Jeremiah 12: Jeremiah Asks “Why?” and “How Long?” and God Calls For Endurance.

(17 verses, 1:49 to read)


What I’m about to READ

  • Jeremiah Asks “Why?” and “How Long?” and God Calls For Endurance.


  • 1-4: Jeremiah humbly asks God two questions, 1.) “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” (vs. 1) and 2.) “How long?” (vs. 4).  He also requests that God “Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and set them apart for the day of slaughter” (vs. 3).
  • 5-6: The Lord calls Jeremiah to faithful and patient endurance and reminds Jeremiah that his cry to the Lord, “But you, O Lord, know me” (3) is indeed true.  Jeremiah has even been rejected by his own family and the Lord confirms to Jeremiah that He knows this.
  • 7-13: The Lord declares to Jeremiah the He Himself knows rejection much more than even Jeremiah does.  God’s pain in His people’s rejection and consequences of that rejection is proclaimed with great clarity: “I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies” (7); “Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard” (10); and “they have tired themselves out but profit nothing” (13).
  • 14-17: Despite the persistent rejection, the Lord still desires repentance.  He will “again” have compassion if “they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘As the Lord lives,’” (16).


  • Jeremiah’s complaint begins with “righteous are you, O Lord.”    He assumes God’s righteousness (that’s a good thing!) and then lists reasons, in prayer form, why he believes God is acting contrary that righteousness.  Many psalms of lament are similar.  They assume several things: “God, You’re right and You’re good and You love me and forgive me and have mercy on me and You’ve redeemed from slavery and bondage and rescued over and over again and I ought trust in You because Your promises are trustworthy.”  Then, “But I’m struggling here to see how it is that You are good right now.  The faithful are seeming to be despised and the wicked are seeming to prosper.  I know I’m forgiven but I’m struggling in Your discipline of me.  Your Word is being rejected.  I am being rejected.  Why…?  How long…”


  • There’s at least two comforts this text brings out.  1.) God calls Jeremiah to endurance.  God is good and faithful to His promises.  The answer to “how long (until the end of suffering)…” is found all throughout the Scriptures, especially in Revelation.  Here’s a few passages for your meditation
    • Romans 16:20 – “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
    • Revelation 1:1 – “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.”
    • Revelation 3:11 -“11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”
    • Revelation 22:20 – “20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
  • 2.) Another comfort for Jeremiah and for us comes from the truth that the Lord knows (vs 3).  Perhaps we will not know the specific answer to the questions of rejection and suffering but what do know is 1.) Our Lord knows rejection and sufffering more than anyone, 2.) Our Lord calls Himself our Father and Jesus is not ashamed to call us brother.  He knows us and every aspect of our lives.  Finally, 3.) We know the heart of the Father because of the revelation of the Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit through the Word.  As His flock, we know the voice of our Shepherd.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: or if reading on facebook, check out the blog:

Christopher Stout, Pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Kannapolis, NC & Abundant Life Lutheran Church, Charlotte, NC


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