May 30, 2021 – Jeremiah 12-15
Jeremiah endured so much! And, at times, he complained to the Lord, pleading with him, calling for judgment of his enemies, and even accusing God of deceiving him (11:18-20; 12:1-4; 15:10-21; 17:12-18; 18:18-23, 20:7-18). Here is an honest prophet! A prophet without guile! We can think of others who have complained and pushed back against God: Abraham and Moses and the Psalmist and Job and Habakkuk, in particular, come to my mind.
I use the term “complain,” here, because it is so often used in commentaries to speak about “Jeremiah’s complaints.” One might think of Paul’s instruction, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God” (Philippians 2:14-15), a good and wise word of counsel promoting peace within the congregation. But Jeremiah is not causing disruption in the family of God, but honestly wrestling with God and trying to understand his instructions or to understand what he is doing. In other words, he poses questions, not at God, but to God. Honest wrestling with God in prayer. I think that’s a good thing.
There’s another who “wrestled” with his Father in prayer. Aren’t you glad, even as he faced terrible suffering and even death, that he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42)!