicates that even “your father’s household, they too have dealt treacherlously with you” (verse 6). Jeremiah’s brothers were not too kind to him. “They too have called a gang after you” says the Lord to Jeremiah (verse 6).


The punishment that Jeremiah wants to hear about is pronounced by the Lord to him: “I have abandoned My house, I have forsaken My inheritance, I have delivered My soul’s beloved into the hand of her enemies” (verse 7). While faithful people is still living in history, God punish or test them with trials and tribulations in order for them to return or prepare to return. For some it works but for others it leads them to harden their hearts and increase their sins of Sabbath-breaking to earn more money not to lose the BMW since they lost their job not working on the Sabbath and took on one working on the Sabbath.


Like a lion in a forest was the inheritance of the Lord against Him (verse 8). Result? The Lord “hated her”.


Jeremiah wanted to know about the punishment and the Lord thinking about it. The Lord continues to explain about it: like birds of prey around a small bird, the Lord wants all the beasts of the field to come and eat it (verse 9).


It is not the subject of all evil over the world by heathen nations. It is His vineyard (verse 10; connected to God the Gardener of Isaiah 5:1-12). The pastors of the vineyard have “trampled My field”. They have made “My delightful field”, a beautiful name for the faithful remnant of God through all ages, they have made it into a desert of waste.


In vision Jeremiah saw the future destruction of Israel and Judah and “He has made it a waste, the wasted one mourns before Me, the entire land is waste….” (verse 11).


Plunderers came and ran over the whole land “there is no peace for any flesh” (verse 12).


The scenes are violent but that is what Jeremiah wanted to know since he is already on the same page with the Lord regarding their sinfulness. It is the punishment and how it will be that is the topic in this chapter.


They had prosperity and forgot the Lord “be ashamed of your increase, because of the fierce anger of the Lord”. Ellen White says “Affliction and adversity may cause sorrow, but it is prosperity that is the most dangerous to spiritual life”.


Jeremiah must have been very depressed and shocked up to this point. Sin is sin and dealing with sin has a time limit and God has to act. Jeremiah knows that. Then came the pony to ride out this violent scene. It is the dark cloud with a silver lining situation: God says in verse 14 that situations in a later future than 586 BCE will change and He will bring back the scattered Judah and deal with the Babylonians and other neighbors who touched the faithful remnant of Israel. God is not interested in Jewish blood per se, it is spiritual faith that qualifies even Ruth the Moabite to be Israel and in the line of David and Jesus. God will uproot these nations against Judah earlier (605; 597; 586 BCE) (verse 14) and he will bring back many nations by uprooting them wherever they are (verse 15). A kind of global evangelism is in God’s dream where “if they learn the ways of My people [faithful spiritual Israel the remnant of God] to swear by My name: ‘As the Lord lives’ as they have wrongfully taught spiritual Israel the reverse, to swear by Baal then “they [faithful heathens] shall be built up in the midst of My people”.


Jeremiah is smiling all the way. What a wonderful God, so inclusive to invite more nations to join in, something they should have done ever since Adam!


However, the blessings match a curse: “If they do not heed, I [the Lord] shall uproot that nation, uprooting and destroying, says the Lord”. The reality is: even if justice is done so that majority rules minority but do not squash or bully it; is done when persons are given a fair chance to succeed or live or have freedom to choose their own neighbors, country, workspace, church, life partners and lifestyles; but that freedom is misused or that just society’s individuals are mis-focused on themselves and prosperity dreams, they can be uprooted as well.


Dear Lord

Save us from ourselves and our own shallow dreams of materialism and prosperity and vain seeking after money and fame. In Jesus Name Amen.