Reading Time: 3 minutesThere are many forces trying to wear out God’s people with monumental enculturation efforts. “Just be like us and we will leave you alone,” is what they seem to be saying. I have always thought that “the devil is very kind to his friends.” But it gets really tiring some days, just trying to deal with it all, with being constantly attacked in the media; and I had the following thoughts about it the other day when I was out photographing wild horses in the mountains:
The LORD says, “Suppose you have run in a race with other men. And suppose they have worn you out. Then how would you be able to race against horses? Suppose you feel safe only in open country. Then how would you get along in the bushes near the Jordan River? (Jer 12:5)
(from Great Texts Bible Commentary)
“The prophet Jeremiah occupies a unique position in Israels history from the fact that to him fell the bitter and ungrateful task of contending in vain against the main currents of his time, religiously and politically, and finally perishing in consequence of his faithfulness to his mission. Of no other prophet of the first rank can the same thing be said. The prophets were often severe and scathing critics of their age and their contemporaries, but none of them was so tragically situated as Jeremiah. He had to see the nation drifting straight to ruin, ruin that overtook it within a few short years of the beginning of his ministry, and he knew himself helpless to avert it.
With the overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the disaster he had foreseen came to pass, and he shared in the misery of it, being afterwards slain, it is said, by some of the Jewish refugees themselves in their flight from the scenes of horror that ensued. But long before that he had been maltreated and imprisoned for his supposed unpatriotic conduct in prophesying the humiliation of his own people.
His fellow-townsmen, even his brethren and the house of his father, (see Jer 12:6) even they dealt treacherously with him. The sacred tie of kindred was too weak to restrain the outbreak of fanatical hate. The priestly houses had winced beneath the vehement denunciations of their young relative, and could bear it no longer.
A plot was therefore set on foot, and under the show of fair words they conspired to take the prophets life. He had not known of his danger but for Divine illumination: “The Lord gave me knowledge of it, and I knew it: then thou shewedst me their doings.” Stunned with the sudden discovery, Jeremiah turned to God with remonstrance and appeal. Conscious of his own rectitude and of the rectitude of God, he was for a moment caught in the outer circles of the whirlpool of questioning which has ever agitated the minds of Gods oppressed ones, concerning the unequal distribution of earthly lots.
Now, God answers such questionings as these in different ways—sometimes by showing His servant the true state of the ungodly, making him “to understand their end”; sometimes by revealing to the righteous the vast superiority of their portion over that of the ungodly; sometimes by gently soothing the ruffled spirit; at other times, as here, by rousing rebuke and sharp remonstrance, bidding him bethink himself, if he broke down under these comparatively small trials, how would he bear up when much more terrible ones had to be endured? If running with “footmen” was too much for him, then how would he “contend” with the swift “horses”?
If he could feel secure only in a quiet land, how would he do in a region full of peril like that of the jungle-land, the lair of the lion and other fierce beasts of prey, which stretched along the banks of the Jordan? Greater trials were to come to him than he had as yet known; how would he meet them if he failed in the presence of these lesser ones?
This text, therefore, is Gods answer to the prophets objections to what was going on around him, and with what God was asking him to do.
It would seem that with God, there is always Light In The Clouds.
I venture to look far beyond Jeremiah and all his personal troubles, in what is here said. Who indeed, but must eye Jesus, in what is here said of his brethren. John 7:3-5. And with respect to Jesus, what were the swellings of Jordan, and the contention of horses, compared to the billows of divine wrath, which overwhelmed his precious soul, when He made his soul an offering for sin? Psalms 42:7; Song 8:7; Psalms 69:1-3, etc. ( from Robert Hawker Bible Commentary)